In Greece, Unaccompanied Minor Refugees Fall through Service Gaps

In a fly-infested kitchen at the Thiva refugee camp about 50 miles from Athens, Greece, 16-year-old Fayaz slices up watermelon for a snack. Since arriving on Lesbos island, Fayaz has been shuttled through a series of facilities for unaccompanied minors operated primarily by NGOs—first on Lesbos, then in Athens, now in Thiva. “They’re on the cusp of becoming adults, and if you don’t have programs to help these boys, they are very, very vulnerable,” says Paul Spiegel, MD, director of the Center for Humanitarian Health at the Bloomberg School. 

"What is happening in Greece is that organizations and service providers focus mostly on the basic needs of children—shelter, food and medical care,” says Vasileia Digidiki, PhD, MSc, an author of the Harvard Center for Health and Human Rights’ 2017 study on migrant children in Greece.


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