The Association for Care of Minors (SMAN) and METAdrasi, in the context of the “Asylum and Migration” EEA Grants program, opened their shelters in Athens, Chios and Samos islands to the locals, highlighting the importance of networking. The events included raising awareness workshops for adults and activities for children involving friends and supporters of the organizations, neighbors, and children’s classmates. An integral part of this celebration was treats from traditional recipes prepared by the older children for their guests, with the support of the staff.
The aim of these events was to highlight the importance of connecting the shelters with the local community and creating relationships which contribute to children’s integration into the community. “From the first day we started the HOUSE2 project it was very important for us to create relationships with the local community. We enrolled the children in school, built a relationship with the parents of their classmates and then with the children themselves. they started coming home. We used the local community clinics, OPANDA, all the public bodies that had to do with the children’s care. For services that had to do with the children’s daily life we also chose to be provided by people from Nea Ionia. We networked with the supermarket, with the bakeries..” refers Dimitra Adamantidou, Director of HOUSE2, Association for Care of Minors (SMAN).
“Contact and communication with the local community was definitely something that was earned. The shelter began to operate at the peak of refugee crisis. There were not only positive responses, but also negative ones. However, with a constant presence and participation in other organizations’ activities and events -in which the children of our shelter participated- the society of Vathi, has gradually accepted the shelter as another home where children live. We have been trying for many years to build a network of stakeholders and key players and to make the shelter not a hostel where a child comes and stays for a short period of time just to be safe, but the beginning of a new life: the place where the child learns in practice what integration and acceptance means, what everyday life is like, with whom we associate, which social rules we have to follow and how to be adapted to them.” mentioned Lena Perpiraki, Child Protection Specialist of METAdrasi’s Transit Accommodation Facility for Unaccompanied Minors in Samos.
“It’s beautiful when people who just want to help and have no special knowledge of refugees come to the shelter. We inform and explain to them what is true about the refugee experience of the children in practice. They see how we work; they meet our staff and the kids we host; they get to know us better and gradually we create bridges. Another group of people that is very important to us are local volunteers: those who have their jobs in the neighborhood. They are usually educators or people who are involved in the arts or have a passion for making, for example, candles or perfumes, and they come to the shelter to teach the children their art” pointed out Vasilis Lilitsoglou, Manager of METAdrasi’s Transit Accommodation Facility for Unaccompanied Minors in Chios.
The events were an excellent occasion for the people of the shelters and the participants to share experiences, challenges but also beautiful moments of the children growing up and bringing hope for a better, more peaceful future, in a welcoming and inclusive community.
The video of our events is available here.
@Video: Alexandros Georgiou
@Photos: Eleni Zacharopoulou
The “Asylum and Migration” (Addressing urgent needs for the reception and screening of asylum seekers and for the accommodation of vulnerable groups) programme in Greece, financed by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, was awarded a total budget of 16,5 million euros as part of the EEA Grants 2014 – 2021. The program aspires to contribute to ensuring legal protection, support and care for the most vulnerable asylum seekers, with emphasis on unaccompanied children. The “Local Development and Poverty Reduction” programme in Greece, financed by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, was awarded a total budget of 6,5 million euros as part of the EEA Grants 2014 – 2021. The program aspires to contribute to enhancement of social cohesion and reduction of economic and social disparities. The Fund Operator for both programmes is SOL Consulting in partnership with HumanRights360.
Communications Officer: Eleni Zacharopoulou
M. (+30) 6974206873 | E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org