Chicago-based Hellenic American Leadership Council has successfully raised almost $250,000 to support SOS Children’s Villages in Greece, an organization that helps at-risk families with children by providing numerous services. The fundraising effort was launched with the hashtag #HelpGreeceNow and will include additional campaigns in the future.
More than $118,000 has been raised thus far by the organization’s grassroots network, largely via social media and email campaigns. The success of the grassroots micro-donations, coming from hundreds of donors with gifts as small as $5 and as large as $5000 unlocked two challenge donations of $50,000 each— one by the Jaharis Family Foundation and the other by HALC founder Nikos Mouyiaris.
One hundred per cent of the funds donated will reach the SOS Children’s Villages in Greece, which operates a network of facilities and centers throughout Greece assisting orphaned and at-risk children.
Established 65 years ago and now active in 125 countries, SOS Children’s Villages has been working in Greece since 1975. Due to the financial crisis which started in the late 2000s, the organization has increased its activities in the country. The seven family strengthening programs, two youth programs and four villages providing family-based care, currently support over 4,200 people, of which over 2,200 are children and young people.
In Greece SOS Children’s Villages provides the following support to vulnerable children and families:
Family Strengthening Programs which work directly with families, many of which are single-parents looking after children on their own. Support includes parental counseling, social and emotional support for children and parents. They also give material assistance in the form of food and clothes. They organize leisure activities that help children relax and escape from the stressful situation at home.
Care for young children and their families: In Maroussi (near Athens) SOS runs a pioneering program for the care and protection of babies and infants under the age of five. The SOS-Eliza Home provides short-term care (up to 18 months) for up to 20 young children while the parents receive psychological and social support.
Family-based care in four locations: If, in spite of all assistance, children cannot live with their families of birth, they can find a new home in the SOS Children’s Villages in Thrace (Alexandroupolis), Crete, Plagiari (Thessaloniki) and Vari, outside Athens.
SOS also supports young adults through the SOS Youth Programs. Young people under the age of 24 have been particularly hard hit by unemployment. Over 50 per cent of young adults do not have a job. Great attention is paid to ensure that young adults receive the right kind of education and training so that they can make a living.