Caritas Thía Prónia has been providing a haven of peace and affection for migrants and refugees amidst hardening social climate in crisis-hit Greece.

Based in Athens, Caritas Thía Prónia has been helping migrants and refugees for many years. With the support of the ELPIS Project, the centre has been able to increase its service delivery capacity and is currently helping 800 people.

Four of them are the members of Sara, her husband Tohir and their 3 children. Five years ago the family had to leave Afghanistan. One day the Taliban started threatening their community, pushing them to leave the country. 

Their exodus to Europe was long, difficult and expensive. They crossed Turkey from East to West on foot, walking at night and hiding during the day. When asked, Sara cannot remember anymore the days and weeks the journey took.

Eventually they arrived to Greece. In the beginning, the family lived in parks until they managed to co-rent a small apartment with another Afghan family. They were 8 people, 4 adults and 4 children, sharing a 60 m2 basement composed of two small bedrooms, a bathroom and a kitchen. And barely any furniture.

Luckily, the family came in contact with Caritas Thía Prónia (Divine Providence) and could be helpeld in several ways.

They first received legal and practical help to apply for asylum in Greece. Thanks to this the family is enjoying the status of asylum seekers. But they still are waiting for the Court to rule whether their application is valid or not. Meantime, Caritas has also helped them to do all the necessary paperwork required to register the children at the local public school. The kids have quickly learned Greek and, through them, the whole family is rapidly integrating into the community.

Unfortunately things are still not bright. The economic crisis and the increasing xenophobia and racism have pushed them back into a very vulnerable situation.

Job opportunities are scarce. Tohir currently tries to make some money collecting scrap at nights. He makes just enough for his family to survive. Hence, Caritas Thía Prónia provides the family with food support every month.

Sara keeps coming to Caritas Thía Prónia every week. She needs advice as much as she needs to share her concerns, fears and hopes for the future. And at Caritas Thía Prónia she founds people capable of doing both things. People who care about her and her family.

For more information, please contact

In Athens,
Evelyn Karastamati
karastamati.caritas@gmail.com

In Brussels,
Alain Rodriguez
arodriguez@caritas-europa.org