“I am so happy I am doing this procedure. I want to go to Germany so much, it's the only dream in my life. I want to study and work and be a useful member of society. Here in Greece, I am all alone, struggling to survive.” ‘A’, UASC boy, Afghanistan.
'Themida' has undergone an extraordinary journey, reaching out to support children who were often invisible and at immediate risk. Alert of ongoing developments on the ground in Greece, including a decrease in the number of homeless UASC, we entered the last semester with an exit plan. In Better Days we call it ‘a conscious closure’, a process that calls for celebration, critical reflection, documenting lessons learned, and building on best practices. Themida has taught us so much!
We believe in creating blueprints of humanitarian programs that can be replicated and adapted to fit responses throughout Europe. In Themida, we adopted a holistic and child rights-based approach to responding to unaccompanied children’s primary need for legal aid while providing access to secondary - yet essential - services such as social support, clothing, food, and information. Our program aimed at accompanying unaccompanied children through an otherwise lonely, turbulent, and exhaustive journey navigating through a hostile environment and complex bureaucratic procedures.
Themida’s services included:
- Basic assistance (NFIs, PPE and COVID-19 support etc.)
- Legal aid (i.e., child-friendly legal information, legal representation, access to DNA tests, referral to safe long-term shelters)
- Medical care (facilitated access to medical care in private and public medical services)
- Psycho-social services (access to a psychological aid, initial PSS assessment, mainstream, specialized and non-specialized support, case management)
- Social services (support in transportation and escort services for vulnerable cases, translation services for Farsi, Somali, Bengali, French and Arabic)
Because of your generous support through these years (2019-2022), we managed to:
- Support 337 individuals, out of whom 290 were UASC or unrecognized UASC
- Achieve 93 positive legal cases (91 + 2 age assessments)
- Place 88 UASC in shelters
- Register 65 individuals to authorities
What's next for Better Days?
The end of Themida allows for new beginnings in Better Days' story. Our goal is to remain agile, relevant, and effective so we can maximize our impact and invest in areas that need us the most going forward. Following an in-depth needs assessment, we identified serious gaps in the provision of quality education and accredited programs in Greece. Data from early 2022 indicates that there are over 65000 children living in sites on the mainland, of whom many are registered in public schools, but regular attendance is rare due to logistical and social difficulties.
We are excited and looking forward to the relocation of Gekko Kids, our blueprint education program on Lesvos, to Athens. Gekko has run successfully since 2017, during which time we worked with thousands of children and young refugees trying to build a future in Europe. Feel free to explore our GlobalGiving page, "Personalised education for 120 refugees in Athens" or visit our website for more information on Gekko Kids.
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