Sofia Kouvelaki, director, The HOME Project, addresses the audience at the Boston event.
The Consulate General of Greece in Boston hosted a very special event dedicated to “The HOME Project,” a non-profit organization set up to address the needs of unaccompanied refugee children in Greece.
Stratos Efthymiou, the Greek Consul General in Boston, Harvard University Professor Melani Cammett, and Angelo Manioudakis welcomed Sofia Kouvelaki, the CEO of The HOME Project, with the aim of raising awareness about the current child protection gap for unaccompanied minors who have migrated to Greece.
“We stand in support of the work of The Home Project. No one should remain indifferent to the plight of refugee children who are in urgent need of protection and support,” stated Consul General Efthymiou in his remarks.
Greek Consul General Stratos Efthymiou addressing the audience at the Boston event
Kouvelaki presented information on the child protection model of The HOME Project, which includes psychological, educational, pedagogical and social support for unaccompanied migrant children, and invited attendees to support her mission.
“The situation on the ground calls for immediate action and design and implementation of a child protection policy for unaccompanied minors in Greece. We are looking forward to exploring more channels of collaboration with the Greek diaspora which can play a significant role in helping these children to become what they are — children — again,” said Kouvelaki.
The number of arrivals of unaccompanied migrant children has peaked during the last several months. Refugee children coming to Greece without parental or other protection are seen more often now than at any time since the beginning of 2016.
There are only 1,169 available spots for long-term accommodations, and a total of 3,041 unaccompanied minors are currently detained in camps and “safe zones” which have proven to be anything but safe.
More than 1,100 children are currently homeless in Greece, living in the streets with no access to protection and care services. They are exposed to all kinds of threats, including physical and sexual violence, child abuse, organ trafficking, and sexual exploitation.
The recent increase in migrants landing on Greek shores, over-population in the islands and a record number of children outside the official care system, are raising serious issues of child protection, public health, and social cohesion in the country.