WORLD CHILDREN’S DAY: 4,000 children – beneficiaries of SolidarityNow are going to school

Giorgos Moutafis for SolidarityNow

“Our goal is to ensure all children’s right to have access in education”

 Athens, February 20th, 2018

Today, November 20th, on the occasion of the World Children’s Day, SolidarityNow, focuses on the absolute right of all Children in Education and celebrates with thousands of them who are its beneficiaries, in Attica, Epirus and Northern Greece. Children hosted in structures under the accommodation program, children living in refugee camps and benefiting from the services provided by Children’s & Family Support Centers/Blue Dots and children visiting the organization’s Solidarity Centers.

Up to today and across Greece, SolidarityNow has supported approximately 4,000 children to enroll in school and has offered more than 10,000 free non-formal education activities.

“This World Day is for all of us a reminder of the need to protect children and their rights that are threatened and very often not respected”, said Antigone Lyberaki, General Manager of SolidarityNow. “In a world that is constantly tested, children are the vulnerable population group that needs special protection, and this is for us, at SolidarityNow, a top priority in all our programs. Our main concern is to ensure that the thousands of children that our field teams meet every day will be enrolled in school, attend their classes that may have been violently interrupted in their countries and join the free educational and creative activities that we organize. In a few words, we are trying to ensure that these children will gain back a regularity in their everyday life but also, they will have access to the absolute and universal right to education”.

In SolidarityNow, the protection of children’s rights is fundamental and an integral part of the organization’s vision, consistently with the UN’s Convention on the Rights of the Child*.

For all those children that their family life was disturbed, the school environment was not a given and have been expelled, the organization intervenes -in addition to securing the provision of accommodation to them and their families- focusing on education, aiming at their development, returning to normality, healthier social integration. Because in SolidarityNow, the inherent right of children to life implies the right to access to education.

I like it here! Very much! All teachers are very good at me. My favorite lessons are physics and ancient Greek, but when I grow up, I will learn more about the computers I love!” – Ali, 15 years old from Afghanistan. He attends Greek, English, Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics courses at the Blue Refugee Center.

In Numbers

Access to education for children aged 5 to 15 of the organization’s programs, in numbers:

Accommodation Program

  • 100% of the children living in the organization’s accommodation structures in Thessaloniki, Ioannina and Tilos are enrolled and go to school (total number of children: 169)
  • 73% of the children living in the organization’s accommodation structures in Athens are enrolled and go to school (192 out of the 264 children)
  • 6,638 training activities have taken place since the beginning of 2017 and till today in the accommodation structures (non-formal education activities).

Child and Family Support Hubs/Blue Dots

  • 600 children have been supported in school enrollment and regular attendance, for the time period November 2017-October 2018.

Solidarity Center & Blue Refugee Center, Thessaloniki

  • 709 children have attended the 3,700 educational activities organized in the Solidarity Center and the Blue Refugee Center in Thessaloniki from the beginning of 2017 until today.

The education process never stops, so apart from providing children with access to formal education, non-formal educational activities are enriched by the organization’s expert teams in order to even more effectively respond to children’s needs by overcoming language and other barriers.

*The UN General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child on 20 November 1989. The Convention was incorporated into national law in Greece by the Law 2101/1992.

The SolidarityNow accommodation program is part of ESTIA-Emergency Support to Integration & Accommodation program, supported by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and funded by European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO).

The Child and Family Support Hubs project is implemented by SolidarityNow with the support of UNICEF and funded by the European Commission – Civil Protection & Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO).

Thessaloniki Solidarity Center was established and is supported by the Open Society Foundations. The Blue Refugee Center is supported by the UNHCR and UNICEF and funded by European Commission – Civil Protection & Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO).