Refugee and migrant children at risk receive medical and psychosocial support in Greece thanks to an EU-funded project run by ‘The Smile of the Child’

10 September 2019


Athens, 10 September 2019


Refugee and migrant children at risk receive medical and psychosocial support in Greece thanks to an EU-funded project run by ‘The Smile of the Child’


Ιn the framework of the PEDIA project, "The Smile of the Child", implementing partner of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), is ensuring the medical and psychosocial support of 600 refugee and migrant children. This action aims to provide support to refugee and migrant children exposed to any form of risk and will be implemented thanks to the financial contribution of the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) of the European Union.


The President of the Board of Directors of The Smile of the Child” Mr. Costas Yannopoulos said: ‘We are very pleased to partner with the International Organization for Migration in order to ensure the protection of refugee and migrant children and their families and improve their quality of life. Children need true care, love and quality support and the funding of the European Union allows us to continue our efforts to offer this support and address the needs of the children in a holistic and uninterrupted manner by utilizing the nationwide network of integrated services and longstanding experience in the field of child protection’.


In the framework of the project, ‘The Smile of the Child’ has been carrying out its activities from the 16th of March and will continue to do so until the 31st of December 2019.


More specifically the project’s activities are:

Support refugee/migrant infants and children (including pregnant or lactating women) with increased medical needs accommodated in apartments in Athens and Thessaloniki (e.g. provision of pediatric home treatment, medical and nursery care, physical therapy, psychosocial support and counselling, assistance in medical consultations and examinations, training of parents on how to handle medical issues of their children, transfers from/to hospitals)

Prevention and response services to violence against refugee/migrant children via the provision of telephone counselling and/or direct intervention in the field (24 hours a day/7 days a week, free of charge) to minors victims of violence, smuggling, trafficking and missing unaccompanied minors, in cooperation with all the competent national authorities.


“IOM welcomes the expansion of the collaboration with “The smile of the Child”, acknowledging the excellent ongoing cooperation in activities supporting vulnerable migrant children in Greece.  Through the PEDIA project, IOM and its partners are ensuring the immediate, safe accommodation and protection to unaccompanied children in Greece; through the cooperation with ‘The Smile of the Child’, the project will ensure the provision of qualified medical and psychosocial services to an additional number or vulnerable children, a further step towards the improvement of their living conditions”, said Gianluca Rocco, Chief of IOM mission in Greece.


The Project is implemented by two specialized teams based in Athens and Thessaloniki, respectively. The teams that have been set up within the Project are staffed with qualified personnel (social workers, physiotherapists, pediatricians, psychologists and nurses) and are active in the places of residence of refugee/migrant families with children with increased medical needs (apartments).


The specially trained professionals (line operators), along with the assistance of interpreters, receive the requests and the referrals and activate all available services and procedures for refugee/migrant minors in need.


The beneficiaries themselves and/or the professionals/organizations/individuals can address the requests/referrals by calling the following numbers (24 hours a day/7 days a week, free of charge) or by sending an e-mail:

National Helpline for Children SOS 1056 (
European Hotline for Missing Children 116000 (
European Helpline for Children & Adolescents 116111


The project succeeds the successful implementation of the “Direct and Holistic Medical and Psychosocial Intervention for Refugee and Migrant Children in Danger in Greece” project that was implemented by “The Smile of the Child” from the 1st of April 2018 to the 15th of March 2019 thanks to the funding of the European Commission's department for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO).  
For the implementation of the project the Organization will use its nationwide network of infrastructure and services comprising, among others, the Mobile Medical Units of Intensive Care for Children and Newborns, the Multi-medical Unit “Hippocrates” and other Mobile Medical Units, a Pediatric Care at Home Unit, the National Helpline for Children SOS 1056, the European Hotline for Missing Children 116000 and the European Helpline for Children & Adolescents 116111, all three interconnected with the 112 European Emergency Number, a number of specialised logistical tools (search and rescue vehicles, jeeps, radio networks, repeaters), a Mobile Command Center, the Crisis Management Center “ODYSSEAS”, a Disaster Recovery Area at the Athens International Airport, and the Search and Rescue Team “Thanasis Makris” with the participation of internationally certified canine teams.
For further information, please contact:
The Smile of the Child
Panos Pardalis
Tel. +30 210 33 06 140, mobile: +30 697 51 20 654


International Organization for Migration (IOM)
Christine Nikolaidou
Public Information Officer  
Tel. +210 30 99 19 040 ext. 248          


About ‘The Smile of the Child’

“The Smile of the Child”, in Greek «Το Χαμόγελο του Παιδιού», is a non-profit, non-governmental Greek Organization active in the critical field of child protection, support of children and families with children in need, as well as free public health service for children, both in prevention and treatment. The Organization was founded by a 10-year-old boy, Andreas Yannopoulos, before he succumbed to brain cancer in late 1995. In 23 years of operation, the Organization has supported more than 1.500.000 children and their families in the country.




About the International Organization for Migration (IOM)