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: World Refugee Day
Day of Reflection for the protection of Refugees worldwide
In honor of World Refugee Day, “The Smile of the Child” in collaboration with the Embassy of Canada in Greece organized the Forum “Supporting the Lives of Refugees: from Crisis to Integration”. The event was held under the auspices of the Municipality of Athens at the Greek Film Archive.
In his opening address HE the Ambassador of Canada to Greece, Mr. Keith Morrill, welcomed all the participants by highlighting the importance of collective action for the protection of refugees at a global level.
Mr. Ioannis Balafas, Deputy Minister for Migration Policy, Debbie DesRosiers, Political Counsellor at the Embassy of Canada, Mr. Costas Yannopoulos, President of the BoD of “The Smile of the Child”, Mr. Philippe Leclerc, UNHCR Representative in Greece, Mr. Daniel Esdras, Special Envoy of the Director General of IOM in Greece, Ms. Kirin Brown, First Secretary at the Immigration, Refugees and Municipal Decentralization were contributed as speakers to the event. The discussion was moderated by journalist Panos Haritos.
The event was honored by the presence of HE the Ambassador of Pakistan, the Ambassador of Norway, the Ambassador of Japan, the Honorary Consul of New Zealand, representatives from public agencies and authorities, a representative of the President of the Greek Parliament, actors active in the field, as well as representatives of international, national organizations and foundations.
Mr. Costas Yannopoulos said: “Today is not a day of celebration, but a day of reflection. As a society, public sector and civil society alike, we are called upon to work together for the protection of refugees. This is not about statistics, but about persons. Refugees do not only need food and accommodation, but also substantial care and holistic services”.
In addition, Mr. Yannopoulos highlighted that “The Smile of the Child” cooperates on a longstanding basis with the institutional actors with the goal of ensuring equal treatment for all children regardless of ethnicity, religion or any other criterion. During the event, Mr. Yannopoulos announced jointly with Mr. Leclerc the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the two Organizations with primary aim the enhancement of the protection of refugee children and their families.
More specifically, the MoU between “The Smile of the Child” and UNHCR targets at improving coordination and setting at the disposal of the UN Refugee Agency the entire nationwide network of the Greek Organization in terms of providing medical care services, psychosocial support and awareness raising activities in the school communities.
Moreover, the purpose of this strategic cooperation is to improve the provided services through the infrastructure and mechanisms operated by “The Smile of the Child”, including the childlines 1056, 116000, 1161111 recently interconnected with the Call Center of NGO SAWA in Palestine, the Amber Alert Hellas, the nationwide network of Homes and a unique Day Center in Greece specialized for children victims of any form of violence.
In addition, the cooperation of the two actors aims at facilitating the process of referrals and ensuring the immediate mobilization for those children in need of care and support.
It is worth mentioning that “The Smile of the Child” has recently become the first strictly national Organization in Greece, official partner of the Directorate General of the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (DG ECHO). In this framework, the Organization implements the project “Direct and Holistic Medical and Psychosocial Intervention for Refugee and Migrant Children in Danger in Greece” funded by DG ECHO.
During the event participants had the opportunity to present good practices on the integration of refugees stemming from the long tradition and experience of Canada, as well as promising examples of integration in Greece. Special emphasis was put to the role of local authorities and municipalities, the priorities of the Greek government and the challenges for the protection of refugees and migrants at a global level.
“The Smile of the Child” would like to warmly thank: