AMURTEL GREECE

MORE INFO: greece.amurtel.org

Overview

Since the peak of the migration crisis in 2015, AMURTEL has worked to create safe women’s spaces for highly vulnerable refugee/migrant mothers and infants from pregnancy through two years of age. Our all-women team of midwives, lactation consultants, and support personnel provide care in our day center and in refugee camps, squats, shelters, and other refugee accommodations in the wider Athens area.

Women coming to AMURTEL are primarily from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, and many African countries. Our social and medical services are offered in Farsi, Arabic, French, and English.

We believe all mothers have the right and the capacity to maintain or restore their health, well-being, dignity, and self-determination. AMURTEL aims to empower women to be the best possible mothers they can be even in situations of upheaval, thus giving their infants the best possible start in life.

Educational Support Groups

The groups support and educate mothers as well as assist them in forming community bonds with other women who are in similar situations. Many women coming to AMURTEL are from small villages with little or no education for females. These sessions are enormously empowering.

The topics include:

  • · Antenatal/postnatal care by qualified midwives
  • Infant breastfeeding and infant nutrition care by qualified lactation consultants
  • Outreach services to other NGOs, private homes, and urban settings for refugees and migrants
  • The rules for refugee camp access are regularly changed by the Greek government – but when we’re allowed access, we visit refugee camps as part of outreach services. Otherwise, we meet with women outside the camp
  • Providing a case worker for individual mothers with specific needs
  • Educational support groups which include many empowering topics
  • Integration and community services such as referral pathways for specialized needs, education and support in a foreign culture, birth preparation in a Greek hospital, navigating the public health system, and access to various other community services
  • Online services to support mothers who leave Greece – nationally and internationally
  • Empowering Peer-2-Peer training
  • All educational groups, consultations, and services are offered in the languages necessary for our women: Arabic, Farsi, French, Spanish, Greek, Turkish, and English
  • Gender-based violence support and awareness (GBV)
  • Mother and baby yoga – enhancing responsive parenting
  • Mother and baby massage – enhancing responsive parenting
  • Distribution of various essential items such as food, vitamins, baby kits, nappies/diapers, hygienic reusable menstrual pads, sanitary products, breast pumps and breastfeeding accessories, underwear and other essential items as available

ANTENATAL AND POSTNATAL CARE BY MIDWIVES

Due to linguistic and cultural barriers, refugee and migrant women have great difficulty accessing services in the public health system and thus often do not receive adequate care during pregnancy and after birth.

AMURTEL’s midwives strive to provide not only medical examinations but also a safe space to discuss fears, ask questions, and offer preparation for birth in a Greek hospital.

BREASTFEEDING AND INFANT NUTRITION WITH LACTATION CONSULTANTS

Breastfeeding is not only the optimum nutrition for infants but also provides deep and long-lasting protection for infant development in times of emergency. Most of the mothers coming to AMURTEL believe that their breast milk is insufficient in both quality and quantity and a great number have been advised by medical professionals to give formula to their infants. Added to this are anxieties about how to feed infants once solid foods have been introduced.

AMURTEL’s women’s milieu provides the ideal scenario that allows for discussion of fears and anxieties, decreases the overwhelming sense of isolation, and allows mothers to access their innate knowledge and basic instincts about mothering an infant.

PEER SUPPORT TRAINING

AMURTEL provides breastfeeding peer counseling training so that the mothers themselves may better assist other mothers in their own languages and culturally appropriate ways.

OUTREACH

Our outreach team of midwives, lactation consultants, and interpreters visit refugee camps and other refugee accommodations in the urban area to provide maternal-child health services both individually and in groups.