Skip to main content
European Commission logo
European Website on Integration

“OIKOS” Shelter and Support for Unaccompanied Minor Girls in Greece

OIKOS provides shelter for unaccompanied minor girls in Athens and offers them psycho-social support, legal aid (for asylum applications and family reunification), access to education, medical treatment and creative activities. The project is implemented by ZEUXIS, a non-profit organisation based in Greece.

Image by ZEUXIS

Issue/challenge and goal/assumption

OIKOS’s goal is to fill a gap in the provision of shelter for unaccompanied minor girls – a target group that are particularly vulnerable since they are often exposed to human trafficking, sexual abuse and exploitation. To respond to the challenges faced by unaccompanied minor girls, OIKOS also supports their emotional and psychological stability and helps them adapt to the new country where they don’t speak the language. In particular, the shelter provides individual and group sessions for psycho-social support, workshops, mentoring and empowerment. All of these practices are founded upon the “best interest assessment” model and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which affirm children’s right to a home, education, healthcare and a safe life where they can develop physically, mentally and psychologically.

How does it work

OIKOS supports unaccompanied minor girls through the following activities:

  • Provision of necessary material conditions (private room – space, five meals per day, clothes, shoes, items for personal hygiene)
  • Provision of an in-house social worker and psychologist
  • Provision of an in-house lawyer
  • Provision of 24/7 caregiver services
  • Provision of medical care and relevant provisions (i.e. reading glasses, dental braces etc)
  • Enrollment to formal education and provision of non-formal education
  • Entertainment (visits to museums, concerts, shows, trips etc)
  • Encouragement to discover and develop skills and express themselves creatively (in-house music lessons, dance lessons, theater workshops etc)
  • Assistance and support in case of family reunification or asylum application


  • In one year, more than 28 girls were hosted
  • 5 cases of family reunification under Dublin regulation
  • 17 girls were enrolled to formal education
  • More than 1500 hours of psychologist sessions with the social worker
  • High enrolment rate in public schools
  • Low rate of irregular leavings from the shelter


The project has found that inclusion in the everyday routine of activities such as art, sports etc has helped the girls express and create bonds in and out of the shelter. It also identified that the provision of female members of staff has facilitated integration and better communication and understanding since they could relate to the challenges faced by the girls.

Who will benefit?

The target group for this project are unaccompanied minor girls.

Source of funding and Resources used

  • Funding source: SEM (State Secretariat for Migration in the Swiss Federal Department of Justice and Police)
  • Annual Budget: 540.000€
  • 10 Caregivers
  • 2 Social Workers
  • 1 Psychologist
  • 1 Educator
  • 2 Interpreters
  • 1 Coordinator
  • 1 Cook
  • 1 Cleaner
  • 1 General Duties


Panagiotis Nikas

Related content

More content