Project “MERIMNA” - Safeguarding children at Greek border points

The project is implemented by ZEUXIS under the supervision of IOM and it is funded by the Asylum, Migration, and Integration Fund of the European Union (DG HOME). It aims at providing protection and assistance services to Unaccompanied Migrant Children (UMCs) hosted in the Safe Area (SA) of Leros RIC.ZEUXIS’ intervention aspires to the UMCs integration from the borders. It unfolds around 2 major axes: psychosocial support and non-formal education, through an interdisciplinary approach.

Psychosocial support is a manifold and multilayer process that includes -among other:

⦁ Psychosocial History intake to have a thorough insight to each UMC in terms of experiences, personality, and aspirations, so as to design an individual intervention
⦁ Individual sessions with the Social Worker/ the Psychologist: consultancy, therapy & the Child’s Development Plan to enhance participation, to overcome difficulties and/or trauma, to empower the UMCS to set and pursuit their personal goals
⦁ Psychosocial Group sessions to share important information, to enhance team bonding and peace building, to engage the UMCs through experience, to empower their soft and emotional skills such as cooperation and respect, to provide them with life skills

Non-formal education aims at the UMCs’ development of physical, emotional and cognitive/ creative skills:
⦁ Using the communicative methodology of teaching a foreign/second language to be able to serve the UMCs’ needs on a daily basis
⦁ Through experiential and participatory activities to engage students and enhance learning results
⦁ Project-based lessons to acquire a holistic knowledge regarding a topic
⦁ Recreational activities to invite imagination in the educational process
⦁ Sport activities to release energy and exercise
⦁ Commitment to safety rules and engagement in procedures to ensure personal and communal hygiene, security, and well-being

The main challenge encountered in August was the transfer of UMCs to a different location due to the beginning of construction works in the Safe Area. On a general level, the transfer from the SA to PIKPA caused adjustment issues. Thus, sessions with ZEUXIS’ psychosocial unit served the purpose of providing guidance to UMCs relating to their adjustment to the new accommodation facility, while a significant number of sessions involved handling of UMCs’ feelings.

The window of opportunity which was created in July for many UMCs to be resettled to other European countries through EASO’s relocation program was further utilized in August, allowing six (6) UMCs to depart from Leros and start a new life in France. Furthermore, the concerted efforts of ZEUXIS’ staff along with IOM’s Field Coordinator and the excellent cooperation with stakeholders operating in Leros RIC contributed to the transfer of four (4) children to accommodation structures in the city of Ioannina, while two (2) requests for family reunification (one in Norway and one in the UK) were officially accepted in August.

The departure of ten (10) children on Sunday 30th August was full of touching moments. UMCs received warm wishes and farewell and expressed their gratitude to ZEUXIS’ staff for all the support they provided them with.

The context as well as the quantitative outcomes during August is outlined below:


⦁ 32 UMCs (boys and girls) accommodated in LEROS RIC SA
⦁ 16 members of staff on the field (Coordinator, Interpreters, Social worker, Psychologist, Lawyer, Educator, Driver, Caregivers)

Basic support:
⦁ 24 h presence of caregivers
⦁ Interpretation in Arabic and Farsi
⦁ Provision of legal support
⦁ 2 snacks per day
⦁ Daily routines (hygiene and ground rules in the Safe Area)
⦁ Transportation and escorts

Psychosocial support:
⦁ 1 psychosocial history intake
⦁ 28 sessions for needs’ / requests’ assessment
⦁ 102 consultation sessions
⦁ 25 Individual sessions with the psychologist
⦁ 65 referrals for medical examination
⦁ 18 escorts to the hospital

Education, recreation and leisure:
⦁ 37 English lessons
⦁ 12 German lessons
⦁ 8 Greek lessons
⦁ 16 recreational activities (handicrafts & games)
⦁ 5 sport activities (sports & physical training)
⦁ cleaning activities

URL address of DG HOME:
URL address of IOM Greece:
URL address of Zeuxis:


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