In the context of Emergency Appeal Programs, CH has offered substantial material support to refugee camps and shelters in Athens, Northern Greece and the islands to improve living conditions in common spaces and provide Non-Food Items directly to beneficiaries upon request of the official site coordination mechanisms. During 2017, CH has delivered and distributed thousands of items and upgraded facilities and the living conditions in dozens of cases. CH has provided to thousands of beneficiaries personal hygiene kits, baby kits, baby slings and trolleys, back packs, clothing, pillows, linen, cooking pots and pans, drying racks, dozens of orthopaedic related NFIs and other.
CH has also provided WASH equipment such as chemical toilets, shower cabins and water tanks in Northern Greece and had the responsibility of regular provision of potable and non-potable water in Souda camp in Chios before its closure in the autumn of 2017. Other important interventions include ad hoc improvement of living conditions interventions such as the installation of lamp posts, a sewage pump, a children’ playground or benches and small scale hygiene interventions such as disinfestations in camps, provision of lotion for scabies, anti-lice treatments and other.
Social and Solidarity economy – ELBA
Over the last years and especially since the beginning of the Greek financial crisis, the idea of Social and Solidarity economy has become increasingly appealing to parties interested in providing viable solutions with a social impact through Social Entrepreneurship. Caritas Hellas has embraced this vision and it is gradually becoming an active agent in the development of social and solidarity initiatives across Greece. Part of this vision is expressed by the involvement in the ELBA project that is now in its second phase (2016-2018) and it is focused on social entrepreneurship as an emergency response to the labour crisis in the Balkan area.
The overall management of the project is provided by the Elba Steering Group, that is the “coordinating body” where all the Caritas involved in the project will be involved (7 South East Europe Caritas and 4 Western Caritas).
The main activities of the project include a) Educational program for the Local Coordinators, the Social Entrepreneurs and the Local Churches b) Feasibility Study for an Antipoverty School/School for Social Economy c) Accompaniment and support to existing Social Enterprises d) Technical support and counselling to existing Social Enterprises e) Economical support (grants) for Social Enterprises f) Regional animation and awareness raising g) National animation, lobby and awareness raising and h) Communication/dissemination, monitoring and evaluation for Elba 2.
As part of the ELBA project, in Greece there have already been established three new social economy initiatives (an NGO in the field of solidarity tourism, a social cooperative for the handcrafts of children with special abilities and a commercial application of speech therapy software), while another impressive 134 applications are being considered from the last tender call.
Care For The Poor And Socially Excluded Families In Greece: “LOVE & OFFER”
In the context of the Greek financial crisis, Caritas Hellas mobilized volunteers in 9 Diocesan Caritas all over Greece in order to implement a major material support programme, funded by the prestigious Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF). Following the establishment of beneficiary selection criteria (poverty index, vulnerability, social exclusion etc.) through the OSPOweb™ software, Caritas Hellas empowered approximately 600 families to improve their living conditions providing them basic food and non-food items, assisting beneficiaries who were not covered by the social security system or who had a very low income and thus couldn’t afford the cost of their medicines, and supporting beneficiaries who were unable to pay for their rent or their electricity and/or water bills. Moreover, through this program, counselling, support and guidance was offered to beneficiaries through the reinforcement of the local Caritas network and its community of volunteers. This program concluded in December 2017.
OSPOweb™ & The Poverty Observatory
LISTEN OBSERVE DISCERN
Supported by Caritas Italiana, Caritas Hellas has utilised the OSPOweb™ database in order to develop the National Poverty Observatory (Osservatorio Povertà), creating, at the same time, “Listening and Counselling Centres” though the Diocesan Caritas Network. The OSPOweb™ Database is an indispensable tool, designed to accumulate, in an organised way, valuable beneficiaries’ information aiming at assessing their needs and enabling systematic follow-up for case management. The “Listening & Counselling Centres” on the diocesan & parish level, along with the use of the OSPOweb™ Database strengthens Caritas Hellas network by improving communication and visibility, by building capacity through training seminars, by promoting networking and partnerships and by raising awareness on poverty.
Responding to disasters and providing support to communities is an integral part of Caritas Hellas work. Its international network and knowhow as well as the ability to mobilise emergency resources allows Caritas Hellas to respond immediately in natural disasters. In 2017 Caritas Hellas was amongst the first organisations that responded to the floods in Mandra Attikis. The provision of food & non-food items, the rental of mud removal & waste management equipment and the coordination of infrastructure works, were part of Caritas Hellas contribution to the affected area.