Visit of the Ministry of Migration & Asylum and UNICEF in Corinth
School bags and notebooks for the war children hosted in Corinth Reception/Hospitality Facility.
Halil from Syria who wants to become a football player, Furuzan from Afghanistan who wants to become a firefighter but maybe also a painter, Zehra from Syria who wants to become a cardiologist and Baneen from Iraq who wants to become a pediatrician. These are only a few of the children that Deputy Migration and Asylum Minister Sofia Voultepsi and UNICEF Diplomatic Representative in Greece Dr. Ghassan Khalil met at the Refugee Reception/Hospitality Facility of Corinth.
These are 45 children who are hosted there with their families and who participate in the non-formal education programme “All Children in Education” (ACE), which is being implemented under a Memorandum of Understanding between the Deputy Minister and UNICEF.
The children unfolded their dreams, presented Mrs. Voultepsi with drawings and handicrafts and shared their joy over the gifts (UNICEF school bags and notebooks) distributed by the Deputy Minister and Mr. Khalil.
Accompanying the visitors, who did not hide their joy regarding the children's progress, were the director of the Facility, Mr. Leonidas Kolaitis, the head of the NGO ELIX, which is responsible for the implementation of the ACE programme in Corinth, Mrs. Judith Wunderlich-Antoniou, the ELIX coordinator for the programme at the shelter, Ms. Ourania Tsiakalou, the head of the Greek language teaching team, Ms. Maria Dimara and the psychologist Ms. Sevi Tsoni.
The visit was also attended by members of the Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs of the European Commission, Ms. Monika Ekström and Ms. Mary Panoussi, as well as by the UNICEF Greece Country Office, Ms. Despina Karaberidou, Mr. George Simopoulos, Ms. Olga Siokou-Siova, Ms. Danae Leivada and Ms. Sissy Paris-Papadopoulou.
"A vision of ours became reality. With the help of capable teachers and organizations, more and more children are learning Greek and can attend their lessons in the Greek public school," said Mrs. Voultepsi after her tour of the Homework and Creative Activities Centre's facilities.
Referring to the ACE programme, the Deputy Minister noted: "We are talking about a programme of transition from informal to formal education, so that this can take place smoothly and without tension. 2022 was the best year for refugee education since the refugee crisis began. That is why we are here, so that we can help with the continuation of this programme. Language is a key part of communication."
A particularly impressive fact was that the children were helping the managers of the Facility to communicate with their parents, spontaneously taking on the role of interpreter and mediator.
Finally, Mrs. Voultepsi publicly thanked the European Commission "for funding the project from the very first moment and for standing by us as we move forward to complete this important work".
For his part, the UNICEF Representative in Greece Mr. Khalil noted that "the results of the "All Children in Education" programme, which UNICEF has been implementing for the past two years in cooperation with the Ministry of Migration and Asylum, and in coordination and with co-funding by the European Commission, are now visible throughout the country. I am very satisfied with the fact that, in a short period of time, children are able to communicate in Greek and participate smoothly in formal education. Our cooperation with the Ministry of Migration and Asylum continues so that together we can ensure that all refugee and migrant children in the country achieve their full potential."
The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child around the world. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, and all children, everywhere.
UNICEF is financed exclusively by voluntary contributions from individuals, the private sector, foundations and UN member states, including the EU. Donor support is crucial as we create a global alliance for reaching every child without any exception.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children in Greece, visit the UNICEF Greece website here.