Safe Areas for Unaccompanied Migrant Children (Samos, Leros, Chios and Kos islands)

Ambassador Estermann and Minster Kairidis after the signature of the agreement.
Ambassador Estermann and Minster Kairidis after the signature of the agreement. © MoMA

On the 22nd of January, Ambassador Estermann and the Greek Minister of Migration and Asylum, Dimitris Kairidis, signed the fourth support measure agreement within the framework of the Swiss - Greek Cooperation program. In the framework of this support measure, Greece and Switzerland will support four Safe Areas in the islands of Kos, Chios, Leros and Samos.

The project aims to establish a primary support and assistance system for unaccompanied migrant children who arrive in Greece and are placed within the Safe Areas of the Closed Controlled Access Centers (CCAC) on four Greek islands. These Safe Areas will serve as an initial intervention mechanism on the islands to provide assistance to unaccompanied migrant children who have arrived in the aforementioned locations. The primary goal is to facilitate their safe and timely transition to suitable care arrangements, based on a thorough and individualized assessment of each child's needs and best interests.

Project description

Country / Region





Safe Areas for Unaccompanied Migrant Children (Samos, Leros, Chios and Kos islands)

01.02.2024 - 31.01.2025

CHF 2’410’422.78


Between 2021 and November 2023, a total of 3,123 unaccompanied migrant children arrived in Greece and were accommodated in the Safe Areas within the CCACs of Samos, Leros, Chios, and Kos. Specifically, during this period, 895 unaccompanied migrant children were accommodated in Samos, 418 in Leros, 1,006 in Chios, and 804 in Kos. These children arriving on the Greek border islands face particularly precarious circumstances. Many have been subjected to trafficking, abuse, exploitation, and violence, rendering them exceptionally vulnerable. Consequently, these children require immediate and comprehensive care, protection, and access to a range of essential services. Furthermore, guidance on their rights and opportunities for integration is paramount when they are eventually placed in long-term accommodation facilities. To tackle these pressing challenges, Safe Areas were established within the CCACs on the islands, serving as hubs for meeting the immediate needs of unaccompanied migrant children arriving in the Aegean islands. Each Safe Area is staffed by a team of multidisciplinary professionals, including social workers, psychologists, legal counselors, interpreters, and caregivers, who provide protection and assistance services to these vulnerable children. 


The project is dedicated to promoting social inclusion, aligning its mission with the goals and objectives of the National Integration Strategy established by the Ministry of Migration and Asylum. Specifically, it strives to facilitate the pre-integration of asylum seekers, emphasizing key objectives such as ensuring safety and protection, upholding children's rights, promoting physical and mental health and wellness, and ensuring access to reliable information and services. In addition, the support measure actively contributes to targets aimed at preventing and effectively protecting individuals from all forms of violence, exploitation, and abuse, reinforcing referral mechanisms for victims in need of support and assistance. Furthermore, as an integral part of its commitment to social inclusion within the realm of migration management, the program seeks to advance the ideals of promoting the European way of living.


The UMC accommodated in the Safe Areas of Leros, Samos, Chios, and Kos will receive essential care and targeted assistance through various services and outputs by Zeuxis NGO. These include case management and psychosocial support, legal support when needed, activities to prepare them for life in the broader community, access to protection assistance, healthcare, supplies, and materials, as well as cooperation and coordination with the General Secretariat for Vulnerable Persons and Institutional Protection. To achieve these outputs, the program will offer 24/7 protection assistance based on individual needs assessments, referring and accompanying children to relevant actors both within and outside the Safe Areas, providing legal guidance, organizing stress-relieving and empowerment activities, and ensuring access to necessary commodities and services. Additionally, it will effectively communicate the specific needs and cases of these children to the Accommodation Centers for Unaccompanied Children, where they will ultimately be transferred. The desired outcomes of these efforts are twofold: first, to safeguard the best interests of Unaccompanied Migrant Children in the Safe Areas through effective case management, and second, to empower and prepare them for pre-integration into their new environments. Consequently, the program's impact is expected to meet the urgent and vital needs of unaccompanied migrant children during the reception process, collaborate with and support the Closed Control Access Centers (CCACs) for effective case management, and promote pre-integration by familiarizing these children with their new surroundings, facilitating the work of the General Secretariat for Vulnerable Persons & Institutional Protection in finding suitable accommodation tailored to individual needs, and supporting the scientific teams of long-term accommodation facilities who will assume responsibility for each child's case.

Federal office responsible

Federal Department of Justice and Police / State Secretariat for Migration

Grand Masters in the making.
Grand Masters in the making. © Zeuxis