Among the hundreds of asylum seekers who gather daily at the Asylum Service offices in Athens and Thessaloniki, there are many mothers with babies and young children, as well as unaccompanied and separated children (UASC). Asylum seekers often have to wait for hours in the courtyard of the Asylum Service office in extreme weather conditions that are unsuitable for their age and vulnerability. In response, METAdrasi created and operates Mother and Child Spaces at the Asylum Service office in Athens. This space opened in June 2016 and, in May 2017, METAdrasi opened another space in Thessaloniki. These spaces enable mothers to breastfeed and take care of their babies in a friendly and appropriate environment, while young children have the opportunity to play safely while supervised by our volunteers.
The project was created thanks to the dedicated and coordinated work of METAdrasi’s team, the cooperation of the Asylum Service and thanks to donations in kind (eg. Container, A/C). The Mother and Child Areas run from Monday to Friday, 08.30-14.30.
Monthly, on average, over 400 mothers and children benefit from these spaces in both locations. Since the inception of this programme and until September 2020, there have been over 10,350 mothers’ visits and over 25,000 children’s visits at the Mother and Child Spaces.