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Saturday, March 23, 2013

Mar 23, 2013

From Athens to the Island of Santorini, we continue our studies of the Greek economic collapse. My student group studying Greek social welfare systems is finding that dramatic changes in life and living in the family system are often concealed -- and sometimes to tragic consequence:

Alice Lin - The family system is very strong in Greece. Prior to the economic collapse families did not have to rely much on governmental assistance or donations from charities. The Greek government now seeks assistance from foundations to help start community projects and from the EU for specific projects. My examiniation of the interaction of the government with families in need reveals that the state may actually impede non-profit organizations and charities from making donations. Representatives we interviewed explained that there is generally a positive perception of the NPO but negative perception of NGOs, because the Greek government allowed NGOs to become corrupt - application criteria is loose and there is low oversight. Also, unlike in US, donors to NPOs receive no tax deduction for donations - in fact, donors have to pay an extra tax so often extra food or goods are just discarded instead of donated. The economic crisis hit so quickly that the government could not respond fast enough; government programs were not in place for the time when family could not step in to assist.

Dennie Byam - My research includes an examiniation of Greek social welfare system services available to the homeless. Homelessness is a new issue in Greece since the economic collapse, and is found in three distinct categories: people who have homes for generations but do not have the means to pay for essentials such as utlilties and food; people who no longer have a home and are living on the street; and people who are living in "day care," the Greek equivalent of homeless shelters. Suicides are on the rise in men in the ages of 40s-50s who can't cope with inability to provide for families. Domestic violence is also on the upswing. Homeless who don't want to go into shelterWhile in some cases day care may be provided by the state, the services are not funded by the state but rather by a private foundation. Traditionally, the Greeks rely only on the nuclear and extended family for assistance Even now, families are very prideful and mothers try to hide the help they receive from their children, obtaining food from neighbors and putting it on plates so that children don't know food was donated. One positive result of the economic crisis is that the people are becomning more community focused, expanding on the traditional insular family focus.

Tomorrow we go north to the other large city in Greece: Thessaloniki.

Posted by DBorman on March 23, 2013 at 11:19 AM | Permalink

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Comments

Wow, this sounds like a great trip. It's this sort of thing that makes Northwestern a T14 school.

I like the blue and white Greek buildings on the sea. Their dome tops remind me of blueberries.

Wish I were with you!

Posted by: Love Blueberries | Mar 26, 2013 2:38:50 PM

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