Refugee and Migrant Children’s Perceptions of Access to Services in Accommodation Sites - Athens and Thessaloniki, Greece, March 2017

from UN Children's Fund, REACH Initiative
Published on 31 Mar 2017


More than 20,000 (or over one third) of Greece’s recent refugee and migrant population are children. The majority of them live outside accommodation sites (camps)2 and are accommodated in various places provided by the Greek government, UNHCR and (I)NGOs, including hotels, shelters and apartments.
Whilst access to basic services for this widely spread out population has been a major point of discussion among humanitarian actors for some time, little is known about the appropriateness of the services on offer and children’s perceptions of the services available to them.

By national/Greek law, children are entitled to education and healthcare irrespective of their legal status.
Yet, challenges in accessing these services remain. This is of particular concern, as basic services must respond to the needs of a highly heterogeneous group. Whether children are alone or with their families, their particular situations with regards to safety, health and livelihoods, and their different aspirations for the future, are all key elements to be considered when providing services.

REACH conducted this situation overview in the framework of a partnership with UNICEF, with the aim of assessing children’s awareness and use of services available to them, and whether they find these relevant. This situation overview presents children’s concerns and perceptions of the available services outside accommodation sites (camps), focusing on education, healthcare, protection and food. It finds that whilst children are aware of the basic services available to them, they reported that these services are insufficiently tailored to their needs and only covered the bare minimum.

Findings are presented in accordance with children’s priorities, reflecting how often they discussed a given service and concerns associated therewith. The most reported concerns were: education; health; food; and protection. For each of these, testimonies of children are added at the end of each section.