$2,750 Expedition Cost

0 Days left to join expedition

Athens, Greece September 17th- 25th, 2016

‘Hack’ the Refugee Crisis

For the first time, Effect expeditions goes to Greece. You’ll be immersed in the refugee crisis in Europe, where over 13.5 million people have been forced to flee their homes. You’ll learn social issues behind the biggest refugee crisis of our time, joining forces with local engineers to create tech-focused solutions..

Questions? Email us expeditions@effect.org


"The expedition was powerful- for many reasons. It was wonderful and heartbreaking. It was exciting and difficult. All in all, it was transformative. It's a completely different experience when you see these people, organizations, and challenges firsthand.."
Devin Baer, Google

During this expedition, a team of volunteers will take part in a rare opportunity to see and understand the refugee crisis at a grassroots level. With many fleeing from the middle east, making their way across through Turkey and then Greece, the country has been dealing with unprecedented levels of strain.

In Greece, you’ll work with children’s nonprofit The Smile of the Child (Hamogelo), based in Athens. They are a well established local organization and have been around for over 20 years, extremely respected and loved in the community. Their work spans multiple areas including mental health, food and medical distribution, rehousing and social support. Effect Expedition volunteers will focus on unaccompanied minors and anti-human trafficking of children in Greece, understanding the issues and the biggest barriers nonprofits face in their crucial work.

The goal is to leverage each volunteer’s skills during a hackathon, where you’ll form teams and work directly with The Smile of the Child to design solutions to their problems.

Whether you are a marketer, HR, developer or have other skills, every professional background assists in making this hackathon successful!

Price per person



7 Days



Application Cost


Passport & Visa


In-Country Food & Transportation



Travel through the city of Athens visiting refugee care homes, speaking with those directly affected by the crisis, and learning about the existing solutions and failures.


Working with a team of fellow volunteers, you’ll pitch ideas, create tech-based solutions and design prototypes in a 54 hour hackathon. Coder, marketer, designer, all skills are needed to make this happen.

Make a difference

You’ll have the rare chance to understand the refugee crisis and its effects on Greece. Working with nonprofits and applying your everyday skills, create solutions to change communities.


Working directly with Greek nonprofits and community members, you’ll help with the biggest problems they face. Nonprofits will then be given grants to implement solutions and continue their invaluable work.

What's Included

  • Accommodation
  • All meals & Drinks (non alcoholic)
  • All in-country travel
  • Pre-program fundraising support
  • In-country safety training

What's Not Included

  • International Flights


On flight to Athens, Greece
Land in Athens. Set your clocks ahead GMT +3.00. Arrive at hotel. Eat dinner.
Day One of Volunteering. Induction and training program. Short and sweet, not boring:) Visit The Smile of the Child
Day Two of Volunteering. Spend half day alongside local nonprofits and partners understanding issues in the community. Spend time asking questions and having discussion on their work and barriers they face. Spend half a day at a care home.
Day Three of Volunteering. Travel to varying locations of nonprofit operations, interact with locals, understand the crisis
Work with local nonprofits community members and stakeholders. Culture Half Day.
Final pitches and winners are announced. Wrap up meeting.

Meet Your Expedition Leaders

Nicole Allen

Strategy Director

A British native, Nicole handles Effect.org’s strategy. She started her career shaping lifestyle brands in London. After working closely with nonprofits, she knew she wanted to use her branding, marketing and strategic skills to give the silenced a voice. A writer and avid reader, she has a way with words. Nicole is big on multitasking, loves to laugh and is training for her first half marathon.

Sandy Singh

Program Director

Starting her career in marketing and events for corporate america, Sandy turned her attention to international development when she moved to India and scaled programs centered around Social Enterprise throughout the country. Sandy administered and created programs both helping the homeless and preventing homelessness in her hometown of Turlock, CA. Sandy has a true passion for everything India, is addicted to coffee and loves boxing, reading, and travel!

