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: Immediate and holistic protection of refugee and migrant children at risk
Eleni Papaspyrou, social worker of the Organization © The Smile of the Child / Ilias Spyropoulos
Thanks to the specialized professionals of "The Smile of the Child" and with the funding of the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations of the European Union (DG ECHO), the Organization is contributing to the immediate protection of refugee and migrant children at risk in Greece through the provision of services of prevention and direct intervention.
Eleni Papaspyrou, social worker of the Organization, is member of the staff of social workers and psychologists at the Operational Emergency Center where the National Helpline for Children SOS 1056, the European Hotline for Missing Children 116000, the European Helpline for Children and Adolescents 116111, as well as other mechanisms are coordinated in cases of emergency situations and cases of children at immediate risk.
‘We receive hundreds of calls for children at risk on a daily basis, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Our experience shows that these children, including unaccompanied minors, are particularly vulnerable and run the risk of physical and psychological abuse, serious neglect, disappearance, smuggling, exploitation or trafficking. When we receive information or a specific report to our call center, we pass this information immediately to the competent Police and Prosecutorial authorities and we cooperate with them for the best interest of the minor’, she explains.
From the very first moment, a social worker or a psychologist stands next to the child in order to accompany him/her to a safe environment. As long as the minor is placed into a protective environment the contribution of our volunteers is important, who thanks to the support of the interpreters of the Organization, provide care and recreational activities in the hospital. At the same time, our team is in direct communication with the staff of the Operational Center, Eleni Papaspyrou adds.
"The Smile of the Child" provides these services on a longstanding basis for all children regardless of religion or ethnicity, 24 hours a day, free-of-charge and without any distinction.
With the help of the project “Direct and Holistic Medical and Psychosocial Intervention for Refugee and Migrant Children in Danger in Greece” the specialized personnel of social workers and psychologists of the Organization has handled from April to October of this year 346 calls, whereas 547 adults and children have benefitted from the provided services, such as activation of procedures of protection and care, direct intervention for children at risk, counselling support, interpretation services via telephone, guidance, interconnection and provision of information.