by the Social Service of the Athens Solidarity Center by SolidarityNow
The Greek society, without having fully recovered from the ten-year economic crisis found itself once again confronted with the consequences of a crisis i.e., the one caused by Covid-19 pandemic as well as the broader international adverse conditions. As a result, a large share of the population continues to experience conditions of work and financial uncertainty, which fatally lead to situations of poverty and social exclusion. The Athens Solidarity Center (ASC) by SolidarityNow with the services it offers, is an enduring hub of solidarity and support for individuals and families who live below the poverty line and find it difficult to cover even their most basic, daily needs.
Such a case is the one of the 58-year-old E.X., who has been a beneficiary of the Athens Solidarity Center for more than 4 years. The first time she visited the ASC, Ms. E. was overwhelmed physically and mainly psychologically, due to the very serious financial problems she was facing. Being long-term unemployed, without any income, family or other supportive environment, the privately owned residence in which she lived was her only asset and at the same time her only protection against exposure to conditions of absolute poverty or even homelessness.
From the very beginning, the ASC experts along with Ms. E., tried to implement an integrated plan to lessen the great difficulties she was facing, so that she would once again be in a position to claim her active social reintegration.
For her empowerment, she continues to this day to have sessions with a psychologist from the ASC Psychological support Service, as her very poor living conditions burdened even more her already vulnerable psychological state. This kind of support helped her to trust herself and abilities again and actively seek work, with the constant assistance by the ASC Employability Service.
At the same time, with coordinated actions of the Social and Accounting services, Ms. E. managed, due to the health problems she is facing, to become the beneficiary of a monthly allowance (Guaranteed Minimum Income). Finally, during all this time, lots of actions have been carried out both by the ASC volunteers as well as through collaboration with other organizations, which aimed to improve the living conditions of Ms. E., encourage her, and meet her basic needs.
Ms. E.’s case is one among many that the Athens Solidarity Center’s services have called upon to manage in latest years. A great number of our fellow human beings, regardless of nationality, are already living in or directly threatened by conditions of poverty and social exclusion, while the constant appreciation of even basic goods is particularly burdensome for almost all households.
Solidarity, combined with specialized actions, can and must be in the forefront during this particularly turbulent period.
* Since August 2022, the Athens Solidarity Center is financed by EEA Grants, with ΣΟΛ Crowe and HumanRights360 as the fund operator.
The Center is also supported by the Municipality of Athens.