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The closure of the Balkans route in 2016, followed by the Turkey-EU deal, led to thousands of refugee children and their families being stranded. Many refugees struggle to access essential services, thus affecting the children’s well-being and access to education remains a challenge. We use psychosocial activities, counselling, safe shelter and non-formal education to provide children with the support and protection they need.

What we do

Child Protection

We are working in four refugee sites and various urban accommodations in Ioannina and Thessaloniki. Our teams organise psychosocial and recreational activities for the children and provide individual support to children in need of protection. We also offer advice, raise the families’ awareness of child protection issues and inform them of their rights. Providing  daily activities for the children helps to restore a sense of normality in their lives despite the harsh living conditions and uncertainty about the future. We also provide extremely vulnerable families with safe and dignified accommodation and support them in  accessing all services they need.

Educational support

We are supporting children in refugee camps and various urban locations in the Epirus region where we provide educational activities. These are funded by the European Commission and provided through the partnership with the University of Ioannina in order to maintain or improve the school level of children thus enabling them to  integrate into the formal education system in Greece when the opportunity arises. Innovative equipment to enhance the educational experience is provided by our partner Libraries without Borders.

Activities for refugees in the Balkans

We operate in Serbia through our local partner Novi Sad Humanitarian Centre. Thanks to our child-friendly space for children and mothers, we organise recreational activities for children and offer not only material and psychological support to anyone who needs it, but also legal information. In partnership with the Bulgarian Red Cross, Tdh Albania and Open Gate La Strada, we have set up a regional project which covers the border countries of Greece (Albania, Macedonia, Bulgaria). This project allows us, among other things, to keep an eye on the movement of people and of migrant children in order to prepare us with a contingency plan in the event of an emergency.

Basic necessities

The living conditions in the camps were very precarious throughout 2016 and during the winter months of 2017. We helped the families by distributing basic necessities, such as bedding and kitchen kits, isolating material to protect them in winter and hygiene items. We were also involved in security repairs in the camps (repairs to  the electric system, replacement of fire extinguishers etc.) with the aim of improving living conditions.

"We support children with protection concerns and their families in a multidisciplinary manner, which includes education, medical, legal, accommodation, and psychosocial support services, in order to build their strengths."

Ilias Varelakis, Case Management Team Leader in Thessaloniki


Voices of refugee children in Greece

Terre des hommes in Greece

Beneficiaries in 2016:


Expatriate / national staff:

15 / 94

Budget 2017:

CHF 5'612'000.-

Where we work:

Derveni Alexyl, Derveni Hope,  Filippiada, Doliana, Konitsa, Ioannina and Thessaloniki

Local partners:

ARSIS, University of Ioannina, Libraries without Borders, Translators without Borders


Where we work

Supported by


March 2016
Closure of the ''Balkan route'' and start of intervention of Tdh in the informal camp of Eidomeni in Northern Greece.
May 2016
Evacuation of Eidomeni and start of activities of Tdh in the Thessaloniki emergency reception sites.
July 2016
Start of a regional migration project with border countries (Albania, Bulgaria and Macedonia).
October 2016
Start of activities of the project funded by the European Commission in Epirus in the areas of child protection and non-formal education.
January 2017
Launching of the project funded by the European Commission in the region of Thessaloniki in the areas of child protection and psychosocial support.

Latest news

See all...

Linked publications

FabLab: An innovation space for refugees
Infographic: non-formal education activities in Greece
Greece: Protective apartments in Epirus
Greece: Psychosocial support
Making an impact for children: Annual Report 2017

Linked publications