Project “MERIMNA” - Safeguarding children at Greek border points
The project is implemented by Ζeuxis 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 Kos.
Τhe scientific team of Zeuxis, consisting of a social worker, lawyer, educator and an interpreter, 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.
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: consultancy, sessions for needs & 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
• 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 emotional, cognitive and 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
• Commitment to safety rules and engagement in procedures → to ensure personal and communal hygiene, security, and well-being
During March thirteen (13) UMCs were accommodated in the Safe Area of Kos. They benefited during their stay through a holistic approach that included social work, health services, interpretation, 24-hour presence of caregivers, daily snacks, referral to institutions and public services and organization of daily activities.
Concerning the arrivals, two (2) new minors arrived in the SA and as for departures, three (3) UMCs were transferred to shelters in the mainland.
Sessions with Zeuxis' social worker revolved around needs'/requests’ assessments, social history obtaining, identifying and exploring career options in the framework of Child's Development Plan. Also, individual consultancy sessions focused on minors’ empowerment, self-awareness, coping with feelings of anxiety and stress, and substance use and its effect. Furthermore, two (2) self-support groups took place during March. One group revolved around the issue of racism and the second group was on gender violence and human rights.
Zeuxis lawyer continued to prepare beneficiaries for their interviews with the Asylum Service and informed them about their legal rights and the procedures. Two (2) family reunification applications cases were successfully finalized: one (1) UMC will be reunited with his sister in the UK and another one (1) with his family in Italy. Two (2) UMCs had an interview for EASO's relocation programme.
Α number of recreational activities took place. Also, UMCs went on an educational excursion in the city of Kos, whereby they acquainted themselves with historical monuments and learned about the island's history. UMCs enjoyed the walk in the city centre, and minors had the chance to interact in a different environment, away from the SA.
The context as well as the quantitative outcomes during March is outlined below:
MARCH 2021 – PROJECT RESULTS
• 13 UMCs accommodated in KOS RIC SA
• 24 h presence of caregivers
• Interpretation in Urdu, Arabic and French
• 2 snacks per day
• Daily routines (hygiene and ground rules in the Safe Area)
• Transportation to doctors and escorts
Social worker and legal support:
• 2 sessions for social history intake
• 7 sessions for needs’ / requests’ assessment
• 7 interventions in crisis
• 19 consultancy sessions
• 11 referrals for medical examination and administrative issues
• 2 Best Interests Assessments (ΒΙΑs)
• 2 Personal Development Plans
• 29 individual sessions with the lawyer
URL address of DG HOME: http://ec.europa.eu/home-affairs/