Portugal has pledged to receive 500 unaccompanied children from the Greek refugee camps, as part of a voluntary European scheme to relocate 1,600 children. Having stated that it will take on the largest number of children compared to other European countries, Portugal once again shows a great example of solidarity to Europe for a fair distribution of responsibilities.
Given the pre-existing cooperation between the Portuguese government and METAdrasi since 2017 – when for the first time ever five (5) unaccompanied children who were not part of the relocation programme or had any relatives in Europe, were accepted by an EU country – from the first moment that Portugal announced its willingness to receive 500 refugee children, a direct communication channel was established with the aim of transferring know-how and good practices from METAdrasi to the local actors involved and the Portuguese public services.
On Friday, July 24 2020, a two-day web seminar was completed, which was implemented by three (3) experienced executives of METAdrasi on unaccompanied children and in which participated more than 30 executives from the Portuguese side, who have undertaken the reception and integration of these children. The seminar presented the protection framework for unaccompanied children and included good practices and case studies. Throughout the seminar many questions were asked and very fruitful discussions took place with our colleagues from Portugal.
The first 25 children who lived under awful conditions in the refugee camps of Lesvos, Samos and Chios have already moved to Lisbon. This week METAdrasi’s President will travel to Portugal to visit them and participate in meetings with all involved actors and the executives who have undertaken the reception of the 500 unaccompanied children. “Apart from the gratitude we feel for this decision of the Portuguese government, we also feel an obligation to support its every effort with all available means at our disposal, so that these children can be fully integrated in their new homeland and have a better future” Ms. Lora Pappa mentioned.