Support the unaccompanied refugee minors in Greece

by Better Days Greece
Support the unaccompanied refugee minors in Greece
Support the unaccompanied refugee minors in Greece
Support the unaccompanied refugee minors in Greece
Support the unaccompanied refugee minors in Greece
Support the unaccompanied refugee minors in Greece
Support the unaccompanied refugee minors in Greece
Support the unaccompanied refugee minors in Greece
Support the unaccompanied refugee minors in Greece
Support the unaccompanied refugee minors in Greece
Support the unaccompanied refugee minors in Greece
Support the unaccompanied refugee minors in Greece
Support the unaccompanied refugee minors in Greece
Support the unaccompanied refugee minors in Greece
Support the unaccompanied refugee minors in Greece
Support the unaccompanied refugee minors in Greece
Support the unaccompanied refugee minors in Greece
Support the unaccompanied refugee minors in Greece
Support the unaccompanied refugee minors in Greece
Support the unaccompanied refugee minors in Greece
Support the unaccompanied refugee minors in Greece
Support the unaccompanied refugee minors in Greece
Support the unaccompanied refugee minors in Greece
Support the unaccompanied refugee minors in Greece
Support the unaccompanied refugee minors in Greece
Support the unaccompanied refugee minors in Greece
Support the unaccompanied refugee minors in Greece
Themida Greece participant during a PSS session
Themida Greece participant during a PSS session

“Thank you for your help, you help me within a week. I am blessed to have met you. I was transferred to a good place, I like it. No words can express the feeling I have for you. Thank you so much”. Ibrahim, 16 yo, Syria.

UASC homelessness in Athens has remained one of the main focuses of our programme. Some unaccompanied children sleep rough on the streets, live in parks or share rooms with unknown adults. Through a solid network of partners, we continued providing basic assistance as well as with holistic protection services to a total of 193 children. THEMIDA GREECE program, implemented in collaboration with DCI Greece, managed to register 37 new children, find shelter to 63 UASC and received 8 giant positive decisions for family reunification cases.

Here the snapshot regarding basic assistance services provided through the program:

  • Medical appointments: 110
  • Escorts: 273
  • NFI (Backpacks): 75
  • Hot emergency meals: 49
  • Rapid response interventions: 3

 

Better Days also remained present on the streets of Athens were we have performed over 20 streetwork outreach exercises since April.

Running in coordination with all the components of THEMIDA GREECE since April 2021, our PSS department continued to actively offer PSS sessions on an individual basis.

Our Greek Senior Child Protection Officer licensed psychologist provided mental health support to 26 participants, through the 92 individual PSS counseling sessions she conducted which capitalize on different therapy methods including art or gestalt techniques. 

At the end of last quarter, we implemented comprehensive satisfaction surveys to gather participants' feedback on the quality of services provided by Themida Greece. These feedback surveys are anonymous and voluntary, with participants encouraged to complete them post-service. We are delighted with the results obtained so far where over 97% of participants are satisfied with the services!

During the first quarter of 2022, Themida Greece will continue to provide holistic support to 56  UASC and youth cases which are open and in need of protection and legal aid. 

We will also focus on conducting a nation-wide context analysis, as well as field assessment exercises focusing on the legal, PSS and educational needs of UASC in Greece with the objective to ensure that Better Days operations will cover fundamental gaps and needs to provide the most efficient, impactful, and qualitative, services possible.

Stay tuned to our social media to get first hand information about our operational updates!

BD team during a training workshop
BD team during a training workshop

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Preparing NFIs for the 3rd trimester
Preparing NFIs for the 3rd trimester

Our THEMIDA GREECE child protection program is growing rapidly. We have continually adapted our programme to fit the urban Athenian landscape, providing legal and PSS support, alongside medical aid and basic assistance, whilst collaborating with partners to meet all UASC needs. With targets set for the last quarter, we approach the close of 2021 with confidence. 

During this quarter, we have taken strides to sufficiently boost our visibility in Athens, with beneficiaries, partners and other relevant stakeholders. Steps taken include:

  • Launching a street outreach pilot programme
  • Hosting a programming training for partners
  • Networking with new diverse teams to envisage different ways of working 
  • Meeting with long-standing collaborators on a weekly basis

Our Outreach team has proactively focused on its objective to increase our understanding and exposure to the conditions of refugees and asylum seekers in Athens in order to identify unaccompanied asylum-seeking children (UASC) at risk. Recognising a street-presence programming gap, we launched our pilot outreach phase over 3 weeks involving 4 outreach interventions per week. Practical in-person street work informs our programming effectiveness by:

  • Enhancing our understanding of target populations’ essential needs
  • Increasing the likelihood of referrals from within the community
  • Further educating us on the conditions faced by displaced populations 

Post-pilot phase, we have determined to continue performing outreach activities in specific areas on a regular basis - an operational focus we are excited to update you on in our next report!

Building a strong reputation, enhancing levels of trust in our work and ensuring quality programming in Athens has been a key focus. We actively collaborate with 23 organisations in Athens so as to offer essential services fitted to specific contextual UASC needs - i.e. health care, NFIs, food and shelter, as well as access to educational, social and medical services. THEMIDA GREECE has received 70 referrals this quarter. When a referral is made, Better Days, in partnership with Defence for Children International Greece (DCI), immediately clarify the needs and risks of the child, prioritising our response time according to the urgency level. 

Inspired by our progression and development in key focus areas this quarter, we are proud of our service quality in Athens. With your support, we move forwards quickly and efficiently. Take a moment to read our key quarterly (Jul-Sep) numbers and remember these achievements were also made possible by you:

  • Cases taken on: 58 (159 from the beginning of the year)
  • Number of escorts: 63 (including medical, legal and PSS appointments)
  • Medical appointments scheduled: 18 (including PCR COVID tests for Family reunification cases)
  • Non-food items packs delivered: 21 (including hygiene items, PPE, clothing and footwear)

 

Stay tuned to our social media to get first-hand information about our operational updates!

Signing an agreement with MVI
Signing an agreement with MVI
Outreach team briefing prior an intervention
Outreach team briefing prior an intervention

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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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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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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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Organization Information

Better Days Greece

Location: Mytilini - Greece
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @betterdaysngo
Project Leader:
Elena Moustaka
Mytilini, Greece
$149,060 raised of $200,000 goal
 
1,753 donations
$50,940 to go
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