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Greece: Supporting families at a time of crisis

Greece: Supporting families at a time of crisis

Vanessa and her young son Christophe are just one family which has benefited immensely as a result of the vital work we are doing for those stricken by financial hardship in Greece. Find out how we have stepped up the effort during this time of crisis and what you can do to help...

After Vanessa split up with her husband, she became deeply depressed and found it difficult to cope with the challenges of bringing up her son Cristophe. By the time he reached Year 5 of primary school, Christophe was struggling to keep up with his peers and often misbehaving in class.

Despite her depression, Vanessa tried her best to overcome the obstacles she faced and create a better life for herself and her son. Our team in Athens believed that we could offer the support Vanessa needed to get her life back on track and help Christophe get the best out of school.

We gave Vanessa counselling to help her overcome the emotional difficulties her broken marriage had left her with, as well as financial support to help her buy the clothes and food she and Christophe needed for a decent life. We also assisted with her electricity and heating bills to help her get back on her feet.

As for Christophe, we made sure he received the behavioural and academic help Vanessa had for so long been asking for. Now, Christophe is supported at school and at home - and he is progressing in leaps and bounds! Vanessa is a lot happier too, and is beginning once again to take charge of her own life and provide the caring environment Christophe so badly needs.

Increasing pressure on families in a stricken country

In Greece today, SOS Children supports 844 families like this. Three years ago, at the beginning of the government-debt crisis, this number was as low as 90 families. As economic times get harder, more and more people are turning to SOS Children for help. We expect to support increasing numbers of families as the economy continues to struggle, and we have two further support programmes in the pipeline for the coming years.

Parents, children and communities alike desperately need the counselling, educational support and financial help SOS Children provides across Greece. As families buckle under the pressure, other forms of support are needed as well. Private sector salaries have decreased by 40% in the last three years, while taxation has gone up by a third.

This means that even everyday essentials, including staple foods such as pasta, milk and cooking oil, are becoming increasingly hard to finance. In order to help people survive from one day to the next, SOS Children is providing more than 2,500 people with vital food, drink and clothes, as well nappies and sustenance for babies.

Given the extreme hardship the country is experiencing, SOS Children in Greece is coming under increasing financial pressure itself as more children and more families need the unique set of resources we offer. Our two social centres in Athens and the key northern city of Thessaloniki (Salonica) are struggling with high and increasing demand for food from desperate families. Nevertheless, with the help of our supporters, we look forward to continuing to deliver much-needed support to thousands of Greek children and families.

Find out how you can help the most vulnerable people in an afflicted country at this time of hardship...