Giving children hope in times of hardship
Children everywhere should be protected from life’s hardships, and this is the ethos of the energetic Athens Charity Committee, whose main focus is children’s causes. Although Greece continues to experience economic turmoil, the Committee is determined to brighten up the lives of local children and ensure they continue to experience, happy, fun-filled times. Read how the Committee has recently boosted its fundraising and charitable activities in response to the tough climate and also helped another group of vulnerable people.
The Athens Charity Committee is one of Trafigura’s most active groups and is engaged locally in two important children’s organisations. As Greece grapples with its unstable economic future, Christiana Douman, who leads the local charity activities, remarks that children are ‘the hidden victims’ of financial crises, often overlooked and somewhat obscured.
Continued focus on children in times of crisis
Athens is focussing extra time and fundraising efforts towards its on-going relationship with SOS Villages, which creates loving homes for orphaned and abandoned children and ‘Together for Children’, an association made up of 10 children’s welfare groups which helps children and young people facing social exclusion, domestic violence, chronic disease or disabilities.
The broader effects of poverty on children
The focus of the local office is on making sure the kids can still have plenty of fun: Christiana explains why this is so important right now: “Poverty permeates every area of a child’s life; it affects their performance at school, in neighbourhoods and communities, and can damage them economically, materially, socially, and on a deep personal level. We are doing what we can to ensure that, despite the country’s hardships and social cuts, the children in SOS Villages and Together for Children are still properly provided for.”
“We are doing what we can to ensure that, despite the country’s hardships, children know that people care for them, and they are provided for.”
Ensuring ‘fun’ as well as funds
So far this year, the Athens Charity Committee has collected 38,000 USD in donations, and the fundraising effort is continuing through November. In addition, local Trafigura staff have offered practical support, particularly to SOS Villages, which required additional games and fun supplies for children in a nearby Village. Employees organised office donations of toys and books, an activity that not only raised awareness of the local children in need, but will go a long way to helping this dynamic Charity Committee reach its ambitious goals.
Solidarity in times of poverty
Christiana continues: “As Greece and the rest of Europe struggles with this passage of poverty what’s needed are new policies that promote improved social inclusion through affordable and accessible leisure activities. Far from being frivolous, these actually help children feel secure and get through the challenging transition points in their life: if countries did this, it will mean that what’s happening now won’t deeply affect our children’s future.”
We were very moved and admirative to also learn of the Athens office’s gesture towards refugees arriving in Greece (Samos), namely through the collection of medicine, hygiene and sanitary articles, baby milk, and more. Within less than a week, they managed to gather:
- 3 big boxes of Pampers plus another 45 pieces
- 40 packages wet wipes
- 50 packages baby milk and 30 cans of milk
- 80 bottles shampoo / bath gel
- 20 bottles Depon and 15 bottles Ponstan (pain relief medicine)
- 7 packages Amoxil (antibiotics)
- 5 packages Voltaren
- 15 Dactarin cream
- 15 Nurofen
- Depon pills
- 25 boxes Tobrex, Tobradex for eyes
- Plus another few bags with various medicine, pain reliefs and antibiotics
On the last Friday of August, these items were sent to Centre of Verification of Refugees in Samos which at that time counted approximately 500 people out of which 100 babies and small children.