In the past 18 months, more than a million refugees have traveled from the war-torn Middle East to Europe through the Greek Islands on rubber rafts and wooden boats. In February 2016, the borders from Greece to other European countries closed. As a result almost 60,000 refugees are stranded in Greece. More than half are women and children. Most refugees detained in Greece have applied for asylum, a process that is complex and has been in many cases arbitrary. Asylum seekers are at risk for being returned to face death in their countries of origin.
Through Hope on the Ground, the Multicultural Institute (MI) strives to accompany asylum seekers transition towards a safe life in a new country by helping refugees understand their rights, structure their cases before immigration authorities and connect them to resources.
The program goals are achieved by a group of MI volunteers that are living in Greece offering the following:
- Provide information about the process of applying for asylum in Greece
- Connect asylum seekers with available resources, including translators, attorneys, information and logistic support;
- Act as advocate in individual cases
- Provide practical assistance of all kinds where an urgent need cannot be met by other organizations