The first members of the “Guardianship Network for Unaccompanied Minors” take action
Dozens of unaccompanied minors are found, on a daily basis, among the refugees who arrive in Greece, seeking to escape from inhumane conditions, violent conflicts and persecutions. Having lost or left behind their families, they face their new reality frightened, exhausted by the long and dangerous journey, while they remain extremely vulnerable to dangers that lurk in their every step.
In response to the immediate needs of these children, the first members of the “Guardianship Network for Unaccompanied Minors”, established by METAction, took action last month. The Network, which was initially created to ensure the rights of unaccompanied minors, who arrive in Greece, operates in close cooperation and with the support of the First Instance Public Prosecutors and Prosecutors for minors, who remain their temporary Guardians. The operation of the Network will begin gradually. Until the end of the summer, it will consist of 12 members, based in 4 regions of the country, including entry points.
The members of the Network were trained during an intensive 6-day seminar, based on educational material, created for the first time in Greece, drawing on the exchange of know-how with organizations in Norway, Belgium and the Netherlands.
During the first few weeks, the members of the Network had the chance to support children from different countries through complex procedures that they needed to follow and to look after their health care. They guided minors through the paths of the asylum system, talked to them about their goals and dreams, and together they drew paintings and played. They also helped them to come into contact with their relatives in other European countries, slowly initiating their unification, in cooperation with competent bodies.
The most important aspect, though, is that these children have a mentor, to whom they can attend to at any time and know that they will always be by their side.
“I feel that my role is crucial, as every effort immediately translates into results”, says one of the members of the Network; “whether the help refers to finding suitable accommodation, assistance in the asylum procedures or creating a sense of trust and security, the results are immediate. Minors were placed in safe shelters and smiles were put on frightened faces. The precious gift of this experience is these smiles. The everyday contact with refugee unaccompanied minors is somehow a life lesson. The children demonstrate immense will-power. They don’t talk about the past but rather about the future and their dreams”.
For more information about the programme and how you can contribute: www.epitropeia.org
From the 1st Training Seminar for prospective Guardians of Unaccompanied Minors by METAction
Two of the children under the care of members of the Network for Unaccompanied Minors
This project is funded by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway under the EEA GrantsGreek NGO Programme “We are all Citizens”. The Bodossaki Foundationis the Fund Operator of this Programme. The Programme aims to strengthen civil society and enhance the contribution of NGOs to social justice, democracy and sustainable development.