EEA Grants 2014-2021
Υπουργείο Εθνικής Οικονομίας και Οικονομικών

«Κλείνοντας» την περίοδο 2014-2021

Ταμείο Διμερών Σχέσεων – Οι πρωτοβουλίες


Bilateral Fund – The initiatives


The Smile of the Child

Immediate and holistic support of Ukrainian refugees

Since its very origins in 1996 ‘The Smile of the Child’ has always been committed to its fundamental mission of the care for and the protection of children, irrespective of their background, gender, race or whatever criterion. Consequently, “The Smile of the Child” has always been reaching out to migrant or refugee children in need or in danger: search and rescue operations have indeed been mounted for migrant or refugee children, whenever need occurred; and migrant or refugee children have always equally benefited from the welfare and healthcare, which “The Smile of the Child” has been offering throughout Greece.

The response of the Organization was equally prompt and effective in the case of the war in Ukraine. TSoC made available all of its resources to all competent public authorities and, also, activated all formal and information operational collaborations at the national and at the European level. In cooperation with the Ministry for Climate Crisis and Civil Protection and the European Civil Protection Mechanism, we proceeded to a Panhellenic collection of food items, medicines, consumables and basic necessities, with the valuable support of citizens, companies, schools and Municipalities across Greece. 30 tons of items, with an estimated value of 300.000€, were uploaded in containers of the European Civil Protection Mechanism and transferred to the war zone. Furthermore, a Humanitarian Aid Team, composed of drivers, rescuers, social workers, a doctor and volunteers, with 2 buses, 1 Mobile Medical Unit of intensive care for newborns and children (ambulance) and 1 vehicle of direct social and medical intervention, travelled from Athens, Greece to Medyka, on the Polish-Ukrainian borders. The Team offered psychosocial support to the refugees and created synergies with competent Organizations, in order to ensure the continuity of collaboration and support after their return.

One of the main objectives of the journey was to transport back to Greece vulnerable families, in order to secure their safety away from the war zones. 15 persons travelled back with the Team (9 children and 6 adults). The families were immediately hosted in houses of the Organization, fully equipped, and were supported holistically in regards to all their needs (first necessity goods, hygiene items, medical support, psychosocial support, etc.). Despite the fact that the Organization is not receiving any funding for this support, a new mission of 45 persons is coming next week. The new comers will again be hosted in houses owned by TSoC, which have been already fully prepared to welcome them.

The proposed project foresees the holistic support of 60 refugees (approximately 15 families) from Ukraine, who will hosted in fully equipped houses of ‘The Smile of the Child’ and will be under the protection of the Organization until they either return home or can support themselves in Greece. The duration of the project is 12 months.

Short description of the proposed activities

Psychosocial support from the Social Service Department of the Organization

Given the extremely vulnerable situation of the families and the circumstances under which they left their country, it is essential that they receive psychosocial support from competent professionals.  3 social workers of the Organization, under the supervision of the Coordinator of the Social Service Department, will be dedicated part time (50%) in the project, in order to ensure that the families receive all the necessary support, guidance on and resolution of procedural issues (e.g. guidance on welfare benefits, access to education, etc.) 24/7.

Interpretation services and cultural mediation services

The experience so far with the refugees has shown that unfortunately the majority of them do not speak English; therefore the contribution of interpreters is essential. Communication is crucial, especially at the beginning of their stay in Greece, in order for them to feel more confident and secure. The 2 interpreters that will be recruited will play a very important role, since they won’t act only as interpreters, but they also try to bridge the gap between the families and the staff members, which is caused to the different mentalities and cultures.

Provision of food and hygiene items on a monthly basis

The provision of food and other essential supplies to the families will be implemented through the Support Centers for Children and Families of the Organization throughout Greece, depending on the city that each family will stay. Infant powder milk and diapers are also foreseen for an approximate number of infants.

The Organization will specify and calculate the quantities of food and other supplies to be distributed to each family, based on previous experience and know-how from the long lasting operation of the Support Centers all over the country.

The Organization’s vehicles will be used, in order to transfer the products from the suppliers to the Support Centers and also in distributing the supplies to some of the families that cannot go to the Support Center.

Each family will be supported 12 times, once/month, for a total period of 12 months. In order to holistically meet the needs of the families, the Organization will utilize its infrastructure and other services (i.e. medical services), when needed.

Protection services and counselling with the operation of Information Desks through the European Hotline for Missing Children 116 000 and the European Helpline for Children and Adolescents 116 111

TSoC is a founding member of the European Federation for Missing and Sexually Exploited Children- Missing Children Europe (MCE) since 2000, while it also serves on its Board of Directors. MCE is a network of 31 organizations in 26 countries that promotes the 116000 European hotline for missing children, operating in 32 countries across Europe, providing a free and 24/7 service to children (at risk of) going missing and their families. TSoC has been operating the 116000 hotline in Greece since 2008.

MCE is particularly concerned over the Russian war on Ukraine and how it has contributed to growing internal displacement and cross-border movement, with reports indicating children comprise a particularly significant portion of those fleeing. As hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians, mainly women and children, are on the move to seek refuge in neighbouring European countries, children risk being separated from their families. They are also at risk of exploitation, trafficking and going missing.

Since the armed attacks on 24 February, MCE’s Ukrainian member, NGO Magnolia, has already received nearly 2000 cases of children going missing in Ukraine, including separated children and families with children. To date, MCE has received reports of 8 children from Ukraine presumed missing in the EU, 2 of which have been resolved thanks to cooperation between the network and the police in Ukraine and the border countries.

In line with the initiatives undertaken by MCE at the European level, TSoC will also mobilize the 116 000 Hotline and the 116 111 Helpline for the support and counselling of Ukrainian refuges. The two lines will operate as Info desks will the following activities:

  • Receipt of reports
  • Provision of referral services to cooperating authorities and partners and to other Departments within the Organization
  • Provision of support services to children victims/potential victims of trafficking
  • Information of the public
  • Promotion of targeted actions addressed to vulnerable groups, with the aim of raising awareness
  • Activation of Amber Alert Hellas in the case of a worrying child disappearance

Information and awareness raising

Informative leaflets will be produced and printed in English and Ukrainian with information of the European Hotline for Missing Children 116 000 and the European Helpline for Children and Adolescents 116 111. The main objective of the information activities will be to make sure that all Ukrainian refugees entering Greece will be informed on the Helplines of the Organization in case they are in need or in danger.

The awareness raising activities will also focus on the urgent things that the refugees should do after arriving in Greece, i.e. their proper registration and screening at the border, both of children and the persons they are traveling with, especially those accompanied by persons other than their parents/guardians and unaccompanied and separated minors. Also, the refugees should register in the competent section of the website of the Ministry of Migration and Asylum, in order to be eligible for the foreseen benefits (ex. access to the public health system, etc.).

“The Smile of the Child” is the largest internationally recognized non-profit, non-governmental Organization in Greece in the critical field of child protection, support of children and families with children in need, as well as free public health service for children, both in prevention and treatment. Over 26 years of activities, TSoC has made the difference for more than 1.700.000 children and their families in Greece. TSoC currently operates with approximately 4.117 active volunteers on a daily basis and 478 specialized personnel. The experience of the Organization is first and foremost on the front line, and its actions for the protection and assistance of children victims/potential victims of abuse, neglect, trafficking and any other type of risk, include, among others, the direct social intervention through the Helplines, the provision of a safe living environment and psychological, medical and material support, raising public awareness through information campaigns (for more information please visit the link below).

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