Supporting the Greek Authorities in Managing the National Reception System for Asylum Seekers and Vulnerable Migrants
The program “Supporting the Greek Authorities in Managing the National Reception System for Asylum Seekers and Vulnerable Migrants (SMS)” is implemented by ZEUXIS in cooperation with IOM and is funded by the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund of the European Union (DG HOME). It aims to provide security and support services to 30 Unaccompanied Minors (UMCs) hosted in the Safe Zone of Malakasa Long Term Accommodation Center.
Τhe scientific team of ZEUXIS, consisting of a social worker, psychologist, educatοr, lawyer and interpreters, provided unaccompanied minors with a personalized treatment of their needs for food, health, education, information, psychological support, socialization and social inclusion, development of interests, entertainment, sports and creative activities, in the framework of an interdisciplinary approach.
The intervention aims to empower unaccompanied minors and to best prepare them for living conditions and requirements that will arise for them shortly. The intervention unfolds around 2 significant axes: psychosocial support and non-formal education, through an interdisciplinary approach.
Psychosocial support includes:
• psychosocial history intake to design a personalized intervention
• individual sessions with the Social Worker/ the Psychologist: consultancy, therapy & joint planning of the Child’s Development Plan
• psychosocial group sessions for the communication of important knowledge/information, strengthening group links and peaceful relations
Non-formal education aims at the UMCs’ development of physical, emotional and cognitive/ creative skills through:
• teaching Greek and English to serve the daily communication needs of UMCs
• experiential and participatory activities
• recreational and sports activities
• commitment to safety rules and ownership of procedures
In September ZEUXIS provided protection and assistance services to 30 Unaccompanied Migrant Children (UMCs) hosted in the Safe Zone. However, the novel coronavirus affected the operation of the Safe Zone, as Ministers of Civil Protection, Health and Migration and Asylum announced a temporary lockdown through a joint ministerial decision. More specifically, as of 7 September, Malakasa LTAC was placed in “full sanitary isolation” until 21 September, following the announcement of confirmed Covid-19 cases in both residents and employees. On 14 September another joint ministerial decision extended the camp’s lockdown until 30 September. Consequently, the provision of protection and assistance services to Unaccompanied Migrant Children (UMCs) had to be adjusted, taking all necessary protection measures and strictly following the instructions of EODY and the General Secretariat for Civil Protection.
Despite the limitations imposed on the daily operation of the Safe Zone, ZEUXIS proceeded with the registration of UMCs through the on-line platform to ensure that all beneficiaries will enrol in public education. ZEUXIS’ lawyer focused on the rescheduling of UMCs’ appointments with the Asylum Service for the issuance of their international protection applicant cards with priority to those reaching adulthood. Also, she held several meetings with UMCs to initiate new asylum and family reunification requests.
Issues discussed with UMCs during individual sessions with ZEUXIS’ social worker and psychologist revolved around overcoming traumas, dealing with sleeplessness, bereavement management due to the loss of loved ones and coping with Covid-19 related stress and suspended asylum and reunification procedures due to the quarantine. Sessions also included the provision of support and guidance to UMCs who reached or would shortly reach adulthood both on dealing with practical issues as well as coping emotionally with the requirements of adulthood.
Six (6) group meetings with the beneficiaries took place during September. The purpose of the meetings was to inform UMCs about the mandatory use of a mask both inside and outside the Safe Zone and keep them updated with relevant procedures (lockdown dates, screening by EODY, disinfection of the Safe Zone).
The context, as well as the quantitative outcomes during September, is outlined below:
SEPTEMBER 2020 – PROJECT RESULTS
• 30 UMCs accommodated in the Safe Zone
• 16 members of staff on the field (Coordinator, Interpreters, Social worker, Psychologist, Lawyer, Educator, Driver, Caregivers)
⦁ 24 h presence of caregivers
⦁ Interpretation in Arabic, Farsi, Dari, Pashto and French
⦁ Daily routines (hygiene and ground rules in the Safe Area)
⦁ Distribution of sweater and sport trousers provided by ZEUXIS
⦁ Distribution of 885 portions of food provided by IOM
⦁ Provision of monthly cash allowance
⦁ 17 social history intakes
⦁ 19 needs’ / requests’ assessments
⦁ 8 consultancy sessions
⦁ 34 Individual sessions with the psychologist
⦁ 6 sessions for Child’s Development Plan
⦁ 5 interventions in crisis
⦁ 6 group sessions
⦁ 68 referrals/ escorts for the provision of services
⦁ 22 individual sessions with the lawyer
⦁ 1 Best Interests Assessment (BIA) interview
Education, recreation and leisure:
⦁ 4 English lessons
⦁ 23 Greek lessons
⦁ 5 Mathematics lessons
⦁ recreational activities (handicrafts & games)
⦁ sports activities (sports & physical training)
⦁ cleaning activities