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, interpreter and an educator 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 April, elven (11) UMCs were accommodated in the Safe Area of Kos, who 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.
During the reporting period, two (2) UMCs were transferred to shelters in Athens and two (2) new UMCs arrived at the Safe Area.
Individual consultancy sessions with Zeuxis' social worker focused on minors' empowerment, self-awareness, coping with feelings of anxiety and stress, and substance abuse and its effects. Furthermore, one (1) group session was conducted with the UMCs, the discussion revolved around selecting the most appropriate snack items during Ramadan.
Zeuxis’ lawyer continued to provide legal support to all beneficiaries of the Safe Area. As part of her responsibilities, she submitted a request for review for two family reunification cases in Italy and Germany. Additionally, one family reunification application and one relocation application were accepted.
Under Zeuxis educator direction, a planting activity took place in the surroundings of the Safe Area, where vegetables and herbs were planted. The UMCs were taught about the life cycle of the plants and the link between plants and animals.
On April 22, the UMCs celebrated Earth Day. The children entertained themselves and added beauty to the place they live with the most simple and precious materials: smiles, excellent temper and plants. Zeuxis’ team helped them make the most beautiful creations. With care, love and some water, the plants will give back the love by spreading colors, aromas and... a few strawberries!
Also, a project about Human Trafficking was implemented, to raise awareness about the issue. In the context of implementing this project, UMCs were requested to express themselves and their thoughts on the issue through art.
The context as well as the quantitative outcomes during April is outlined below:
APRIL 2021 – PROJECT RESULTS
• 11 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 work and legal support:
• 14 sessions for needs/requests assessment
• 7 interventions in crisis
• 19 consultancy sessions
• 11 referrals for medical examination and administrative issues
• 2 Personal Development Plans
• 13 individual sessions with the lawyer
• 4 cases with the Dublin Unit
• 1 successful relocation application
• 1 successful family reunification application
URL address of DG HOME: http://ec.europa.eu/home-affairs/