Casey Allred

CEO / Founder

Hailing from a small town in Idaho (USA), Casey’s love of international development started at age 19, as he lead others in life changing activities in Albania for 2 years. He started Effect.org in 2010, opening a school in rural Bihar, India. Passionate about filmmaking, he produced Stolen Innocence, a documentary exposing human trafficking. In 2015, Casey led the largest volunteer group rebuilding after the Nepal earthquake. An outdoor fanatic, Casey is happiest in the mountains and loves getting out on his bicycle.


Worldwide, we are facing the biggest refugee crisis of our time. Over 3 million* people are fleeing from Syria as a result of violent civil war in their country. 6.5 million individuals, families, women and children have been displaced inside of Syria. Turkey has been first point of call for many refugees, with 2.5 million seeking refuge. Germany has been the end point for many journeys, with 480,000 refugees. Greece sees many people arriving on the island of Lesvos before moving on to Athens and other greek cities. In January and February this year alone, over 123,000 have arrived in Greece, and the country has accepted just under 500,000 refugees. Greece has been the mid-point in many refugee journeys - not the first point for fleeing, nor is it typically where refugees are settling, like Germany. However this country faces its own unique problem and involvement with the crisis. Effect.org leadership has experience working on crises in India and Nepal, and wanted to help with the refugee situation. After working with multiple nonprofits across Turkey, Greece and Germany, we selected a specific nonprofit in Greece to work with during an expedition. We want to take brilliant, skilled volunteers to help. With so many issues, nonprofits lack the time and resources to assess current problems and solutions they face. Working with expedition volunteers we’ll clarify barriers to progress and create change!
In 2010, Effect.org opened our first school in rural India. Through our work in education we have become involved in anti-human trafficking across India and Nepal. Child protection, trafficking and education have been large focuses for our work. The refugee crisis has forced over 7.5 million children to flee Syria, leaving them vulnerable to exploitation, child labor and trafficking. In addition, millions of children are not receiving an education, missing valuable schooling hours.
In Greece, you’ll be working with children’s nonprofit The Smile of the Child (Hamogelo), based in Athens. They are a well established local organization and have been around for over 20 years, extremely well respected and loved in the community. Their work spans multiple areas including mental health, food and medical distribution, rehousing and social support. Effect expedition volunteers will focus on unaccompanied minors and anti-human trafficking of children in Greece, particularly the refugees.
In the first four days, volunteers will understand the crisis through interaction with nonprofits, local leaders and care home visits. You’ll be immersed in the biggest issues and given varying perspectives. The primary goal is to absorb as much as possible to leverage unique skill sets and knowledge in a 54 hour hackathon. The nonprofits will provide areas and suggestions of the barriers they face. You’ll then come together, share ideas, form teams, design products and launch your idea. Finally, each team will present their idea to a panel of local professionals. The theme of the hackathon is ‘Great technology to ease the crisis’. Be it marketing, HR, coding or other skills, every professional background assists in making this hackathon great.
Effect.org has partnered with non profits who will be joining our expedition. These non profits will outline their biggest challenges, and participants efforts during the hackathon will be dedicated to solving their problems. Non profits will be given grants from Effect.org to help implement the solution of their choosing after the expedition.
With many people worldwide unaware of the unique issues on the ground, this expedition is an unprecedented opportunity to understand the refugee crisis and create change.
The team will be staying in a standard hotel in Athens, Greece for a majority of the time. Not a 5 star, but very comfortable. Effect expedition volunteers share rooms to foster partnership and team spirit!
The team of volunteers will be accompanied by Effect Management including Nicole Allen, Casey Allred and Sandy Singh. Additionally we have a trip leader from previous expedition Laurie Kyser from Google.
The program will include the following (all arranged by the Effect.org team):
  • Pre-program and fundraising support from dedicated staff members at Effect.org
  • A 9-day expedition (including 2 travel days) community development project developed in partnership with local NGOs and communities
  • A half day in-country induction program including training, safety, First Aid, and communication, delivered in Athens hotel
