Jun 3, 2021

THEMIDA GREECE child protection program re-launch!

Better Days' team on the streets of Athens
Better Days' team on the streets of Athens

THEMIDA GREECE - our child protection programme implemented with Defence for Children International (DCI) relaunched in Athens successfully. 

THEMIDA’s mission is to support unaccompanied asylum-seeking children (UASC) in Greece, helping them to understand and navigate a complex legal system, access child protection and PSS services, make medical referrals and provide NFIs and rapid response to those that are in direct danger.

March 2021 was a milestone in the future of THEMIDA GREECE. In just two months we have completed needs, risks & opportunities assessments, actors & service mapping and redesigned THEMIDA with the aim to maximise its impact and quality, as well as our capacity. We are now in a position to launch THEMIDA GREECE as a blueprint - a holistic child protection program that can be replicated anywhere in Europe.

  • 63 new cases referred to our program Jan-March 2021
  • 167 accumulative active THEMIDA cases
  • 33 UASCs with successful cases waiting to be transferred to destination countries
  • 3 DNA tests implemented on Lesvos for family reunification purposes
  • 85 non-food items packs distributed
  • 60+ Legal & medical appointments and escorts

At the same time, our small team is in the final stages of completing key protocols compiling the best professional practice, and most effective operational and reporting processes, along with health and safety considerations, involved in any THEMIDA intervention. 

Over 900 UASCs were living in unsafe accommodations as EKKA stated in their March report. This number does not include all undocumented, unregistered and, most likely, homeless children. Better Days continue working to identify, track and help all those cut off support, children that remain invisible to the eyes of society. 

Stay tuned to our social media to know more details of our operational updates and be aware of our future fundraising campaigns.

Once again, thank you for believing in our work.

Better Days and Defence for Children International
Better Days and Defence for Children International

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Feb 10, 2021

Essential aid to over 1500 unaccompanied children

Success during a DNA test
Success during a DNA test

“The way Themida works is awesome and the services that they provide to refugees are amazing. I'm really thankful that they helped me when I really needed them. I want to say that you guys are amazing for helping children who are hopeless and can't fight their case. They need you and are there for them.” Hadi, Afghanistan, reunited with his uncle in Switzerland.

In January, we celebrated our first year of the ‘Themida’ legal intervention program. Together we witnessed the incredible obstacles and dangers that children on the move and homeless unaccompanied children face in Greece. Whether they are suffering the consequences of extended stays in camps, detention facilities or sleeping rough in the streets of Athens, unaccompanied children are often voiceless and invisible, easy targets for abuse and exploitation.

Since December 2019, we have taken on over 116 critical legal cases for unaccompanied children in Greece and provided legal information, DNA tests for family reunification cases, psychosocial support and essential aid to more than 1500 unaccompanied children, many vulnerable families, single women and youth. Today, some of these children are successfully reunited with their families or transferred to safer accommodation, but others remain unable to meet their basic needs like access to education, social services, and legal and psychosocial support.

We continue working to advocate for the rights of children to be with their families, encouraging and supporting other actors, institutions and our trusted network to understand the issue. If you want to learn more about it, please take a look at our social media.

The last 12 months have been far from being easy, and the outbreak of the pandemic has profoundly challenged the ways in which we deliver legal services, and communicate with the children. Yet over 60% of our total Dublin cases received a positive answer so far

Today, Themida continues to operate from Lesvos and Athens. 

In Athens, we have deployed a small team completing an exhaustive needs assessment with the sole objective to identify and provide critical legal aid and basic assistance to children at risk. 

These results are thanks to many wonderful people who believed in this ‘impossible mission’. A massive thank you to YOU who contributed to its success.

All they need is the opportunity for a better future. Your support helps us ensure they receive it! Stay tuned for our next fundraising event during the second week of March.

Thank you for believing in our work.

Thank you very much from all of us
Thank you very much from all of us

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Oct 15, 2020

Moria reduced to ashes: Our response

Walking around the burned Moria camp
Walking around the burned Moria camp

Our primary objective since initiating this project has always been to give full support to one of the most vulnerable groups of the refugee community in Lesvos, the unaccompanied minors. Our emergency operations have been developing since the very first day, continuously adapting to the ever-changing circumstances and challenges.

 In March 2020 due to COVID-19 pandemic, Moria was placed under a temporary lockdown, and the need for mental and physical care of these minors had significantly increased.

Better Days responded quickly and effectively, as part of our Covid-19 emergency response for UAMs, by dispatching:

  • 16453 packs/pcs of hygiene and PPE items including over 13000 masks and 500 gloves.
  • 721 packs/pcs of medication; antibiotics, prescriptions, and other essential items like mosquito repellent and sunscreen.
  • 2169 packs of vitamin C and other multivitamins.
  • 1340 packs/pcs of wound care products and medical supplies.
  • 3430 energy fruit bars.
  • 178 travel bags used for relocation/reunification purposes. 

All items were distributed to minors throughout the lockdown utilising various methods like for example outreach initiatives, to the RIC minors’ office, and most importantly to Minors Clinic (Health Point Foundation) the primary medical provider to UAMs of which our partnership had been strengthening. 

We delivered medical supplies but also supported them by building capacity internally by helping to manage budgets and to develop internal protocols and policies. 

On the 9th of September, following the total devastation of Moria Camp due to fire, Better Days worked tirelessly to ensure the immediate identification and transfer of UAMs to a safe location by:

  • Holding overnight communication and systematic check-ins with minors during the incident.
  • Deploying outreach teams within the remains of Moria camp to identify missing UAMs.
  • Helped to set up a UAM Field Medical Clinic and equipped it with PPE and wound care products which had the capabilities to provide urgent medical care and mental health monitoring to children that were suffering from respiratory issues due to smoke inhalation, burns, a variety of physical wounds, and mental issues.
  • Coordinated between EODY (Greek Health Ministry), minor clinic and Iliaktida-UNICEF to procure COVID-19 tests to over 300 UAMs.
  • Assisted in crowd control and provided French translation in the minors field clinic at Tapuat. 
  • Setup ad hoc Helpdesk 24/7 where volunteers and NGO workers could text us and request support to identify a UAM and arrange transport to a safe location. 

Over 300 UAMs were identified by or with BDs support within 24hrs. Nonetheless, we received over 85 requests through our helpdesk between the 10th-20th of September.

406 unaccompanied children no longer have to live in Moria camp after being transferred to a safe location on the Greek mainland. 

We couldn't be happier to see them moved to a better place. Take a minute to celebrate this significant win with us.  

Your contributions have helped us support unaccompanied minors on Lesvos during their most vulnerable moments. You should feel proud of the impact you helped to create in the same way we are extremely thankful for it.

We remain committed to cater to the needs of the lone boys and girls in Greece by providing access to legal and emergency aid for UAMs and youth. 

Preparing some deliveries
Preparing some deliveries
Delivering PPE and medications the day of the fire
Delivering PPE and medications the day of the fire
Outreach teams looking for UAMs after the fire
Outreach teams looking for UAMs after the fire
Working together with the Minors Clinic
Working together with the Minors Clinic

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