Μέριμνα Παιδιού Κατερίνης

“Care for the mentally disabled of Pieria”

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 “Care for the mentally disabled of Pieria”, aka “Merimna Katerinis” in Greek, is a non-profit NGO that was founded in 1979 in Katerini. Its purpose is to advance the rights and well-being of disabled persons and specifically the one with mental disability. Back then persons with disabilities ended up disconnected, living in isolation and facing discrimination. The founders of the organization where a handful of citizens who were inspired by Mrs Eytixia Nanakou. Mrs Nanakou was a social worker in numerous foundations around Europe that provided care for children with mental disability. This group made the first Day - Care for children with mental disability in Pieria. The Daycare continued to work until the state began to operate such agencies.

All these years the board of Merimna tried to facilitate the physical, mental, psychological and social well-being of the persons with mental disability. This is accomplished with two ways. First, by running facilities that provide day care and secondly, with actions that shape a better society, a society of inclusion through education and awareness.

Currently we have in operation two facilities that provide Day Care to the persons of the province of Pieria with mental disability. Their total capacity is 92 people with a projection of increasing this number to 140 in two years. At these facilities, among the day care, there are also programs of therapies (speech therapy, occupational therapy, physiotherapy), preparation for autonomous or semi- autonomous living, sports, leisure, psychological support etc.

Beginning December 2018 there are also in operation three house of semi-autonomous living where a total 12 people will be accommodated. Our goal is to expand this action and make a net of house through the province.

The institute also runs a café in the city Katerini where we can have fun, a cup of coffee, watch football etc.

Merimna is also trying to make a better society for all the persons with disabilities in Pieria. This is achieved with roadshows that communicate the message of equity, conventions, workshops, advertisements etc.

Merimna is also trying to integrate the voices and concerns of persons with disabilities into national and provincial agendas and policies. Merimna is recognized from the state as an Official Provider of social support. The foundation is also in collaboration with the Association of People with Disability promoting the message of the UN`s 2030 Agenda that pledges to “leave no one behind”.

Our organization also teams up with the local municipality of Katerini by promoting mutual plans, in favor of the mentally disabled. This collaboration resulted recently in a common program that advocates the UN`s  Sustainable Development Agenda.

Finally, the foundation is in collaboration with numerous Level 5 and above educational organizations (according to ISCED 2011), that educate care givers for the disabled.

The cost of Merimna`s operation is mainly covered either by insurance funds or programs of the EU Cohesion Fund. Still, a part of the cost is covered by donations from the local society.

We are looking forward to make new connections throughout Europe in order to receive knowledge, empower our stuff, expand the experience of our inmates, and be more efficient and productive in our effort.