Greece lies at the centre of one of the largest European migration routes. Since the EU-Turkey Agreement of March 2016, Greece has become the final stop for many refugees on their journey to the European Union. Help focuses on providing refugee women and children with safe accommodation and supports their integration into Greek society through many different activities.
Forgotten by Europe
Hundreds of thousands of refugees have fled war and persecution in their home countries and tried to reach Central Europe in recent years. There they hoped to live in safety. But the closure of the Balkan migration route at the start of 2016 has left tens of thousands of refugees stranded in Greece. Overnight, poorly equipped temporary refugee camps have become permanent homes for countless women and children. Currently around 64,900 refugees from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and other countries remain stranded in Greece.
Hygiene in the refugee camps can sometimes be catastrophic. Protection against wind, rain and the cold is often inadequate, and attacks are frequent. Hepatitis, diarrhoea and childhood diseases are spreading. Many refugees are helpless in the face of all of this. Greece is reliant on the solidarity of other European countries for assistance in meeting the immense challenges and in supporting the refugees and their integration into Greek society.
Help has been active in Greece since the beginning of the refugee crisis. It supports stranded refugees by providing them with medical aid and food parcels. Since the middle of 2017, Help has run a shelter for the vulnerable known as “Mosaico House”. Women and children in particular are not safe in the camps, so Mosaico House gives 36 people – all of them single women and their children in need of aid – a roof over their heads in the short to medium term, no matter where they come from and what their views are.
Help also supports house residents in accessing public bodies and the authorities, hospitals and schools. Here in Mosaico House, refugees find the basic essentials that they need, as well as protection and psychosocial counselling. Together with the refugees, language courses and other integration workshops are organised, and creative childcare is provided. With Mosaico House in the centre of Athens, Help has created safe accommodation where refugees can lead lives of dignity in an urban environment.
Donors and partners: ADH (Aktion Deutschland Hilft)
Finally able to hope again
Fourouzan (33) and her daughter, Elena (13), fled violence and terror in Afghanistan. Their journey was traumatising. When they arrived in Greece, they were both in very poor physical and mental health. It was only when they reached Mosaico House that they finally felt safe again. They regained their strength, their health improved, and Elena found the courage to face life again. Fourouzan says: “I see so much good here; they really care for us.”
Help currently runs Mosaico House in Athens for 36 women and children. Before this, Help improved the living conditions of around 22,000 refugees in main and transit accommodation, distributed shopping vouchers to 5,000 refugees, ran courses for around 2,300 people and provided advice on asylum law to around 2,900 asylum seekers and their relatives.