On Wednesday, November 11, 2015, during a conference, METAdrasi presented the first results of the innovative program “Guardianship Network for Unaccompanied Minors ” (GNUM) that aims to offer personalized support and safeguard the rights of unaccompanied children.
It is estimated that thousands of children arrive in Greece alone, having lost their parents or having been separated from them. These children come from countries such as Syria and Afghanistan, where violence and conflicts prevail, and therefore constitute one of the most vulnerable social groups.
The first 13 specially trained members of the GNUM, during the seven (7) months of operation of the network in Athens, Lesbos, Samos and Orestiada, undertook a total of 256 children (150% more than the set target), 38 girls and 218 boys, aged from 6 months to 18 years, and performed 3,072 actions, concerning mainly meetings with children.
During the conference, cases were presented in which members of the GNUM, exercising the authorization obtained by First Instance Public Prosecutors and Prosecutors for minors:
- pulled all-nighters next to sick children in hospitals
- accompanied children for medical examinations and covered their medical needs
- at the border locations, often identified and received children late at night or early morning, transported them directly to the First Reception Screening Centers (FRSC- KEPY in Greek) to advance their identification process and to provide care, support and protection from trafficking and exploitation networks
- completed the necessary steps for four (4) children to be reunited with their families in other European Union countries and indeed escorted the children there
- helped two children complete their asylum procedures
- accompanied the children on their first day at school
- offered children psychological support, in cooperation with the Network’s psychologist
- intervened to reunite two friends who met in a border detention center and later lost contact because they had been moved to different accommodation facilities
- organized a surprise party for the children, where a 14 year-old boy celebrated his birthday for the first time
- implemented activities such as drawing contests, celebrations in the First Reception Detention Centers in Lesvos and Samos, music improvisations, cultural visits and workshops on arts and crafts, drama and cooking
Above all, the members of the GNUM supported the children in their every need and developed strong relationships with them, giving them strength to continue. It is worth noting that during the presentation the audience could listen to audio messages from children who are now in other European countries towards “their own people”, the members of the GNUM, in which they expressed their gratitude and love.
The conference opened with greetings by METAdrasi’s President Mrs. Laura Pappa, who expressed the need for adapting the legislative framework to European standards, followed by the Deputy Prosecutor of Minors in Athens Mrs. Katerina Koliokosta, Mr. Panagiotis Nikas Director of First Reception Service and Eleni Petraki, Head of Office of Public Relations & Communication of the Asylum Service. Representative of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees presented the existing legal framework for the Guardianship of Unaccompanied Minors in Greece and representatives of accommodation facilities in Athens talked about their cooperation with the GNUM members in the context of the project. The event was concluded by Mrs. Hilde Krogh, President of the Norwegian Association of Guardians Vergeforeningen Følgesvennen, who presented proposals towards configuring a sustainable guardianship system in Greece.
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.
More information on “Guardianship Network for Unaccompanied Minors”: www.epitropeia.org