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The Guardian Angels Helping Greek Children in Need this Holiday Season

Credit: Together for Children

The NGO “Mazi gia to Paidi,” or “Together for Children,” has been supporting Greek children facing all forms of difficulty, including bullying, disease, poverty, hunger, mental illness, and abuse, since its formation in 1996.

Speaking to Greek Reporter, Alexandra Martinou, President of “Together for Children,” stressed the organization’s motto: “Power through unity.”

All children in Greece, regardless of their ethnic, economic, or cultural background, can receive much-needed support from Together for Children through its collaboration with over 200 organizations dedicated to protecting children in the country.

When asked what children in Greece need most right now, Martinou highlighted that Greek children need support to realize their dreams for the future. “What the children of Greece need most are equal opportunities to create the future that they envision,” she states.

In order to help Greek children reach their full potential, the organization aims to support vulnerable young ones by “ensuring that their basic needs are met,” Martinou told Greek Reporter.

This can come in the form of nutritious food to support their healthy development, medical equipment and treatment, educational tools and support for e-learning, and counseling, all of which Together for Children offers to Greek youth in need through its “holistic approach” to supporting kids.

Credit: Together for Children

Together for children supports Greek youth in need

Together for Children is particularly active in the lives of children in rural and borderland communities, such as those who live in the region of Evros, located along Greece’s northeastern border with Turkey.

Through its program “Equal Opportunities for Children: Actions for Health and Education in Borderland Areas of Greece,” Together for Children has supported “more than 2,000 children and 45 schools in Evros,” Martinou tells Greek Reporter.

This work sadly became particularly necessary in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, which brought not just the threat of illness, but also economic, psychological, and educational stress to families across Greece and the world.

In hopes of combating these disastrous impacts of the pandemic on children, Together for Children has donated over 470,000 euros’ worth of medical equipment to fourteen Greek hospitals, equipping “intensive care units throughout the country with the necessary machinery to treat patients suffering from COVID-19,” Martinou related with pride.

This donation came last year, a time when Greece’s intensive care units were near capacity, overwhelmed by the sheer number of patients with the coronavirus requiring intensive treatments, such as intubation.

Together for Children in Evros. Credit: Together for Children

Anxiety over the virus, sadness at the loss or illness of a loved one, and separation from friends and family due to lockdowns have led to mental health crises such as depression among many, especially young children, whose routines have been seriously altered by the pandemic.

Together for Children offers a free counseling service to adults and adolescents through its 115 25 Helpline, which operates from Monday to Friday, 9 AM to 9 PM.

This necessary service “provides relief to the population,” Martinou noted to Greek Reporter, and Together for Children continues to stream free counseling seminars online, helping an even wider audience cope with mental health struggles that have come to the fore during the pandemic.

Covid-19 has also had severe economic consequences for many people. As states and economies shut down last year in an attempt to curb the spread of the virus, many in Greece were left to struggle financially.

Recognizing this widespread phenomenon, Martinou said that the charity gave nearly 100,000 euros “to families that were severely affected by the restrictive measures in place during the COVID-19 pandemic,” and even provided coupons for basic goods at groceries stores to 119 families to cover their needs throughout lockdown.

Despite the organization’s impressive work in response to Covid-19, Together for Children has also faced its own difficulties due to the pandemic, especially in the essential area of fundraising.

“Together for Children does not receive any state or European grants and is supported exclusively by corporate and private sponsorships, revenues from corporate social responsibility programs, and the organization of charitable events,” Martinou told Greek Reporter.

As these fundraising events, integral to supporting Together for Children’s mission, were  cancelled last year due to Covid-19 restrictions, the NGO had to get creative in a hurry to secure the necessary funding to support children in Greece.

In order to continue their efforts to help youth around the country, Together for Children moved their fundraising efforts online, focusing on virtual crowdfunding.

The charity even conducted a virtual jewelry auction with help from Christie’s Auction House.

These virtual appeals for support have broadened the organization’s network, enabling the organization to spread its objective to help all children in Greece to “supporters beyond our geographical boundaries, such as the Greek-American community,” Martinou stated to Greek Reporter.

Those looking to help Greek kids in need can support Together for Children’s mission by donating and spreading the word about the organization’s work for children and families in Greece, which is more critical now than ever.

Together for Children has also launched a fundraising campaign to help support families impacted by the pandemic over the holidays called “Mazi stis Giortes,” or “Together for the Holidays.”

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