The Smile of the Child
Member: NGO Premium
Voluntary Children's Association
10, Zinonos Eleatou Street, GR-151 24 Maroussi, Athens, Greece
“The Smile of the Child” is recognized as the first originally national Greek Organization in Europe
A meeting between EU Commissioner Mr. Christos Stylianides and the President of “The Smile of the Child Mr. Costas Yannopoulos inaugurates the official partnership of the two actors in the provision of emergency humanitarian assistance in Greece.
“The Smile of the Child” is recognized as the first originally national Greek Organization in Europe that becomes official partner of European Commission’s DG ECHO
“The Smile of the Child”, given its longstanding and internationally recognized record of activities and expertise in the field of child protection and provision of direct assistance and support, received the positive evaluation of DG ECHO following its application to become official FPA partner of the European Commission’s Directorate General of the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO). It thus became the first originally national Greek Organization to obtain this status.
A Framework Partnership Agreement (FPA) with DG ECHO was signed following the thorough auditing and evaluation of “The Smile of the Child’s” procedures, thus providing the opportunity to the Organization to undertake actions of humanitarian assistance in Greece in accordance with its longstanding principles and values of quality, efficiency and transparency.
During a symbolic, but also very substantial meeting held on the 21st of November 2017, at the premises of the European Commission in Brussels, the EU Commissioner of DG ECHO Christos Stylianides welcomed the President of the BoD of “The Smile of the Child” Mr. Costas Yannopoulos. Mr. Stylianides recognized the significant work of “The Smile of the Child” and applauded the importance of the partnership established with the Greek Organization. The European Commissioner warmly accepted the invitation extended by Mr. Yannopoulos to visit one of the Homes of Care of the Organization in Nea Iraklitsa, Kavala. This Home was recently reconstructed with the funding of DG ECHO and in partnership with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) with the aim to provide a safe living environment to children of Greek or other origin in danger and refugee unaccompanied children particularly at risk, based on the mixed model of the nationwide network of Homes of the Organization.
In addition, the meeting gave the opportunity to the team of “The Smile of the Child” and the officials of DG ECHO to discuss the next steps of their cooperation, while special emphasis was given to ways of utilizing the existing infrastructure and human resources of the Organization set at the disposal of authorities in emergency situations, as, for example, on the coverage of the plethora of needs of refugee and migrant children stranded in Greece, as well as direct intervention capacity based on specialized logistical means and tools in natural disaster emergencies such as the recent deadly floods that hit various areas in Athens.
In this context, the wide network of operational tools and infrastructure of the Organization was also discussed e.g. the Search and Rescue Team “Thanasis Makris”, staffed by specialized handlers and dogs that are unique for their trained skills in Greece, the Mobile Operational Unit for emergency situations, the Mobile Medical Units of Intensive Care for children and newborns, the nationwide Centers of Direct Social Intervention (CDSI), the 1056, 116000 and 116111 lines that operate across the country, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, as well as “ODYSSEAS”, a Mobile Lab of Information, Education and Technology that can turn into a Crisis Management Center during emergencies.
It is worth noting that “The Smile of the Child”, committed to its vision to protect all children, continuously supports refugee and migrant minors since the very first moment of the most recent refugee crisis and over time. In this context, it contributes significantly on a daily basis through all its forces and logistical capacity by offering holistic support to refugee minors and their families. More specifically, it does so through services of care and accommodation, psychosocial support, medical care and treatment of children with serious problems, protection to vulnerable groups of children and mainly unaccompanied minors at risk of being trafficked, exploited and smuggled.
“The Smile of the Child” strongly advocates that refugee and migrant children do not only need food, education and medical care, but, most importantly, substantial protection, true care and a holistic support, which to a large degree so far have not been ensured in the context of this crisis. The signing of a Framework Partnership Agreement will give the opportunity to “The Smile of the Child” to attract for the first time funding resources directly drawn from DG ECHO which will contribute to an enhanced support to refugee and migrant minors stranded in the country. At the same time, “The Smile of the Child” will be in a better position to ensure the sustainability of its longstanding actions for children and families in Greece, who are also experiencing several hardships stemming from the persistent social and financial crisis in the country.