METAdrasi’s innovative action “A Home for Human Rights” seeks to provide unaccompanied minors with the opportunity to be hosted by families.
A few days ago, a warm home welcomed a twelve-year old girl who was forced to leave her homeland in Africa and arrived alone in Greece. Another unaccompanied girl from Afghanistan is now being hosted by a family of compatriots until she can be reunited with family in Canada.
These are the first unaccompanied children who have found a home thanks to the action “A Home for Human Rights”, implemented for the first time in Greece by METAdrasi, after exchange of expertise with organizations in Netherlands, Italy, Belgium and France that have an extensive experience in similar programs.
In the context of the programme, METAdrasi proceeded with creating a record of families that would be interested in providing temporary accommodation for unaccompanied children. Priority was given to families that speak the same language with the child, have a similar cultural background and would be able to undertake the responsibility to offer a family environment until such time as the child could be reunited with his/her family. This practice has been followed for decades in other European Union countries and has been identified as the best option for these children.
This project is funded by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway under the EEA Grants Greek NGO Programme “We are all Citizens”. The Bodossaki Foundation is 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.
Kyriaki Kourtidi, social worker and member of the project team, noted: “We feel great joy, but also a huge responsibility. Our concern is always to “match” in the best possible way children with families, taking into consideration on the one hand, the needs and the personality of each child and on the other hand, the capabilities and the profile of the families included in the record. The process of placing the unaccompanied minors to host families is operated in cooperation with the Juvenile Prosecution Athens and the competent social services.”
“The warm family environment has a beneficial effect on the psychism of unaccompanied children and can help them adjust to their new reality,” says Virginia Xythali, psychologist and project manager. “Let us not forget that many of these children have been through traumatic experiences in their home countries and also during their dangerous journey towards Europe. It is important to offer the appropriate conditions that will help them find tranquility and feel like actual children again.”
The two girls, as well as the families who opened their homes for them, face with enthusiasm this recent change in their lives.
It is worth mentioning that more than 15 families have registered for this program, while many more have expressed interest and have begun the process to register.
Furthermore, in the context of the action, since June 2015, three experienced lawyers in Chios, Samos and Lesvos have been providing legal support to unaccompanied children who arrive in the country and have helped more than 650 children to date. The program also includes various events and activities in order to raise awareness in local communities and the general public regarding the significance of the protection of unaccompanied minors arriving in our country.