Currently it is estimated that in Greece there are 3050 unaccompanied minors (UAMs) out of whom 96.2% are boys and 3.8% are girls.
Almost 42% of those, 1280 children, are homeless, in non-formal housing projects (squads) or in unknown locations and they are faced with multiple dangers such as sexual exploitation, exposure to trafficking, forced labor etc.
Many of those UAMs have not not even be registered whereas the vast majority of them has no access to formal education, their health is not being monitored, they do not have access to regular treatment if needed, they have not been vaccinated etc.
The rest UAMs (the ones that stay temporarily at some sort of accommodation) usually stay, waiting for their turn to be transferred to a shelter, in Hotspots (i.e. Moria), in protective custody (in police stations) or other temporary establishments.
It is easily understood that the dangers that anyhow threaten a UAM become more critical for minor girls as they are more vulnerable and more exposed to all sorts of threats for their physical and psychological well-being and safety.
These girls, like minor boys as well, are in urgent need of a home where they will feel and be safe and protected and where their physical, mental and social development can be ensured.
By identifying this gap in available shelters and places for UAMs in general and especially for UAM girls in particular, we decided in ZEUXIS to create a home for them.
Thus, we set up a home fully equipped and appropriately designed, staffed with experts to provide a shelter to 15 UAM girls. We decided to call it “OIKOS” from the Greek word that means “Home”, as our aspiration was to create a home and not a “shelter” for them.
OIKOS is divided in two sections: the living space on the first floor, an area for the exclusive use of our girls and the communal spaces on the ground floor. There we have dedicated rooms for various activities, dining room, recreational activities and administration.
Our OIKOS is staffed by experienced and highly qualified professionals who are passionate with their work:
- Social workers
OIKOS operates 24/7, so there is always someone present (at least two members of staff at the same time 24/24) to attend the needs of the girls.
What do we offer to our girls?
- Bed and personal space (toilet, showers etc)
- Clothes and shoes
- Personal hygiene items
- Medical care
- Non formal education and recreational activities in house
- Access to formal education
- Educational and recreational activities (excursions, visits to museums, attendance to theatrical plays, concerts etc)
- Monthly allowance for their personal expenses
- Monthly card for their transportation with public transportation
- Psycho-social support
At the same time we provide for a number of issues such as ensuring the issuing of a Personal Registry Number of Social Welfare for the girls, vaccination (which is a pre-requisite for their registration to formal education), registration to formal education and following up on their progress at school, provision of legal aid regarding asylum procedures, family reunification procedures etc.
Our ambition is that OIKOS:
- Ensures the protection of our girls from physical and psychological threats providing them with a safe space based on the provisions of the legal framework as well as the best practices
- Is a permanent care measure (as opposed to a temporary one), having as a priority the reunification with family members (when and if they exist) or the provision of support for integration for those girls who will stay in Greece
- Assures that the girls enjoy their rights to the fullest extent possible in order for them to develop their personalities
- Works in close cooperation with the competent State authorities (National Center of Social Solidarity) and the Office of the Public Prosecutors all over the country (they are the ones that place the girls to our OIKOS)
- Cooperates and is interconnected with other civil society organisations