International sponsorships of SOS Children's Villages in western Europe, including Greece, have been phased out over time, as funding for SOS Children’s Villages in that part of the world has typically come from in-country sources.
In light of Greece’s difficult financial situation, however, SOS Children has made the decision to open for international Village sponsorships in two sites—at Plagiari and at Vari.
SOS Children in Greece for 35 years
Helping children in Greece since 1975, SOS Children has always adapted to local needs. During the 1999 earthquake, for instance, SOS staff worked in temporary aid camps helping child victims and their families overcome difficult circumstances.
The recent economic crisis in Greece is forcing families to seek help from SOS Children – and in many cases ask if their children could be taken into care. SOS Children in Greece has received 700-800 requests from families since the beginning of 2011 asking for help. Prior to the financial crisis, the most common reason for families and local authorities referring children to our care was due to child abuse. In the past year, nearly 100% of new referrals are as a result of a financial crisis in the family.
SOS Children's Village Plagiari, the first of the two Villages that will open to international sponsorships, is located in northern Greece in the small town of Plagiari, 12 miles east of Thessaloniki. In keeping with ancient regional traditions, the Children’s Village there has its own amphitheater. Because public transportation is convenient, SOS children attend local schools and are well-integrated into the community. Also about to receive sponsorships is SOS Children's Village Vari, located in a southern suburb of Athens. This SOS Children’s Village lies at the foot of Mount Hymettus and enjoys beautiful views of the Sarconic Gulf. SOS Children's Village Vari operates its own nursery, while older children attend Vari public schools.
Interim steps for Greece sponsorships
Sponsorships for these Villages will be available for a six-month period starting this month. In September 2012 SOS Children will evaluate the situation and determine whether to continue opening these Villages to international sponsors.
Because outreach for new sponsorships of SOS programmes in Greece ceased in 2003, SOS Children is now updating the information and processes needed for sponsorship services.
How you can help
To ensure children are being provided for in these tough economic times, why not consider taking out a Village sponsorship in Greece.Sponsor an SOS Children's Village in Greece