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: social support and non-formal education, through an interdisciplinary approach.
Social support is a manifold and multilayer process that includes -among other:
• social 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 May, thirteen (13), UMCs were accommodated in the Safe Area of Kos, who benefited during their stay through a holistic approach that included social work, health services, 24-hour presence of caregivers, daily snacks, referral to institutions and public services and organization of daily activities. Zeuxis’ field team welcomed three (3) new UMCs, namely two (2) male and (1) female. In terms of departures, eight (8) UMCs were transferred to shelters, while the brother of one (1) UMC got custody of him, and they were transferred together to Athens.
Zeuxis' social worker through individual consultancy sessions helped UMCs to cope with anxiety and stress feelings. Moreover, she assured them that their case management would not be discontinued and addressed their fear of the unknown by showing them pictures of the locations they would be transferred to and sharing other relevant information. Zeuxis social worker supervised the transport of UMCs with health concerns to the hospital.
Zeuxis’ lawyer continued the provision of legal support to all beneficiaries of the Safe Area. Ιn the context of her responsibilities, she submitted a request for family reunification and two relocation applications were initially accepted and passed to the next phase.
Under Zeuxis educator guidance, beneficiaries continued to take care of their garden, enjoying fruits and vegetables. Zeuxis’ team made the necessary preparations, and together with the unaccompanied minors, they celebrated Eid al Fitr with dance, food and games. A variety of recreational activities took place with the contribution of Zeuxis’ caregivers.
The context as well as the quantitative outcomes during May is outlined below:
MAY 2021 – PROJECT RESULTS
• 13 UMCs accommodated in KOS RIC SA
• Basic support:
✓ 24 h presence of caregivers
✓ Interpretation in Urdu, Arabic, Somali 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:
✓ 3 sessions for social history intake
✓ 4 sessions for needs’ / requests’ assessment
✓ 3 interventions in crisis
✓ 22 consultancy sessions
✓ 5 referrals for medical examination and administrative issues
✓ 1 Personal Development Plan
URL address of DG HOME: http://ec.europa.eu/home-affairs/