  • Personal development and creative sessions facilitated by the Effect project managers, including daily debriefs and activities which look at sustainability and International Development
  • All food, drink (non-alcoholic) and transportation
  • Cultural (fun) day
The total cost of the trip is $5,000; however, most companies match, which means that you’ll only need to pay or fundraise 50% i.e. $2,500. Each volunteer is responsible for knowing their company match program.
  • You can either pay yourself or fundraise. We have found from previous trips that those who fundraise usually get more involved and gain a richer experience in country.
  • You’ll need to pay a nonrefundable $250 deposit to secure your place when you apply online. This will be refunded in the event that you are not selected to join. If you are selected, the deposit goes towards your final trip cost.
  • Flights are not part of company's corporate giving programs. You’ll need to pay in advance for your plane tickets. Round trip tickets from SFO to ATH usually cost around $800 - $1200. They need to be paid in full by August 15th through our travel agent.
  • First payment of $1314 due by July 26th. Second and final payment of $1314 by Aug 29th
  • First payment can be refunded if volunteer changes their mind 7 days after the first payment (5% processing fee). 30 days before the trip starts refunds will be given at 50%. Beyond 30 days Effect.org will not refund the expedition.
Please rest assured that the Effect.org team will give you advice and guidance on fundraising and as a team, we will each collectively plan some cool events together to raise funds together.
Your donation goes to transportation, food, lodgings, whilst in country. In addition, your money goes towards a grant we give to nonprofits we work alongside with during the expedition. This grant helps small nonprofits ensure new technology projects are implemented properly. Full break down can be seen here.
  • Safety management including casualty evacuation procedures.
  • An in-country project manager with extensive expedition experience to deliver the expedition in the field with the group.
  • In country transport, vehicle, accommodation, food, drinks (non-alcoholic) and equipment.
  • All community project costs including materials and expedition/safety equipment.
Yes and No. We understand that your schedules are jam-packed, which is why we’ve condensed this experience to just one week, and we’re flying out on a Saturday or Friday evening after work. In addition, your companies provide a number of days for paid Volunteer Time Off (VTO) per fiscal year.
  • You’ll need to complete a detailed (confidential) medical form
  • US citizens and European citizens are not required to have vaccinations or visas. (please chat with us for further guidance if you are located elsewhere)
We’ve received a lot of interest for this trip and expect a lot of people to apply. We choose applicants based on their passion and skillset to ensure each expedition has a diverse group of individuals. Effect Expeditions has several trips planned for 2016 across India and Nepal, covering issues including Education, Trafficking and Disaster Relief. In the event that you aren’t selected for this trip, someone from Effect.org staff will be in touch to work with your schedule and place you on an upcoming expedition.
Please note that the application deadline is Friday July 8th. Please make sure you have applied by then.
September is a great month to be in Athens. The summer is cooling off with many days of sunshine. Average daytime temperature in September generally hovers around 22°C (71°F) to 27°C (80°F) with 8 hours of sunshine a day. Each person will need sunscreen, rainproof clothes (just incase!) and a good pair of comfortable walking shoes.
Yes, you’ll need to finalize your personal travel logistics by Aug 15th, just let us know. We’d be happy to suggest any itineraries for your travels after the project.
Friday, July 8th: Application deadline with $250.00 deposit
Tues, July 19th: Communication sent to applicants.
Tues, July 26th: First payment $1,250 due to Effect.org alongside completed medical form.
Mon, Aug 15th: Deadline for flight payment.
Mon, Aug 29th: Final balance of $1,250
Sat, Sept 17th: Flight departure!
You’ll have the unique opportunity to feel, see and understand at the ground level the refugee crisis and its impact on Greece. We’ve watched this situation for months in the media, including horrifying images of dear Aylan, the 3 year old Syrian Kurd, drowned and washed up on the Turkey border. This crisis is taking lives and children are truly suffering the most, vulnerable to child labor, trafficking and a lack of education. This is a crucial point in history desperately requiring bright minds to help. Applying your everyday skills, you’ll be able to create solutions to create change and save lives.

If your application has been accepted, pay the remainder expedition fee here:

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