Press Release – DIAPLOUS for vulnerable women and children

Diaplous means safely crossing a sea area and four women with their three babies from North and Sub-Saharan Africa are the first to have already settled in the apartments, for vulnerable women, which started operating in Thessaloniki by ARSIS – Social Youth Support Organization, under the program “Diaplous”.

The program refers to vulnerable women, single mothers, victims of sexual or gender-based violence, who have sought asylum and are living in homelessness or precarious conditions.

The story of B. is a typical one. She is a young woman from sub-Saharan Africa who studied pedagogics and lives in Greece. From her student years, she participated forcefully in the movement for the rights of women in her country, as a result of which she was targeted by the authorities, arrested, subjected to physical abuse and received threats against her life. She continued to fight but received more frequent and more life-threatening warnings.

She decided to leave her country and after a journey full of difficulties arrived in Greece. She felt the need to make a new beginning by learning Greek and finding a job, ideally, as a teacher. She spends now her time teaching English to other refugees, well aware of the value of solidarity and education as a mean of social integration.

S. on the other hand faced a different kind of problems. She left her country of origin in the Middle East with her two children, as she suffered systematic domestic violence and the only way to stay alive, she says, was to go as far as she could. The welfare state of her country does not protect single mothers and the possibility of her children being taken away from her was very likely. She hopes to be recognized as a refugee and to continue living in Greece.

The “Diaplous” program provides a total of 77 accommodation places for vulnerable asylum seekers in Northern Greece. In addition to the action for vulnerable women (16 places), there are two other actions concerning unaccompanied minors living currently in Safe Zones and will be accommodated in apartments (46 places), as well as hosting unaccompanied minors aged 12- 18 in the shelter “House of ARSIS” (15 places).

The program aims to contribute to the wider issue of the lack of secure accommodation offered. The apartments have basic equipment, while specialized services are provided.

Specifically, the program offers psychological, psychosocial, legal and labour support services through individual and group counselling procedures in order to provide vulnerable asylum seekers with the conditions that will enable their smooth social integration into the Greek reality.

ARSIS – Social Organization for Youth Support implements “Diaplous” funded through the program Asylum and Immigration – EEC Grants 2014-2021 under the auspices of SOL-CROWE and HUMAN RIGHTS 360.

For more information, Maria Poutachidou, coordinator of the “Diaplous” program, telephone: 6971947978

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