Last week we wrote about some of the ways Goodwill Caravan has assisted refugee children in going to school over the years through core Action Triangle of emergency protection projects. This week we are excited to share some of our future plans to identify disadvantaged children who out of school and support them, and their families, so that they can return to school and thrive.
We work directly with many refuges families throughout the year. Our aid distribution alone reached 30,362 refugees in 2021, including over 21,000 children. When these families first come to us, we conduct assessments to help identify any social, psychological, or medical needs. One issue that frequently comes up are the difficulties refugee children face in going to school, and we receive many requests every year to assist with enrolling children in local schools.
While school enrolment figures have recently improved in Greece, many refugee children still face challenges in attending. Last year, for example, 95% percent of refugees were enrolled, but, near the end of the school year, it was found that only 75% of these children were actually attending. Such problems are especially pronounced in the Athens area where schools are often oversubscribed and transportation to schools in other areas are unavailable.
In light of these ongoing challenges, GWC is hoping to begin a new program called FEED: Future Engagement, Education and Development – feeding the minds of displaced children. Our plans are to identify and assist around 100 displaced children who are currently out of school. By engaging with families through the assistance of translators and cultural mediators, GWC’s social workers will register them with the project and, in collaboration with the Greek Ministry of Education, will enrol the children in a suitable primary school. If the children are already enrolled but not attending, they will identify and address the barriers they face.
Our social workers will also track each child’s progress during the school year and, where needed, provide support to ensure they continue to attend school. To help achieve this, their parents will be encouraged to attend monthly workshops at our centre which will highlight the importance of education and provide information on how they can support their child’s learning. GWC will also provide children access to tutors and language books to help them integrate and catch up, allowing them to get the most from their time at school.
In cases where legal or medical barriers are identified, such as a lack of paperwork or vaccinations, then internal referrals will be made to other GWC projects. And where a lack of transport is identified as a significant barrier, free transport to school on GWC’s minibus will be provided.
Through your and others continuing support, we hope we can make these to plans to get kids back in school a reality. Thank you for your support!
Terre des Hommes Hellas, Save the Children and the Greek Council for Refugees, “Must do better: Grading the Greek government’s efforts on education for refugee children,”(July 2022) https://www.terredeshommes.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/07/Greece-Education-Scorecard-Report.pdf