25th May: International Missing Children’s Day
Athens, 25 May 2022
25th May: International Missing Children’s Day
“The Smile of the Child” presented the broad and comprehensive range of services it provides to every child that goes missing thanks to joining forces with the co-responsible Ministries, institutions and multiple other private and volunteer bodies.
Emphasis was placed on technology and the tools it provides for locating every child that is missing, while the Andreas Yannopoulos Award was delivered to the Technology for Children Team of the Organization, which consists of the largest IT companies in the country and worldwide like META FACEBOOK etc.
The Draft Law for the prevention and management of children going missing, prepared by the Organization, was presented and dedicated to Fofi Gennimata.
In the 1st quarter of 2022, out of the 69 missing children that “The Smile of the Child” searched for, 37 were girls aged 13 - 18.
In the 1st quarter of 2022, 49 of the 69 missing children that “The Smile of the Child” searched for were found.
Under the coordination of journalist Ms. Alexandra Kapeletzi and for the 18th year in a row, “The Smile of the Child” presented at Zappeion Megaron the actions and services it provides across the country, for free, to every child that goes missing and her/ his family, as well as to every adult aged 18 to 60 who is missing and is in direct danger.
In the presence of the Minister for Climate Crisis and Civil Protection Mr. Christos Stylianides, Mr. Heracles Moskoff, Special Secretary for the Protection of Unaccompanied Minors at the Ministry of Migration and Asylum, Mr. Georgios Stamatis, General Secretary for Social Solidarity and the Fight against Poverty, Ms. Nantia Giannakopoulou, Parliamentary Representative of PASOK-Movement for Change, Regional Governor of Attica Mr. Georgios Patoulis, as well as the Hellenic National Defense General Staff, the Hellenic Police, Coast Guard, Fire Brigade, National Emergency Aid Center (EKAV), Municipal Police from all over Greece, and other bodies that are institutionally and operationally involved in the management of every incident of disappearance, the President of the Organization, Mr. Costas Yannopoulos, thanked the attendees for their presence and stressed that everything that was announced showcases our country internationally as a pioneer in the field.
Aiming at the institutionalization of a framework of action for all competent bodies, public, private and voluntary, "The Smile of the Child", honoring the promise made to Fofi Gennimata, presented the Draft Law that it prepared, with the participation of jurists, for the prevention and management of cases of missing persons in our country. The Draft Law will be submitted to the Speaker of the Parliament, Mr. Tasoulas, who has committed to forwarding it to the competent parliamentary bodies. Based on the model of other countries, the ultimate goal of the Organization is to institutionalize the procedures followed in each disappearance by all those involved and eventually to be more effective as a society.
The husband of the late Fofi Gennimata, Mr. Andreas Tsounis, was present, he followed the presentation with emotion, and stated:
“"Fofi Gennimata maintained a close relationship with "The Smile of the Child". She helped in all capacities acquired through central politics and self-government, sometimes publicly and openly, sometimes without publicity. I remember as if it were today the working meeting of the bodies and services of Social Care and Solidarity for the Child, which took place in this same place when Fofi was at the Ministry of Health in 2010. She stressed at the time, when the problem of the economic crisis and unaccompanied minors was still in its infancy, that at a time when modern dangers threaten children, priority should be given to supporting families and minors. She conveyed her thoughts to Mr. Yannopoulos, which are included in the Draft Law on the incidents of missing children. For my part, I have only one thing to say. Not only should "The Smile of the Child" not cease to exist, but it must become bigger, wider, each day”.
Special emphasis was given by Mr. Costas Yannopoulos to the role played by technology in the services provided by the Organization, thanking from the bottom of his heart the companies that actively participate in the Technology for Children Team, which has been established by "The Smile of the Child" and which provides free of charge services, technology and the necessary innovative systems.
“A key role is also played by social media, which as stated at the meeting by Ms. Claudia Trivilino, Public Policy Manager, Italy and Greece | Facebook Meta: "We are proud to work with "The Smile of the Child".
“We develop tools such as Get Digital with the aim of educating new Internet users, as well as of course teachers and parents, and of course we work closely together in every crisis as well as in the Amber Alert. We are grateful to be with you today”.
Participants in the technological upgrade of all the services of the Organization are the Ministry of Digital Governance, through the Smile Net Program, but also the Ministry for Climate Crisis and Civil Protection with the activation in our country of the SMS Amber Alert and the interconnection of the European Hotline for Missing Children 116000 and the National Hotline for missing adults 1017 with the European Emergency Number 112.
Special mention was made to the Missing Alert App, which was designed pro bono by the OTE Group for "The Smile of the Child" and which, absolutely free of charge, is available to all subscribers in order to be informed and to inform about incidents of missing children and adults who are missing and at risk.
As well as to the Missing Alert Protocol Program, introduced by "The Smile of the Child" in our country in cooperation with the competent bodies and which is, following the model of the Herbert Protocol of England, an integrated service with the main objective of preventing and dealing in a timely manner with cases of missing people suffering from disorders or at high risk of going missing. Immediately, within the framework of the Smile Net Program and with the cooperation of the Ministry of Digital Governance, a tracking service will be provided for people at high risk.
