International Rescue Committee


As of September 2021, UNHCR estimates that approximately 168,000 refugees, asylum seekers, and migrants who arrived in the past years are in Greece, the majority of which reside in urban centers such as Athens. A relatively high unemployment rate, the pandemic, and a variety of structural and underlying factors create significant barriers for refugees and migrant youth to access opportunities.

In an increasingly digitalized world, heightened by the effects of COVID-19, access to services, education and employment opportunities has moved online. IRC Hellas will support vulnerable youth residing in Athens with basic computer literacy training to support their empowerment and digital inclusion.

History of International Rescue Committee

Since the start of programming in Greece, in 2015, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) has provided support and protection services in both camps and urban settings. Directly, or in collaboration with partners, IRC Hellas has provided shelter, emergency supplies, safe transportation, access to water, sanitation and hygiene facilities, vital, reliable, and up-to-date information, protection for vulnerable groups, mental health, and psychosocial support, as well as employability services to refugees, asylum seekers, and other vulnerable individuals. 

Currently, the IRC works in Athens, Chios, Lesvos, and Samos. In Athens, they provide a variety of services regarding Child Protection and Labor Market Integration. On Lesvos, Chios, and Samos, Mental Health and Psychosocial Support is provided while on Lesvos the focus is on emergency assistance (Water Sanitation & Hygiene, COVID-19 prevention), as well as services of Child Protection, Women’s Protection and Empowerment and Education and Cultural Orientation Support.

IRC Hellas also runs a nationwide up-to-date reliable information provision program on Refugee.Info, as well as advocates in Greece and abroad for the protection of the rights of asylum seekers and refugees regarding asylum procedures, reception conditions, protection, access to information, and integration.


International Rescue Committee

The International Rescue Committee responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises and helps people whose lives have been shattered by conflict and disaster including the climate crisis to survive, recover, and gain control of their future. For nearly 90 years, we have been committed to providing humanitarian relief whenever and wherever we are needed, including some of the most dangerous and hard-to-reach places in 40 countries worldwide.

The IRC has served more than 80,000 people in Greece since we started working there in July of 2015, collaborating closely with the country’s authorities and local organizations to help improve living conditions in the transit sites and ensure refugees receive the critical aid they need. More specifically, IRC Hellas has provided support and protection services to vulnerable groups, such as refugees, asylum seekers, migrants, and Greek nationals. IRC Hellas through its program, provides services to vulnerable children and families, including unaccompanied children, women survivors of gender-based violence, people with mental health concerns, and other vulnerable individuals in Greece.


Think Human Foundation & International Rescue Committee

We were first approached by Webhelp Hellas in early 2019 to propose a project aiming at refugee women empowerment and we successfully pitched our idea to the THF board later that year.

Our project was launched in November 2020 and aimed to empower refugee and migrant women residing in Athens through a combination of individual career counseling, group job readiness skills training, and opportunities for mentorship. By the end of the project in July 2021, we had supported 16 women with employability support while another 15 women had enrolled in six-month mentoring schemes through the

network of Women on Top, an organization working for the professional empowerment of women and for equality at the workplace.

Coinciding with the lockdown measures in Greece to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the most significant challenge and yet greatest achievement was that the entirety of services was delivered online through digital platforms such as Zoom and WhatsApp. It is the experience IRC Hellas had through this project that highlighted the need for digital inclusion of vulnerable populations and informed the design of our next project.

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