The Smile of the Child
Member: NGO Premium
Voluntary Children's Association
10, Zinonos Eleatou Street, GR-151 24 Maroussi, Athens, Greece
Foundation and Mission of the Organisation
"We all know and talk about children on the streets who can't smile. They cannot smile because they don't have money, toys, or food and some of them do not even have parents. Just think and leave all the talking behind: let's unite and give whatever we can to poor children, Albanians, white and black. They are all children and deserve a smile. This association will be called: 'The Smile of the Child'. Let's all come together to help, together we can accomplish it."
From founder Andreas' diary, November 1995
These words written by 10-year-old Andreas Yannopoulos, while suffering from terminal cancer, expressed his wish to establish an organisation that would protect children irrespective of their color, race, religion, nationality, or socio-economic status. Andreas is no longer with us, but his words continue to inspire us to help children and ensure that each child has a reason to smile.
The Smile of the Child was registered as a non-profit, non-governmental organisation in January 1996. Since then the Association has expanded to meet the serious problems of children in-need living in Greece. Through its varied services, The Smile of the Child protects children's rights and provides them with emotional and psychological support.
Children, who suffer from health problems or any type of abuse, neglect or abandonment, are within the organisation's mandate.
- Recognized Greek Centre for Missing & Exploited Children to combat the phenomenon of missing and exploited children in Greece, operating in Athens since 1995.
- As of October 2010, The Southeastern European Centre for Missing and Exploited Children, has been inaugurated, a joint initiative of the International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children (ICMEC) and "The Smile of the Child". The Centre serves as a regional coordinating body aimed at comprehensively addressing and combating child victimization in all its forms in the Southeastern European region.
- National Helpline for Children SOS 1056, a toll free line operating 24-hours a day, seven days a week, and 116000 European Hotline for Missing Children.
- At the request of the Greek National Police, activation of AMBER ALERT HELLAS with the cooperation of 51 partners from public and private bodies.
- Immediate intervention in cases where children are in danger through the use of the organisation's vehicles.
- 10 Community Homes throughout Greece to provide shelter and safety to a total of 269 children. The children's ages range from infancy to young adults. Custody and guardianship are granted to the organization through a court order in cases where the authorities have deemed the child’s home environment inappropriate. Our homes are modeled after a healthy Greek family. Thus, we continue to support and care for our children until they become independent, productive members of our community. Life in our community homes resembles a traditional home. Children are cared for by trained childcare workers and attend the local public schools. Each child’s personality and interests are nurtured. Children are offered unconditional support, attention and love.
- Daily Care for children whose family environment cannot meet their daily needs and puts them at risk due to neglect. Their families are also provided with material & psychological support and guidance.
- Counselling for children and parents.
- Material support of economically marginalized children throughout Greece.
- Medical Aid & support of children with serious medical and health conditions.
- Volunteer drives for blood, blood platelets and bone marrow donations.
- Modern ambulances throughout Greece - inducted into the services of EKAB (National First Aid Programme) - for the safe transportation of newborns, infants and children.
- Preventative medical and dental programmes with the Association’s medical vehicles and equipment in schools throughout Greece.
- Creative Occupation in Children's Hospitals in Athens, Thessaloniki and Patra.
- Creative Occupation for children in airports, the Athens airport "Eleftherios Venizelos" and the Thessaloniki airport "Macedonia".
After 15 years of activity, "The Smile of the Child" has become the reference point for children, parents and governmental departments because of our success in providing solutions to the hundreds of problems that children face. We maintain our direct contact with children and work with all appropriate agencies in order to ensure that we never have to say "no" to a child that needs us.
Funding of the Organization is provided through donations and contributions of private individuals and private enterprises and through our fund-raising events. The Organization's financial records are audited by the Chartered Accounting firm PRICE WATERHOUSE COOPERS. Because of the ever-increasing needs of children that "The Smile of the Child" is called upon to meet, even the smallest donation is invaluable to the organization.
Because of the many services the Association provides to an ever-increasing number of children, its international collaborations and its consistently low administrative expenses, "The Smile of the Child" has won the public's trust and respect. In surveys conducted by independent marketing companies and published in the Greek press, "The Smile of the Child" consistently ranked amongst one of the top positions for public trust and recognition within its sector of operations.
- Member of the Board of Directors of the International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children
- Member of CHI (Child Helpline International)
- Member of the Global Missing Children's Network -- www.missingkids.com
- Member of the Board of Directors of Missing Children Europe
- "Special Consultative Status" with the UN Economic and Social Council
- Associated with the UN Department of Public Information
- Member of the European Federation for Street Children