Joint UNHCR/CRS/Caritas Hellas Press Release
Refugees and asylum-seekers in Greece can now receive practical help, advice and assistance on how to navigate the Greek labour market, through an Integration Centre located in Athens, operated by Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and Caritas Hellas, with support from UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency. ADAMA Centre has been operating for three months and has already accepted more than 1,200 requests from men and women to get ready for employment and access essential social services in the country.
The Centre’s activities are part of the broader UNHCR programme in Greece to support refugee integration in accordance with legislation in force, the National Integration Strategy and a bilateral Memorandum of Understanding on Integration signed between UNHCR and the Ministry for Migration and Asylum.
“Successful refugee integration includes gaining a livelihood and contributing to the economy of Greece and its broader society”, said UNHCR Representative in Greece, Maria Clara Martin. “Thousands of refugees in Greece have brought with them skills, knowledge and talents which they are eager to use and which are needed in Greece today. ADAMA Centre, through its services and staff, aims to provide the tailored support and guidance that many refugees need in order to stand on their feet again, become self-reliant, support their families and contribute to the communities hosting them,” she added.
The majority of requests (73%) that reach the Centre concern provision of assistance to find a job. According to Rania Dimitriou, Integration and Livelihoods Advisor in CRS: “In ADAMA Centre, we facilitate the linkage between refugee job-seekers and private sector employers. ADAMA, which means ‘together’ in Greek, provides a platform for these connections. Success for us is when the people we support take advantage of work and integration opportunities and envision a productive life within Greek society”.
Refugees across the country can attend in-person and remote sessions in English, Farsi, Arabic, French, Sorani, Kurmanji and, soon, Ukrainian. The Centre prepares refugees for the job market by helping them develop a CV and issue the necessary documents for applications, links them to specific job openings and provides interview preparation, as well as coaching and support while on the job. It also educates refugees about employee rights and responsibilities, salary scales, job ethics, and childcare options for working fathers and mothers. A dedicated space is available for children to safely use and play while their parents attend counselling sessions. The Centre, in collaboration with UNHCR, is developing a wide network of private sector businesses in Greece which provide employment opportunities as well as upscaling and upskilling programmes. In addition to employment support, the Centre also has specialised services for vulnerable persons, including homeless and persons with disabilities, to facilitate their access to essential social services.
UNHCR, CRS and Caritas Hellas welcomed on 30 March the Ambassadors of Austria, Germany, Sweden and Switzerland in Greece at the ADAMA Centre. A discussion was held about the challenges refugees face while trying to integrate in the country. © UNHCR/Socrates Baltagiannis
Mr. Likuo, an asylum seeker from Democratic Republic of Congo, during a session at the ADAMA Centre. © UNHCR/Socrates Baltagiannis © UNHCR/Socrates Baltagiannis
Operating in Athens by CRS and Caritas Hellas, with support from UNHCR, ADAMA Centre has already accepted more than 1,200 requests, most of which concern provision of assistance to find a job. © UNHCR/Socrates Baltagiannis
“Access to a job opportunity is a window to a new path towards a dignified life that restores self-respect, hope and confidence in every person’s soul”, said Caritas Hellas director, Maria Alverti.
Yesterday, UNHCR, CRS and Caritas Hellas welcomed the Ambassadors of Austria, Germany, Sweden and Switzerland in Greece at the Centre. Its expert staff guided the Ambassadors through the different services provided to support refugees’ active inclusion in the Greek society. A discussion was held about the challenges refugees face while trying to integrate in the country, with everyone highlighting the need for tangible interventions to bridge systemic gaps and adapt to the rapidly changing context. The Ambassadors also had the opportunity to discuss with refugees and asylum-seekers, like Mr. Likuo from Democratic Republic of Congo, who expressed his wish to live, work and integrate in Greece. Mr. Likuo, has IT skills, speaks three languages and is currently learning Greek, and he just had a job offer from a company. “I am very grateful that people in the local community have welcomed me”, he said.
For more information:
ADAMA Centre Helpline: Tel. 6945267788