According to the Permanent Committee for the psychological health chronic and extended exposure of children and teenagers to war conditions is particularly damaging for their psychology.
In a report by UNICEF it is recorded that children that are born in belligerent situations grow up untimely, whereas one in ten is obliged to labor. Also, about 40% of children are deprived of basic (elementary) education.
Several children express various symptoms such as toxic stress, post-traumatic stress disorder or urinary disorders and some children develop aggressive behavior.
The impact of war in the children’s psyche can last from weeks to years and the trauma consequences overwhelm a significant part of their lives. As a repercussion of this, children and teenagers are susceptible to becoming victims of trafficking, of forced labor and of sexual exploitation.
Moreover, children on the move – children who have left their home, who are constantly on the road, who are mobile within a country or crossing borders, unaccompanied or with an adult accompanying them – become nomads, refugees, asylum applicants or irregular migrants. And that’s the good scenario. The bad scenario is that these children and teenagers are victimized, abducted, exploited or killed.
In any case, the sensitive and vulnerable condition of childhood is multiply challenged and traumatized by all these conditions and causes damages to the children’s soul at a different extend.
The war children and the children on the move are faced not only with the scars accumulated in their souls on the way to Greece but they are confronted with more adversities: social exclusion, access to formal education, everyday living conditions, access to helfare etc.
Since January 2016 and until October 2018 it is estimated that more than 65.000 children entered Greece irregularly. Out of them 9.000 children are considered unaccompanied minors. These numbers grow on a daily basis as arrivals continue mainly to the Greek islands.
Faced with this reality ZEUXIS decided to develop a project to address the needs of this particularly sensitive and vulnerable group: refugee and migrant children and teenagers. By creating the Day Center for the provision of psycho-social support to minor migrants and refugees ZEUXIS provides a range of services of combined psycho-social support.
The Day Center for psychosocial support to minor refugees and migrants aims at:
- Covering the basic and daily needs of minors in order for them to develop the social skills necessary to achieve communication and interaction with others.
- To trace and provide the specialized care to the minors that have been diagnosed with any kind of issues of mental health.
- To protect minors from damaging habits and to provide an environment where the children will be in position to feel confidence and comfort in the frame of a “peer-to-peer” approach but also through psycho-educational activities.
- To provide the appropriate creative stimuli so that the capabilities and skills of minors are enforced and their free time is spent creatively.
- To eliminate the dangers from the social exclusion of children on the move.
- To promote a beneficial and supportive model of integration of minors to the local community.
Moreover, ZEUXIS is in close cooperation with the National Network of Children on the move, under the coordination of the Children’s Rights Ombudsman, as well as with other stakeholders in the field of child protection.
The venue and the services of the Day Center
In a fully equipped and functional space in the center of Athens easily accessible by public transportation we offer:
Psychiatric diagnosis and treatment: Psychiatric diagnosis is done by an experienced child-psychiatrist. No medicines are prescribed in the Day Center. If medicines’ prescription is deemed necessary by the child-psychiatrist, the minor is referred to a public hospital.
Counseling, short-term psychological treatment to minors and parents / guardians: Day Center provides short-term individual or group psycho-therapeutic sessions addressed to minors or adolescents. Furthermore, parent’s counseling and psycho-education is provided.
The Day Center is staffed with a child-psychologist and covers a wide spectrum of diagnosis including assessment and treatment in psychological and learning difficulties.
Social Service: The Day Centers’ Social Service undertakes the keeping of the social history (registration of social elements and requests from beneficiaries), provision of social supportive services, social counseling and support (provision of information to the beneficiaries for their rights and options for access to the public health system, the national educational system and to social benefits), as well as connects beneficiaries with a network of humanitarian organisations and public services in case the minor needs to be referred to the appropriate services.
Educational program: The group program of the Day Center is addressed to children who live in shelters or in the community aiming to help them communicate in Greek and English orally and in written. Further to this is to offer a creative alternative for minors to spend their free time and help them develop their social skills.
For this we have created a program that consists of many different activities which are creative and therapeutic. The program includes various activities on a weekly basis designed for different groups every day.
All of our services and activities are facilitated by Interpreters / Cultural Mediators.
Some of the activities are:
- Greek language learning group
- English language learning group
- Theatrical game group
- Movies group
- Psycho-kinetic expression group