Two non-profit organizations announced earlier in the week that they have joined efforts to provide more safe and enabling environments for vulnerable unaccompanied minor refugees in Greece.
The HOME Project and Movement On The Ground have partnered to open three new shelters in Athens.
There are currently 4,500 unaccompanied children in Greece, with many falling outside a system of protection and in urgent need of accommodation.
The project is jointly supported by the Dutch and Greek governments as part of a program to strengthen the reception and guardianship capacity for unaccompanied minors in Greece.
Sofia Kouvelaki, CEO of The HOME Project, says “We are grateful to the Dutch Government for its commitment in providing financial support to assist unaccompanied children in Greece.
“We are happy to have by our side Movement On The Ground to jointly start operating three more HOMES for unaccompanied minors in Greece. We believe our cooperation and complementary expertise will be extremely useful for the successful implementation of this project.”
Each of the three shelters will have the capacity to host 16 unaccompanied children, aged from 13 to 18 years. It is expected that hundreds of minors will reside in the shelters over a period of three years.
The two organizations will jointly provide a holistic set of child protection services, covering food, medical assistance, social, legal and psychological support and access to sports, education and vocational training.
Martijn van Ommen, Movement On The Ground’s project leader in Athens says “Since I started working for MOTG back in 2016, I have been in touch with some of the most vulnerable unaccompanied minors, mostly during my time in the Vathy camp on Samos.
“I have not only heard, but also experienced first-hand their struggles, their vulnerabilities and unstable situations. I am very excited to have found such like-minded and compassionate partner in The HOME Project. We believe these shelters will contribute to a durable solution for these children in Greece.”
The HOME Project is a non-profit organization set up to address the needs of refugee children who arrive in Greece alone. It moves children from the streets, camps, police stations, and detention centers and brings them to the safety of its homes, where they receive a holistic network of child protection services with the ultimate aim of social inclusion.
In three years of operation, The HOME Project has operated 11 shelters and provided assistance to more than 520 unaccompanied children in Greece. Moreover, it has created 150 jobs so far for both the Greek and refugee communities.