Missing Out: the youngest refugees must have access to safe space and education

5th April 2021 | Athens, Greece

We speak a lot about the refugee crisis... the conditions, the human rights violations, the hardship. But how does all this affect the littlest people on the move? How is all this experienced by young children?

It is widely recognised just how formative the early years are on a child’s development. Yet in Greece, failing state services and EU support is putting thousands of children’s physical, social, emotional and cognitive development at risk. Here, society violates children’s rights on a daily basis and community initiatives are only partially able to mitigate these adverse consequences.

Since the pandemic began, many families have left the Greek islands for the mainland. Yet with a shortage of housing, many families are met with homelessness and uncertainty.

At Action for Education, we continue to search for ways to support children’s resilience as they face these adverse conditions. We strive to improve their developmental and educational outcomes. With family populations on the rise in Athens, this year we are taking key steps to promote healthy family relationships and to provide access to quality early childhood education

Next month, we are opening a new Nest in Athens. Through our program, we aim to provide children with the support and safety they need to develop and learn. By creating opportunities for parents to play with their children and facilitating a space with pedagogically chosen materials, we lay the foundation for a strong and healthy attachment. This not only has significant benefits for the child’s social, emotional and cognitive development, but also for the parents’ sense of well-being and self-efficacy.

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