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Terre des hommes has been working in Greece and the Balkans to protect thousands of children and their families seeking refuge in Europe. Having fled war and in fear of their lives, they are in great need of support when they reach our borders. We offer them counselling, basic necessities and protection services.

The situation in Greece

The migrant situation in the Balkans has seen dramatic changes since the beginning of 2016. The closure of the Balkans route, followed by the deal between Turkey and the European Union, has set new challenges for thousands of refugee children and their families who, from one day to the next, found themselves stranded in Greece, Macedonia or Serbia. In Greece, most of them are living in appalling conditions, which affects the children’s physical and mental health, and their access to education and protection remains a challenge.

What we do

Child Protection

We are working in the following camps: Petra Olympou, Derveni Alexyl, Derveni Hope, Kalochori, Epirus region. Each of our teams has psychologists, social workers and interpreters. We organise psychosocial and recreational activities for the children and provide 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.

Basic necessities

The living conditions in the camps are very precarious. We help the families by distributing basic necessities, such as bedding kits, isolating material to protect them in winter and hygiene items. We are also involved in reparations for security (reparation of the electric system, replacement of fire extinguishers etc.) in the camps aiming at improving living conditions.

Educational support

We are supporting children in refugee camps 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 to keep or improve the school level of children so they can integrate in the formal education system in Greece when they will have the opportunity.

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 material and psychological support to anyone who needs it, as well as judicial information. In partnership with the Bulgarian Red Cross, we have set up a regional project which covers the border countries of Greece (Albania, Macedonia, Bulgaria). This project allows us, amongst others, to maintain a surveillance over the movement of people and of migrant children in order to prepare us with a contingency plan in the case of emergency.

“We have set up new education equipment in Greece: The Ideas Box and KoomBook are both remarkable innovations. They are unique for children because the things they learn have an impact on the entire community.”

Barbara Schack, Director of Development, Libraries without Borders


Voices of refugee children in Greece

Terre des hommes in Greece

Beneficiaries in 2016:


Expatriate / national staff:

7 / 100

Budget 2016:

CHF 2'100'000.-

Where we work:

Petra Olympou, Thessaloniki, Derveni Alexyl, Derveni Hope, Kalochori, Epirus region

Local partners:

ARSIS, University of Ioannina


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

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Linked publications

Greece - Emergency Refugee Crisis
Making an Impact for Children: Annual Report 2015.
Courage No. 52 – Fleeing to save the children
Thematic Policy - Child Protection in Humanitarian Crises

Linked publications