“Child and Family Support Hubs” by SolidarityNow: Coming full circle on child protection and non-formal education

2021 marked the 5th and final year of the SolidarityNow child protection and non-formal education interventions through the “Child and Family Support Hubs”* (CFSH) program, supported by UNICEF and IOM Greece with funding from the European Union.

Starting out in 2016, with a single field team working out of a small container in the port of Piraeus to welcome vulnerable families and children arriving from the islands, the project carved out a remarkable trajectory, meeting the evolving needs of refugees in Greece. Until October 2021, the project was supporting field teams in 14 refugee camps in Central Greece, Central and Eastern Macedonia, and the Peloponnese. Through the complementary services of child protection and non-formal education, the program caters to the well-being of refugee children and their families – safeguarding their present welfare and development and helping them take steps towards their future.

5th phase of the program: January-October 2021

2021 brought with it its own set of challenges, in addition to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic: new challenges in asylum legislation, administrative hurdles in cash assistance, and various obstacles in access to school put pressure on beneficiaries in the field, and rendered the support provided by the CFSH teams even more vital. Under often adverse circumstances, the program’s field teams ensured that the provided services reached the targeted population in an efficient way.

In October 2021, the program wrapped up the majority of its activities, with the exception of the Female Friendly Spaces, which are continuing to welcome women and girls until end of the year. The non-formal education component will also continue, through the umbrella of UNICEF’s “All Children in Education” program; a program that will carry and build on the legacy of the CFSH.

 The CFSH program’s achievements in numbers:

  • 8,500 total beneficiaries:4,987 children and 3,513 adults
  • 2,451 children accessed child protection services
  • 203 unaccompanied children and 44 people with disabilities were supported
  • 74 survivors of sexual and gender-based violence were identified and received specialized support and care
  • 2,536 children and 95 adults participated in non-formal education lessons
  • 1829 women and girls accessed the Female Friendly Spaces
  • 2,246 adults and children received legal support
  • 2,950 adults and children received psychosocial support

A holistic individual and group support model

For the CFSH program’s field teams each beneficiary and need were unique. Child protection professionals provided case management, psychosocial support, legal counselling, and representation and ensured access to public services. At the same time, non-formal education teachers provided on-site lessons and school support, in an attempt to prevent school dropout and enhance each child’s educational attainment and life skills.

SolidarityNow is proud of the program’s overall achievements along with its significant partners UNICEF and IOM. It has been a journey involving lots of locations across Greece, hundreds of professionals, and thousands of beneficiaries. We keep the memories of the people with whom we shared the effort, the lives that changed, the activities that delivered results, the teamwork that meets the challenges. All these inspire us today and tomorrow. We continue to design new interventions and setting higher goals, responding to the people’s needs and to our mission for open and fair societies”, Antigone Lyberaki, General Manager of SolidarityNow.

* The “Child and Family Support Hubs” program is jointly supported by UNICEF Greece and IOM Greece with funding by the European Union.