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The Support Center for Children and Family, which was founded by Ms Myrto Lemos, was realized through effort and struggle. The Center is based on her experience of street work for Street Children. 

Specifically, Ms Myrto Lemos began her career as a field worker in New York in the year 1979 and continued to do so for the following three years. That experience gave her an alternative view into the field of street work. She comments that “the street work forces the social worker to abandon the office and the authoritarian attitude it creates and approach the person-in-need on an equal basis. The social worker that undertakes to work in the streets visits the people-in-need in order to gain an independent view towards the actual problems and needs. Constantly referring to the principles of social work – i.e. respect for each persona, discretion, and honesty – the social worker needs to create an atmosphere of trust with the person-in-need and become the person’s guide, advisor and supporter”.

From 1991 to 1995, she was working for the support of Athenian minorities (Greek Muslims and Roma) under the umbrella of the company of intercultural psychiatry, coordinating seminars to professional educators and social scientists, entitled “the socio-psychological problems of socially excluded populations”. During that period, she made her first contact with the citizens that live in the central under-privileged areas of Athens (Gazi, Votanikos, Keramikos, Metaksourgio, kolonos), and who belong to the populations of Greek Muslims and Roma.

The aforementioned seminars took place at the heart of the affected area near the homes of the socially excluded minority. The room was very small, approximately 60 square meters. In the beginning, there were just two children, who in time brought more. The practitioners gained experience through helping children to learn how to read and write; the children called that little room a school. When the seminars came to an end the little room was abandoned. It was that very time that Ms Myrto Lemos came up with the idea to establish a Center dedicated to covering the educational needs of those children.

So, after leaving the above company, Ms Lemos, along with other volunteers, created a group whose aim was to aid Muslim children in the area of Gazi with reading and writing. This project was housed in the Youth Center owned by the Athenian Municipality.

However, this effort didn’t reach the whole of the target population, since the Youth Center was visited solely by the Turkish speaking children and not by the Muslim children.

Thus, in the meantime, she began a quest for a more substantial program under the umbrella of a public or a private sector. All the efforts proved fruitless.

So, she decided to realize her own vision; a Center for Children. Quoting her: “I had laid out the plan in my head. I should first rent a house for the children, I shall make it cozy, I should spend time with the children as much as possible without being hindered by the constrains and bureaucracy found in similar efforts of the civil sector, I should try to gather volunteers who would like to work with the children”.

That is how it all started. The Day Center dedicated to the socially excluded children, the children that wash windscreens, sell tissues and flowers, was called The Support Center for Children and Family. In March of 1997 she formed the non-governmental organization the “social and Educational Action”, in order to support the most important of the center’s goals giving it a legal standing. A place of 100 quarter meters was rented in Metaksourgio in Giatrakou street. After a couple of years, with the financial support of Dr EVA-MARIA VELARDO and the LOVEBRIDGE FOUNDATION, an additional palce was rented in Aristonos and Pierias street aimed at children aged between 5 and 13 years old, whereas the former place now hosted teenagers above the age of 13. Due to financial difficulties the teenagers Day Center was closed in February 2007.


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