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:
⦁ 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, and promote responsibility and accountability
During July, Zeuxis welcomed seven (7) new UMCs to the Safe Area (SA) of Kos RIC, 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. As regards departures, three (3) UMCs departed during the reporting period. More specifically, one (1) UMC was transferred to a shelter in the mainland, while the grandmother of one (1) UMC who lives in the general community of the accommodation site, got her custody. Finally, another UMC was transferred to the general community of the accommodation site following age assessment.
The subjects discussed with UMCs during the individual sessions with Zeuxis’ social worker focused on minors' empowerment, self-awareness, coping with feelings of anxiety and stress, and substance use and its effects. Besides, group meetings were held with the beneficiaries and included discussions on cohabitation issues and adherence to the Safe Area regulation.
Zeuxis' lawyer provided advice and guidance to UMCs for legal issues, asylum applications and family reunification procedure.
A variety of recreational activities took place with the contribution of Zeuxis' caregivers and the educator. Apart from the gardening activity inside the Safe Area, UMCs were also engaged in handicraft and painting activities. Besides, they watched the Olympic Games and several films.
The context as well as the quantitative outcomes during July is outlined below:
JULY 2021 – PROJECT RESULTS
7 UMCs accommodated in KOS RIC SA
✓ 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:
5 sessions for social history intake
6 sessions for needs’ / requests’ assessment
4 interventions in crisis
10 consultancy sessions
8 referrals for health issues
3 sessions with the lawyer
9 Greek lessons
3 English lessons
1 Math lesson
URL address of DG HOME: http://ec.europa.eu/home-affairs/