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PIER-Protection, Integration and Education for Refugees in Greece, Italy and Austria

ARSIS – Association for the Social Support of Youth in cooperation with two other partners, Caritas Austria and Caritas Italiana, is implementing program PIER – Protection, Integration and Education for Refugees in Greece, Italy and Austria.

The PIER Program is funded by “The Coca-Cola Foundation” (TCCF) and it is being implemented in three phases as following:

PIER 1: January 2017 – March 2018 in Athens and in Thessaloniki

Partners: Caritas Austria, Caritas Italiana, ARSIS   


PIER 2: April 2018 – January 2019 in Thessaloniki 

Partners: Caritas Austria, Caritas Italiana, ARSIS   


PIER 3: September 2019 – June 2020 in Thessaloniki 

Partners: Caritas Austria, ARSIS   


Caritas Austria is responsible for the program’s general management and coordination.

The aim of PIER 1 – PIER 2 responds to the immediate protection needs of refugees upon their arrival and subsequently supports their process to cultural and socio-economic integration, whereby children and youth are the priority.

In the Youth Support Centers (YSC) in Thessaloniki and Athens professional social workers, psychologists and lawyers offer legal and psychosocial counseling to refugees, asylum seekers and migrants. Depending on individual needs beneficiaries will get counseling on an ad-hoc basis or they agree on frequent individual or group sessions.

Educational activities in Youth Support Centers also play a key role. Most of the minor refugees coming to the Youth Support Centers have been out of school for a long time. While the registration for formal education is supported by the YSC, additional relevant and needs-based education activities have been elaborated and will be open for all interested young people coming to the centers. Some of the educational activities focus on language learning (English and Greek) and basic numeracy.

Another basic tool is the Mobile School; the team visits the city neighborhoods. The educational topics are chosen according to the age of the children attending the sessions as well as their needs and interests, classes are held on the street, squares, communities, parks.

At the same time leisure activities are taking place; the Youth Support Centre has elaborated a comprehensive program including activities for recreation, developing life-skills and learning more about the host community´s culture. In order to have an effective integration process of the refugees, young local community members are involved in all activities.

PIER 3 comprises the ARSIS’ Program for the Support of Victims of Torture. The program’s main goal is the provision of a support context that contains psychosocial support and mental health services, as well as legal aid services for refugees and asylum seekers who have survived from torture. Special emphasis is placed on holistic approach through the multidisciplinary professional team of the program and also through connection with other actors (NGOs and public services).

The program provides the following services:

  • Psychosocial Support
  • Psychological Support
  • Psychiatric Support
  • Legal Aid

PIER 3 is the continuation of ARSIS’ «Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Office» that operated during the period November 2018-July 2019 under German Doctors’ funding.

Data collected reveal the need for sustaining the provision of services, since it is concluded that the number of refugees and asylum seekers that have survived from torture and are currently living in the area of Northern Greece is significantly increased.

For further information about PIER please visit


For PIER 1-PIER 2 please contact:

Youth Support Center of ARSIS

9 Spartis str. 54640, Thessaloniki

Tel.: +30 2310 227 311 & +30 2311 242 956

Email: &


For PIER 3 please contact:

ARSIS’ Program for the Support of Victims of Torture

12 Monastiriou str. 54629 Thessaloniki 

Tel: +30 2310 534 652 & +30 2310 516 135

Email: &