Displaced by armed conflict, generalized violence and economic turmoil, refugees have sought safe harbor and asylum in Greece at an alarming rate. In an extraordinary response of solidarity and compassion, the Greek people have opened their doors and hearts to these refugees and migrant children.
Migrant children face particularly harsh realities while fleeing their homelands. One of the greatest risks to children include exploitation practices such as human trafficking, sexual exploitation, or forced labor practices. In 2016, nearly 100 children lost their lives trying to reach the Greek borders in search of safety. By the end of 2017, nearly a dozen more children died in transit to Greece.
Most children arrived in Greece by sea, some accompanied by a mother or father, many arrived unaccompanied. Within the first six months of 2017, more than 3,000 children had arrived seeking food, shelter, and safety.
Victor Restis and the Restis Family Foundation wanted to help. Since the family foundation was conceived, it has focused on the human rights, safety, healthcare and education of people, especially children. Having this crisis in his homeland of Greece, Mr. Restis knew he had to get involved. Mr. Restis reached out to the Municipality of Glyfada – a suburb in southern parts of Athens’s urban area. Starting in January 2016, Victor Restis directed the support of the family foundation to assist with helping more than 300 child refugees who had been taken in by the municipality and housed in Hellikon Air Base (the old airport).
Mr. Restis assisted with the municipality’s charitable work by helping procure much needed supplies for the refugee families and their children. Mr. Restis even organized the purchase of presents and toys to be given to each child with the hope of making them feel a little happier and more comfortable against the situation and dangerous journey each had endured.