• Photo: Sara Hylton/Mercy Corps

The context

As huge populations of people fled crises in Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, and other countries, they arrived in Greece in desperate need of basic necessities. Although many of them seek new homes in other European countries, some are stuck in Greece now that the borders to other countries have been closed to new refugees.

  • Nearly 1.5 million people have arrived on the shores of Europe in the last two years.
  • Nearly 50,000 migrants remain in Greece, including 20,000 children.

Our work

We were the first organization to provide cash cards to families newly arriving in Europe — we also provided emergency shelter and hygiene kits. While refugees wait in camps and hope to someday move on, we offered safe spaces and helped strengthen local economies. Our work in Greece ended in 2018.

  • Emergency response: We provided cash support to refugees to meet their urgent needs
  • Youth development: We helped young people heal from trauma and build relationships through youth centers that offered recreational activities, art therapy, and life skills training. We also provided practical vocational training and skills to help youth integrate with Greek society and have better options for education and livelihoods.
  • Innovations: We partnered with Google and IRC to design and manage information portal for displaced arrivals into Europe, which has up-to- date, location-specific information in four languages for refugees in Europe. The site provides information about the registration process, available lodging, transportation options and emergency services.
  • Women and gender: We helped girls overcome extreme stress by offering safe spaces and community systems to protect women and girls.

Our impact

11,000 people received
pre-paid debit cards

70,000 refugees accessed our site