EU and UNICEF announce joint project to help refugee children in Greece

The European Commission on Wednesday announced a new UNICEF-EU joint project to help 6,000 refugee and migrant children across Greece, including unaccompanied minors.

The action will be financed with 8.5 million euros from the European Union’s emergency support instrument, which enables the European Commission to fund emergency operations within the EU.

“Child refugees, especially unaccompanied minors, are among the most vulnerable individuals and it is our moral obligation to help them and protect them as much as we can,” said European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides.

At a time of harsh weather conditions in Greece, the project will help keep refugee and migrant children safe and cared for and give them access to child protection and educational services, a Commission announcement said.

According to the Commission, there are an estimated 21,000 refugee and migrant children in Greece. Many of them suffer deep psychosocial distress as a result of their troubled experiences, the tough living conditions in refugee sites and lingering uncertainty. Many of them, regardless of their age, have been out of school for two years on average.

Particular emphasis will be placed on services for unaccompanied children – 400 of whom will be provided with temporary accommodation while they wait for asylum, family reunification or relocation in Greece or elsewhere in Europe. Another 6,000 vulnerable children and women living in open sites and urban settings will benefit from psychosocial support, case management and referral to specialised child protection services.