Medical and Social Support of Roma, Alikarnassos, Heraklion
Our team of volunteers in Crete, intervened providing primary care for the Roma children in the surrounding area of Heraklion in Crete, with the cooperation of local health care structures as well as the cooperation of the Ministry of Health. The team of volunteers comprised of doctors, nurses, social workers, and other health professionals.
Team was mainly occupied in the Roma camp of Alikarnassos municipality, the largest Roma camp in the Inland of Crete. The population of the camp was recorded as well as their needs for medical care, use of health care structures, level of living, illiteracy level etc. The children in the camp were not only recorded but vaccinated as well.
Apart from Alikarnassos camp, our intervention included and smaller Roma groups living within the Helaklion municipality.
Social Support Program for Roma Populations in Patras
From December 2006 to June 2007, a program of social support, remedial teaching and health education for children of socially vulnerable groups was implemented in the city of Patras.
The intervention team comprised two teachers and a social worker. The classroom was granted by the Metropolis of Patras and the program was funded by the Ministry of Health.
The program benefited Roma and immigrant children from eastern countries with the aim to help them integrate smoothly into the student community; it also involved parents, since beneficiaries were families with major economic and social problems that needed particular and targeted support.
Specifically, the target group was children of the 57th Primary School of Patras, who, according to the teachers, lagged in some lessons and needed learning support. There was also a creative component delivered by the social worker (with team games, health education) twice a week.
During the program’s implementation, parents were being interviewed and getting acquainted to the program, with the aim to maintain all the relevant files and fully understand the family’s problems. By the end of this intervention, participating children were showing willingness to participate and experienced significant improvement in both their school performance and their behavior, compared to before the start of the program when there were serious deficiencies in elementary level school skills (reading, writing, spelling).
Social Intervention to students in Elementary School in Patras Municipality
The program was implemented in 2007 within the premises of the 23rd Primary School of Patras, with the following objectives:
- Relieving children from the stress and pressure of school
- Obtaining a team spirit
- The expression of feelings
- Their adaptation to school environment
- The acceptance of diversity
- The normalization of relations between them
- Mobilizing them for responsible action
The actions carried out to achieve the above objectives were information, creative engagement, role playing, exercises that promote teamwork and play.
The classes chosen for the function of the groups were the 1st class, to help the children to adapt to school and its requirements, and the 6th class, in order to allow them express their feelings about the upcoming rearrangements and modalities in their lives after the end of elementary school.
Meetings were held with the students’ parents who participated in the groups in order to inform them about the aims and way of working of the program and to exchange information concerning the children.
The collaborations that were developed with the aim of implementing various activities, programs and interventions were with the following agencies:
- KDAY, for information on learning disabilities
- Directorate of Welfare of the Prefecture of Achaia & IKA for matters of insurance and benefits
- Development Municipal Enterprise of Patras (ADEP), which helped to stage a theatrical performance on the theme “The Carnival of the Little Ones”
- Greek Red Cross (food for low-income families during Easter)
- Organization Against Drugs (OKANA): information within the school about drugs
- Cultural Association of Zavlani: update
- Association of Parents and Guardians of the school
- Municipality of Patras for information and provision of information about its services
Supportive Education, Agios Fanourios
The program was implemented in 2007 at the Spiritual Center of Agios Fanourios, in the Gouva area of Patras. The intervention team consisted of two teachers and one social worker. The target group concerned children from vulnerable social groups (gypsies, immigrants) of the 57th Primary School in the Gouva area of Patras.
Remedial Teaching/ Tutoring
Two separate groups were created, depending on the age and educational level of the children. Classes were held every day, from Monday to Friday.
Health education courses
In this intervention, health education and good behavior classes were held. With help by the pediatricians of the University General Hospital of Rio, the children’s medical booklets were checked for any deficiencies in the vaccinations. In collaboration with the Dental Association of Patras, toothpaste, toothbrushes, and informative material were distributed to the children and relevant lessons were offered. The lessons on personal hygiene, proper nutrition and good behavior were completed and were particularly successful, as the children involved showed a warm interest.
As part of the social intervention, parents were interviewed, with the aim of getting to know them, obtaining social history and background information, discussing their family problems and assisting them in resolving these. As it emerged from the interviews, the children’s parents either worked and did not have time to be with them or were illiterate. Nevertheless, in general, the target group families showed willingness to cooperate.
Intervention for Vulnerable Groups, Vrachnaiika Municipality
This program was implemented in 2007 within the area of the Roma camp in the Municipality of Vrachnaika where approximately 60 families live.
The interventions for children concerned their preparation and adaptation to their school environment, their exposure to Greek language, expression of feelings, the acceptance of cultural diversity and gaining a team spirit.
There were three groups of children, according to their age, their school attendance and their knowledge of Greek: children who had attended school and had basic knowledge, children who had not attended school at all and had no basic knowledge, and children at kindergarten, in order to be helped and motivated to enroll in school at the start of the new school year.
Regarding the interventions for women, women’s groups were created with the aim of providing information on issues related to their personal hygiene and the health of their children, the benefits to which they are entitled by the state, their mobilization to enroll their children in school, as well as discussing with a gynecologist in order to address gynecological issues that concerned them.
The collaborations that were developed in order to implement various activities of the program were with the following bodies:
- Municipality of Vrachnaika, to update and provide information about its services. Assistance to provide a container at the camp site.
- Vrachnaika Primary School and the school’s director, to provide desks for the Greek language classes.
- A group of students of the 1st TEI of Patras of the Department of Social Work and the professor Ms. Konstantinas Georgiou for the purpose of collaboration.