Presenting a new centre set up in Athens to house unaccompanied children that enter Greece as migrants, Alternate Minister for Migration Policy Tasia Christodoulopoulou on Tuesday praised the initiative by the Ioannis. S. Latsis Foundation and the non-governmental organisation 'Praksis'.
At a press conference, Christodoulopoulou said that there were now 18 youngsters housed at the shelter, which has been operating in Athens' Ano Petralona neighbourhood for roughly a month, while another 99 unaccompanied children were being held in detention centres throughout Greece because facilities to house them were lacking.
The construction of the shelter was financed by the Latsis Foundation, which has also undertaken to cover its running costs until the ministry manages to secure funding from the European Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund.
"I think this is a very important and symbolic initiative that must be mimicked by others, since the state in its current condition depends greatly on individuals and foundations to finance such structures to help the children," the minister stressed.
She expressed hope that money will soon be secured from Europe to allow Greece to provide at least basic conditions of hospitality for refugees, adding that protection of minors will be a priority.
The new centre has the capacity to receive 24 children, who are referred to it from the National Centre for Social Solidarity on the basis of orders issues by a public prosecutor. It currently houses 18 boys aged 13 to 17 years old, chiefly from Afghanistan and Syria.