The Hellenic Initiative (THI) is a global non-profit organization bringing together diaspora Greeks and philhellenes to invest in the future of Greece by creating programs that offer crisis relief as well as Greek entrepreneurship and economic development.
Most recently, it has partnered with SOS Children’s Villages and Together for Children to provide housing and health care for Ukrainian mothers and children who are refugees in Greece.
Greece currently houses around thirty thousand refugees from Ukraine. They have been forced to flee their country due to the war. Sixteen thousand of them now have residency permits. With the support of THI, SOS Villages, and Together for Children, the funding needed is now available to help Ukrainian refugees.
THI and Together for Children
Founded in 1996, Together for Children (TFC) serves as a parent organization for non-profit NGOs that annually assists more than thirty thousand children in need. With the 567 thousand dollar donation THI has provided, the funding of children’s social services can be continued. Funding is provided for food, toiletries, utility bills, diapers, baby milk, shoes, and clothing. TFC currently shelters twenty Ukrainian refugee mothers and children under the age of fifteen who live in downtown Athens.
“We saw how serious the humanitarian crisis was in Ukraine and our Board of Directors decided to intervene immediately to help the refugees who came to our country,” explained Sofia Kamareta, Program Manager, and Eleni Potamianou, Director of TFC.
“We found a space in Athens, repaired it, and prepared it as a guest house for twenty people—mothers and children—to help them get their bearings and to live with dignity,” Kamareta said.
TFC has also partnered with Medi, which it identified through its relationships with other NGOs, to operate the guest house. “It is vital for the children to survive this period,” emphasized Kamareta.
THI and SOS Children’s Villages
The second organization THI has teamed up with is SOS Children’s Villages, an NGO based in over 136 territories and countries. SOS’s purpose is to provide schooling, health care, and other community services to refugee families. SOS has worked in Greece since 1975. Today, it has created a program that supports over sixty Ukrainian refugee mothers and children. THI’s support will enable them to offer one hundred euros a month to forty-five out of the sixty mothers and children and another forty for clothing.
Most of the refugees from Ukraine have taken shelter at the homes of family and friends. Those who do not have any family or friends in Greece are able to live in SOS Villages, including in Vari. In addition, there are support groups for young mothers, and psychological counseling is provided. There are also integration programs along with liaising, specializing in building autonomy.
“THI came at a very important moment, and through their financial support, we can provide the material needs, [including] food and clothing because it’s good to heal their souls, but you must also feed the children,” George Protopapas, National Director of SOS, acknowledged.
“When THI officials visited the facilities, and they saw the babies in the arms of mothers, they could see that they werereally making a difference,” Protopapas said.
With the help of The Hellenic Initiative serving Greeks and others in need, both Together for Children and SOS Children’s Villages are now able to fulfil their individual missions more easily.