Our Story

The idea of Happy Caravan was inspired by a Syrian refugee himself through his work as a volunteer in a refugee camp in Skaramagas, Greece. During his time volunteering at the camp, Alaeddin Janid saw the severe lack of structure and loss of education for children in the camp. It was in this camp that Alaeddin was first introduced to Fatima, a 10 year old girl from Afghanistan.

10 year old Fatima from Afghanistan; Skaramagas, Greece, 2016

10 year old Fatima from Afghanistan; Skaramagas, Greece, 2016

Despite the language barriers, the two formed a very close bond and through this bond Alaeddin became inspired with the idea of Happy Caravan to improve the lack of education for kids in the camp. He began by teaching the kids the alphabet. Soon after, he purchased a TV for 20 euros and created an outdoor cinema to show movies in English.

Ala Eddin Janid doing magic for the kids, Skaramagas Refugee Camp, Greece, 2016.

Alaeddin Janid doing magic for the kids, Skaramagas Refugee Camp, Greece, 2016.

The first cinema in Skaramagas Camp, 2016

The first cinema in Skaramagas Camp, 2016

First English lesson, Skaramagas, 2016

First English lesson, Skaramagas, 2016

A few months later, Alaeddin returned to Netherlands, where he was living at the time, and began to build this idea under the name Happy Caravan. After researching camps in Greece, Alaeddin came across the refugee camp in Thermopylae. Located in an abandoned hotel, the camp had an unused building onsite that was seemingly very suitable for a school. By May 2017, Happy Caravan was up and running in the camp of Thermopylae, offering education and entertainment for kids.

Happy Caravan School, Thermopylae Refugee Camp, Greece, 2017

Happy Caravan School, Thermopylae Refugee Camp, Greece, 2017

Old hotel building converted to Happy Caravan School, Thermopylae, Greece, April 2017

Old hotel building converted to Happy Caravan School, Thermopylae, Greece, April 2017

Today, thanks to the help and support of volunteers from all around the world, we host nearly 80 kids in our Happy Caravan School. With daily classes and activities such as English, Art, and Cinema, we are able to provide the kids with the most basic needs— safety, education, and fun.

Happy Caravan Family, November 2017

Happy Caravan Family, November 2017

As Nelson Mandela said once: ”There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.” We believe every child deserves to live in joy, kindness, friendship, respect.