The overall philosophy of a multi-functional social centre is to enable refugees and migrants to stay safe connected and informed. The MFC is a social centre that strives to provide a wide range of services and support to migrants in strengthening their ability to cope and manage their needs and overcome daily challenges.
The MFC works with a holistic approach that aims to build resilience and empower migrants to regain autonomy in everyday living. Additionally the MFC aims to help people to establish new networks among people in a similar situation, generating a sense of community, which may otherwise be difficult to obtain in urban settings. MFC arrange learning and recreational activities that help people feeling confidence and capable to integrate into a new society.
The MFC puts a great emphasis on psychosocial wellbeing. Psychosocial support emphasise on the social and psychological aspects of people’s lives. The term ‘psychosocial’ refers to the dynamic relationship between the psychological and social dimension of a person and how these interact. The psychological dimensions include internal, emotional feelings and reactions. The social dimensions include relationships, family and community networks, social values and cultural practices and focus on a resilience based approach for individuals and families.
The Hellenic Red Cross was founded on June 10, 1877 and subsequently recognized as part of the family of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. The largest humanitarian organization in Greece, HRC is committed to international humanitarian principles, providing humanitarian aid with impartiality regardless of gender, nationality, race, political opinions or religious beliefs. More information in the official website of Hellenic Red Cross http://www.redcross.gr/default.asp?pid=7&la=1.
The Social Welfare Division of the Hellenic Red Cross was established in 1964, with the aim of providing Social Services, in accordance with the principles and ethics of Social Work. The Social Welfare Division examines the social needs in order to design and implement programs to address modern social problems and protect vulnerable populations (long-term unemployed, single-parent families, people with disabilities, the homeless, immigrants, refugees, etc.).
Hellenic Red Cross through the Social Welfare Division operates the Multifunctional Centre for Refugees, a program located in two cities.
One is based in Athens to serve Central Athens intensively and the Attica region, while the other is set up in Thessaloniki to serve the urban area of the city and the Northern region of Greece. The philosophy of a multi-functional social centre targeting refugees and migrants has existed for more than 20 years. The Athens MFC has been functioning since 1997. The Thessaloniki MFC was established as an aftermaths to the” refugee crises” of 2015 and has been operational since end of November 2017.
WHAT WE DO
To secure an interdiciplanary holistic approach at the MFC an Employee Manual has been developed. The manual consists of all nessecary information on how the centre functions, Red Cross movement, values (RC, SWD and MFC), policies, organnogram, HR spesifics, volunteers, trainings (Cources, E-learning), workplace culture, leadership-style and obligations for both staff and management.
MFC ATHENS – SERVICES PROVIDED
Telephone Support and Information Line
The Hotline provides accurate, up-to-date information, guidance, support and advice in the mother tongue of refugees and migrants living in Greece. At the same time, interpretation and mediation are provided to public and private bodies, which come in contact with the refugee and immigrant population throughout Greece. The Telephone Line covers 12 languages and dialects.
Specialized staff provide personalized social services to refugees and migrants, helping them with their daily choices and helping them acclimatize to the host country. Beneficiaries can apply to the Social Service for material assistance, referrals for medical care, referrals for housing, enrollment in public schools and more.
Migrant Advice Bureau Service
The Migrant Advice Bureau Service is a legal information service that provides guidance and information on the different stages of the asylum process, the rights and obligations of refugees and migrants, the family reunification process, and the process of issuing public documents such as the tax number, the unemployment card, metro card, etc.
The social space is one of the vital spaces of the Center. The Reception and the Telephone Line Team help refugees and migrants by answering their questions. The Social Space is a place where migrants and refugees, in addition to their organized meetings with the Center’s Services, can enjoy free internet access, read a book or chat with a friend without an appointment. In the Social Space there is also the Children’s Corner, where parents can enjoy playing with their children and spend quality family time.
Greek and English language lessons
The program for learning Greek and English for adults is offered by specialized staff with experience in teaching adults in a multicultural context. Courses run for three months and the classes cover different levels (beginners, intermediate and advanced).
Psychosocial Support Activities for Children
The Center offers activities for preschool children, children aged 6-12, as well as activities for teenagers. The Pedagogue of the Center along with trained volunteers from both the Greek and the refugee population carries out the Kindergarten on a steady basis, which operates as a preparation before enrolling in the public system. Also, school children are supported with after school teaching while the group of teenagers participates in psychosocial support activities, which they select and design together with the Pedagogue.
Psychosocial Support Activities for Adults
Adult refugees can participate in a variety of activities, including the employability preparedness program, supporting resume writing, life skills development activities, groups of women / mothers, and volunteering at the Center’s activities.
MFC THESSALONIKI – SERVICES PROVIDED
Casework services are provided by two caseworkers supported by Cultural Mediators and volunteers. A general assessment is first done in the reception area after which appointments are given based on priority cases. General information for example about where to find health services are provided directly by the reception.
Greek language lessons
Lessons are provided by one teacher and classes are held twice per week for two hours at Practice Greek, A1 and A2 levels. All the students from A1 and Practice group that completed the course continue to the next level.
Orientation sessions cover a wide range of information and aim to inform people about the services provided at the Multifunctional Centre (MFC) of Thessaloniki. Include also skype sessions where people are coming to the MFC and they try to connect with the Asylum Office, through skype.
Restoring Family Links (RFL)
RFL services aim at preventing the separation of family members, restoring and maintaining contact between family members and at clarifying the fate of persons reported missing. RFL services are provided in the Multifunctional Center (MFC) for the Thessaloniki urban and the surrounding areas, as well as in long-term accommodation centers and various other locations in Northern Greece, based on a monthly schedule.
Cash Transfer Programming (CTP)
CTP provides cash assistance to asylum seekers and refugees located in Northern Greece, including the self-accommodated, and is aimed at meeting their basic needs, based on family size.