Monica Culen gets a first picture of the environment

We cannot abandon children seeking protection in Greece!

11.March 2020

Children are the main beneficiaries of RED NOSES’ International work, whose mission is to bring laughter to people in need of joy. Every year, our organisation touches the lives of approximately 450,000 children, who benefit from child-friendly activities in environments where this would otherwise not happen.

We continue to advocate untiringly for the right of all children to play and to receive healthcare. Thus, we cannot close our eyes to the horrifying situation in Greece’s extremely debated and criticized refugee camps. The children there go through circumstances that are indeed dramatic beyond imagination!

We lament witnessing such a severe humanitarian crisis and we demand that the most vulnerable beings be protected immediately.

 

RED NOSES International demands that the refugee children seeking protection in Greece receive immediate support and be placed in child-friendly, safe environments. The children in the refugee camps on the Greek islands have to face fear, violence, danger, hunger and cold, this leading to lasting damage, both physically and mentally.

Even some of the last shelters designed for refugee children in Lesbos - for example the community centre “One happy family”, a social meeting place for their education and assistance - have been destroyed gradually.

“The children have had numerous traumatic experiences. These will consolidate and lead later to major problems. They need protection, emotional security and a child-friendly environment in order to survive and to deal with these negative experiences," says Monica Culen, CEO of RED NOSES International. ​​"We therefore demand that these children who are looking for protection are helped immediately and that they be placed in a child-friendly and safe environment!"

Natalie Porias, Deputy Managing Director of RED NOSES International, is familiar with the situation there herself: “I have already joined several missions abroad as we were reaching out to children seeking protection. In my opinion, the situation has never been as precarious and shocking as it is in the Moria camp on Lesbos. Noise, dirt, hopelessness and violence shape the everyday life of the children. They are children who are often all alone or whose parents can no longer take care of them."

RED NOSES has been to Greece many times since 2015 with several international clown teams. In 2019, we organised three missions on Lesbos and Samos. Therefore, we know the situation there first hand. The special focus of RED NOSES’ work with children in critical situations is on using humour to relieve traumatic fears and disorders, on offering humorous trainings on hygiene, discipline, non-violent behaviour and problem solving and on strengthening the self-confidence of these vulnerable groups. Furthermore, our emphasis is on child or youth-friendly access to play and on bringing a new zest for life and hope in a good future.

Many other humanitarian organisations have contributed immensely too, but their situation has become intolerable. They have to withdraw and abandon the children to their fate.