The awarding of the Search and Rescue Team "Thanassis Makris" of “The Smile of the Child" by the Coast Guard and the representative of the Chief, Rear Admiral Mr. Drosos Reizis, was particularly moving. The Award was received by Mr. George Makris, the father of the late Thanassis who passed away prematurely, and was an official of the Coast Guard and member of the Team,.
Mr. Costas Yannopoulos stated:
"First of all, I would like to thank from the bottom of my heart all those who are here. Their presence honors us, empowers us and highlights the only goal that the Smile has had for 26 years, which is to serve children by supporting the institutions. I want to dwell on the positive, which is that the majority of children who go missing in our country are found immediately. This is thanks to cooperation. Thanks to the 154 members of Amber Alert Hellas that in every disappearance we join forces and the details of the missing child become known from one end of the country to the other, thanks to police officers, prosecutors and others who methodically perform their work on the frontline. HOWEVER, for every child that goes missing or is about to go missing, we must create a certified and institutionalized protection framework and this is what we have done with the Draft Law that we prepared in memory of Fofi Gennimata, who was interested deeply and away from publicity.
I would also like to thank the technology companies of our country and their executives, who actively participate in the Technology for Children Team that we have established and thanks to whom "The Smile of the Child", and through us the institutional bodies as well, have at our disposal the latest technology to serve children and meet their needs. The Andreas Giannopoulos Award, which we give today to the members of the Team, is for us the ultimate way to express our gratitude.
I would like to thank Minister Stylianides, who is always by our side and shares common visions and goals of substance, the Deputy Minister for Sports, Mr. Avgenakis, who with his message showed that when seemingly disparate bodies join forces they offer to society, as for example with the blood donations we co-organized, with the participation of Super League teams in the Amber Alert and others.
At this point, I must also thank the Ministries of Finance, National Defense, Education and Religious Affairs, Health, Citizen’s Protection, the Ministry of Justice, Interior, for our excellent cooperation and the tangible positive results it has for children in our country.
I also thank Ms. Claudia Trivilino, Public Policy Manager, Italy and Greece of Facebook Meta, who trusts us and traveled to be with us today, to talk about our cooperation for the benefit of children.
I would also like to thank the Hellenic National Defense General Staff, the Hellenic Police, Coast Guard, Fire Brigade, the National Emergency Aid Center (EKAV), who fight daily for every child in danger, and the Municipalities that are with us today and demonstrate how important their participation is.
Finally, I would like to thank the heads of the international organizations and partners with whom "The Smile of the Child" collaborates and who today, by sending their own message, highlighted our country as one of the states that thanks to cooperation provides effective services to children who go missing. Thanks to these collaborations we have learned a lot and we are now innovating.
We continue, without any deviation, our work, which is to provide care to children in need!”
The Minister for Climate Crisis and Civil Protection stated:
"I would like to congratulate "The Smile of the Child" for all that it has done over the years to locate missing children. International experience has shown us that the disappearance of individuals is a kind of emergency, which requires the cooperation of all. The quick provision of information is perhaps the factor that makes the difference in the fast search for missing persons. That is why in Greece the European Emergency Number 112 is interconnected with the National Helpline SOS 1056 and the European Hotline for Missing Children 116000. This year, we are expanding our cooperation with "The Smile of the Child" and we are launching the connection of the European Emergency Number 112 with two more telephone numbers: the National Hotline for Missing Adults 1017 and the European Helpline for Children 116111. The protection of our children is a top priority for our government, for our society. It is one of the values that characterize us as Greeks and as Europeans. Only together, ALL TOGETHER, together we can bring results. To protect children."
Representing the "Technology for Children Team", the Andreas Giannopoulos Award was received by Mr. George Vlastos, Group ICT & Operations Director, National Bank of Greece, which also coordinates the Team's action.
"The Smile of the Child" would like to warmly thank Euroins, sponsor of the Event, the Photoshop Company for the photographic coverage, and the Lilipoupoli School for once again being with us!
Watch the event https://youtu.be/U7dwvmAMbk4
Download the photo material https://photos.app.goo.gl/qWiPgzHLLKnh4E539
Watch the address of Deputy Minister for Sports, Mr. Lefteris Avgenakis https://youtu.be/KDvIf6nP8ug
Download the international statistics https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1Ga4TdeDggooT9W4OIHxX8x0xIDTGHzdN?usp=sharing
Download the official statistics of “The Smile of the Child” https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1Ga4TdeDggooT9W4OIHxX8x0xIDTGHzdN?usp=sharing
Download the official statistics of the Hellenic Police https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1Ga4TdeDggooT9W4OIHxX8x0xIDTGHzdN?usp=sharing
Download the Draft Law https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1Ga4TdeDggooT9W4OIHxX8x0xIDTGHzdN?usp=sharing
Download the presentation of Mr. Costs Yannopoulos https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1Ga4TdeDggooT9W4OIHxX8x0xIDTGHzdN?usp=sharing