Vari is a southern suburb of the capital Athens, located in East Attica, Greece. Around 15,000 live in the municipality, while four million people live in Athens itself. In 2009, the Greek economy was hit by a severe crisis, the effects of which are still being felt by the Greek population. Many families in Vari struggle with unemployment and are at risk of poverty. In addition, the public health system has virtually collapsed and non-governmental organizations are trying to fill the gap, often with volunteers and donated medicines. Families cannot afford basic care or preventive measures such as vaccinations for the children.
Since 1982, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Vari.
In recent years, Greece has gone through some economic difficulties that have also affected the people of Vari.
Greece has been in crisis since its credit rating was downgraded at the end of 2009. Since then, increasingly harsh austerity measures have been taken, including wage cuts, fuel price increases and tax rises. The increasing and persistent uncertainty of the Greek economy has also led to a decline in employment opportunities and industrial production. In the province of Attica, where Vari is located, 14% of people are unemployed.
It is estimated that the Greek black market accounts for 20% of GDP, as people do not report their income to avoid paying sky-high taxes.
Nevertheless, life is a struggle for many families in Greece. Children are particularly affected by poverty, as many parents cannot even afford medical treatment for their children. In the province of Attica, where Vari is located, 23% of all children are at risk of poverty.