‘In Afghanistan, because of my tribe, from my early childhood the Taliban abused me and would not let me go to school. One day, as I was walking, I was kidnapped and kept in a basement. I cannot stand thinking about the repeated abuse I endured. I arrived in Greece with the hope that my life would change. Instead, I became homeless, without money nor legal paper, I was invisible. Hungry and alone, I was forced into exploitation to survive.
With the help of Defence for Children International Greece, I am now a recognized refugee. I feel safe, I have a home and I go to school. DCI Greece have helped me regain confidence in my future. I write poems and dream to become an engineer.’
THERE ARE CURRENTLY OVER 4,000 UNACCOMPANIED CHILDREN IN GREECE. URGENT ACTION IS NEEDED TO PROTECT BOYS AND GIRLS AT RISK LIKE MAHMOUD.
In Greece, there are currently close to 5,000 unaccompanied children, alone, without any parent or caregiver to protect them.
The vast majority of them, just like Mahmoud, become homeless. Sleeping rough on the streets, they become prey to exploitation and violence. Often, they have no choice but to resort to survival, transactional sex. These outrageous living conditions have deepened their trauma and led them to serious emotional disorders, suicide attempts and withdrawal. Access to healthcare and education is almost always also denied to them.
Another life for these children is possible. DCI Greece has been working since 2016 to offer free legal aid and protection services to unaccompanied children in need. Our team of legal and child protection advisors works on the ground, reaching out to children in urgent need of support, on the streets and in the camps. With our intervention, children can see their legal status resolved, find safety and shelter, get released from detention, and from the terrible threats of smuggling and exploitation. They are able to resume schooling and be reunited with their families in other EU countries. They become empowered and informed about their rights. They start to believe in themselves and dream again, they gain back the childhood every child has a right to.
But to help more children like Mahmoud DCI Greece urgently needs your help. Whilst we are facing increased demands and referrals, we are crowdfunding to step up our vital work.
Just 10,000€ would guarantee our activities for 3 months. This represents helping 300 boys and girls like Mahmoud receiving life-changing legal advice, and in turn regain the dignity, protection and family that should never have been taken from them.
Please consider donating to help us reach our target before Christmas day, and ensure children’s dreams become a reality in 2020.
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In October 2019, our director, Nantina Tsekeri, received the prestigious child 10 award, as one of the world's ten most exceptional child rights advocates. See more here: http://child10.org/
*N.B.: Name changed to protect the identity of the children we support.