SolidarityNow with the support of UNICEF and the collaboration of the National Centre for Social Solidarity (EKKA), in an effort to provide effective support to refugees and migrants who are still trapped in the port of Piraeus, launched a program entitled, “Blue Dots”. The purpose of this program is to provide to extremely vulnerable population groups -with a particular focus on unaccompanied minors- integrated information / information services on key issues of concern, as well as significant psychosocial assistance.
Since the beginning of the program in May 2016 until today, the teams of SolidarityNow and NCSS, which consist of qualified social scientists, psychologists and interpreters, have helped more than 1,000 refugees. Specifically, they manage and support 501 social cases, 413 legal cases and have helped to give psychological support in 147 incidents. At the same time, a number of people who needed further assistance -more than 200- were referred to partner organizations (eg MDM, Praksis etc.)
Goal of the initiative
The vast majority of migrants and refugees arriving in Greece are coming from the islands and thus Piraeus port is considered as the transition station through which are passing. However, following the Western Balkan route’s closure, more than 2,00 people are currently stranded in the port, rendering the spot the second biggest informal settlement. “Despite the fact that several independent bodies and organizations are present in the port, offering goods and services, it is noticed that there is a lack both in the provision of valid information that these people need in order to plan their next steps, and the required psychosocial support,” notes the Head of Programs of SolidarityNow, Elli Xenou. “This exact gap is what SolidarityNow aims to fill, through its collaboration with EKKA and the support of Unicef for the Blue Dot program, thus actively contributing to the protection of vulnerable populations from further risks”.
Objectives of the Program
The main objective of the Mobile Units Program implemented by SolidarityNow, is to ensure that all migrant and refugee families who live or pass through the port of Piraeus and from other parts of Athens and Attica, have full access to important services.
The specific objectives of the program, are:
1. Info sharing| Ensure efficient and accurate information sharing to refugees and migrants arriving to Piraeus port and/or other places of concentration in Attica.
2. Direct psychosocial support (PSS) and psychological first aid (PFA) included| psychological first aid and psychosocial support is provided to vulnerable families and children at risk.
3. Referrals| Appropriate referrals to: a) available and accessible services and, b) available shelters/accommodation centers/camps, food and non-food items, and other supportive services.
4. Identification of unaccompanied children and other vulnerable population| children at risk, with particular focus on unaccompanied children and vulnerable families, persons/children with disability and/or illness, cases of suspected trafficking, (S)GBV survivors, etc. are identified and protected.
5. Evaluation of children nutritional status through MUAC| mid-upper arm circumference to identify possible malnutrition traces is performed.
Unaccompanied Minors at the epicenter
Between January and March 2016, 1,210 unaccompanied children were registered (an increase of over 400% compared to the corresponding recording of 2015 / Source: EKKA), while the total number of such cases is estimated to reach 10,000 by the end of the year. These children are expected to remain in Greece longer due to the closure of the borders and because of the increasingly stricter policies adopted. The national system under the current crisis is unprepared to support these children or even to identify and assess the increasing number of cases. In this context, this program of SolidarityNow focuses on unaccompanied minors through actions regarding the identification and evaluation of the nutritional profile of children in order to identify and prevent malnutrition cases.