Tuesday 16.07.2024 ΚΕΡΚΥΡΑ

Smile of the Child residential home in Magoulades could be saved

Smile of the Child
28 Dec 2022 / 22:10

CORFU. All Corfu bodies are by the Smile of the Child’s side so that children will not be taken away from their environment.

The Smile of the Child President Kostas Yiannopoulos' decision to close the facility in Magoulades seems to be reconsidered, following the persistent and unanimous support from all the political and institutional bodies that took part in the informative discussion at the Municipal Theatre - a discussion that should have taken place months ago, before the closure was announced.
The event was organised by the North Corfu Mayor Giorgos Mahimaris with the Smile of the Child's founder as the main speaker.
The news of the facility's imminent closure caused a huge reaction and support, even from pupils, for the children who will be transferred to the Child Protection Unit in Epirus.
The new law
Referring to the facility's undoubtedly great contribution and everything it has offered all these years, the Smile of the Child's founder spoke about the new law that has been in force since last May and has become the cause of the great conflict with the government. The stricter standards introduced for the properties that accommodate children made the facility to face large fines and even the removal of the administration.
Mr. Yiannopoulos pointed out that the facility's work "cannot be judged by how big the building is".
He talked about all the times he contacted the government, stressing that all he received were vague answers and defamatory articles against him. As for the building in Magoulades, he said that it is impossible to reconstruct it.
Unanswered question
However, a question was asked by all the bodies, which remained unanswered: Why no assistance has been requested from the bodies all these months, since the risk became visible.
"We are by the Smile of the Child's side and we will do whatever is necessary to ensure that the residential home in Magoulades will not close and that the 14 children will not be transferred." Despite their political differences, all three MPs agreed. The Deputy Regional Governor Melita Andrioti, the Inter-municipal Social Welfare & Solidarity Union President Maria Zervou and the North Corfu Municipal Councillors expressed the same as well.
As they all argued, every possible solution must be examined, whether it concerns construction issues or even relocation to another property in Corfu (there is a donation of property in Agios Ioannis).

ND MP Stefanos Gikas argued that it was wrong to announce, just before Christmas, to the children that they will leave their school and familiar environment, when there are still 6 months left and everyone is willing to support. "There should have been a meeting and proposals should have been submitted to the Ministry. This has not happened to date," he said. "I see that there is a good mood from everyone, no one has closed the door. My position is clear, I want the facility to remain open, we all want it, so I don't see the reason for it to close."

"We were faced with the decision to close the facility and the question is: Why such a rush?" SYRIZA MP Alekos Avlonitis asked. "We are willing to keep it open, why should it be turned into a day care centre? We know that the law allows the Region to support you. The Corfu Technical Chamber can help and a solution can be found, either to reconstruct the building or transfer it to another area," he said.

"We should have had this discussion earlier, since we want and can help. We want you to feel us close to you, to tell us where we can intervene and where we can help. There is no doubt that the law is problematic and we have fought for it in Parliament," said PASOK MP Dimitris Biangis.
Corfu Technical Chamber takes over
The Deputy Regional Governor Melita Andrioti said that the Region was not aware of the problem until the decision to close the facility was announced.

She even told Mr. Yiannopoulos to ask the Region for whatever is needed so that there will be the least possible shock for the children. She also asked him to submit a written request to the Ministry for a deadline extension to complete the work at the facility.
She even suggested that a committee be formed headed by the Corfu Technical Chamber, which can assist scientifically and technically with the necessary changes to the property.
The proposal was immediately accepted by the Corfu Technical Chamber President Yiannis Metallinos and the Smile of the Child President. 
It is worth noting that journalists were not given the opportunity to ask questions.