Amid another public sector strike in Greece there are concerns that austerity measures will deprive children with special needs.
Doctors, nurses and hospital staff protested outside the health ministry on Thursday, joining transport workers in a 24 hour stoppage against pay cuts.
A prominent state orphanage and school for children with special needs in the Athens suburbs is at risk of shutting down.
It cares for well over 100 children and young adults at an orphanage, a nursery school and a day care centre.
State funding has been reduced by 62 percent. The cuts have forced it to rely on donations. Now it is in urgent need of a sponsor.
The institution’s head, Filipini Karanikola, said:
“Parents avoid picking up their children at weekends because they do not have a way of taking care of them. When many children leave for the weekend to go home, parents ask us to give them any food that we can spare.”
Pammakaristos is the biggest institution of its kind in Greece. But for each child and young adult, it now has only 11 euros a day to pay for food and specialist staff.
“If you can imagine, we remained unpaid for four to five months. Things are really difficult and it influences our lives every day,” said speech therapist Kika Yiatzoglou.
Should the institution have to close, most students would have to stay at home and do without the specialist care they need.
The only alternative might be a psychiatric asylum.