The On-site Surveys for 2022 were completed with a visit to Kalymnos and Leros

The “On-Site Surveys for the year 2022” resulted in many findings and were successfully completed with the visit of a research team of the Observatory, consisting of Ms. Georgia Tseva and Ms. Vasiliki Livanopoulou, to the islands of Kalymnos and Leros. It is the second consecutive year that the Social Inclusion Observatory has visited the Community Centers of Kalymnos and Leros, with which we have an excellent cooperation.




In Kalymnos, where the Manpower Employment Organization and a free physical therapy clinic are co-located in the same building as the Community Center, the Observatory met with Ms. Kalliopi Englesou, Social Worker of the Community Center, while interviews were also conducted with 6 beneficiaries of social allowances, most of whom stated that the biggest problem is uninsured work. A part of the population is engaged in construction but with daily wages without having anything stable. In addition, it is difficult to find houses as they are expensive or reserved for the students of the new faculty of the island. Compared to last year, the problem regarding the use of substances and addiction has been reduced with the contribution of the Addiction Treatment Center. It also seems that there are close relationships of solidarity and mutual assistance among the citizens. For example, a family of immigrants from Romania told us that they were offered food by the residents the minute they arrived in Kalymnos.



A focus group was held in Leros with the executives of the Community Center Ms. Maria Pavlidi, Social Worker and manager of the Community Center, and Ms. Maria Panoutsopoulou, Psychologist of the Community Center. Also, interviews with 9 beneficiaries of social allowances were conducted. Overall, the field survey on the island of Leros highlighted the significant difficulties faced by its residents in terms of social inclusion, but also the significant efforts made at the level of operation of the Community Center which needs to be further supported and strengthened. Regarding the interviews with the beneficiaries, we found that the majority of them are facing significant financial difficulties as well as the inability to work due to a significant health problem, disability or old age, but also due to the limited employment opportunities on the island. A large number of female beneficiaries – often mothers in single-parent families – was found to have significant difficulties in joining the labor market due to the fact that they have never worked before. A significant portion of the beneficiaries has been employed in training programs by public bodies. However, these did not offer them the possibility of stable employment, and consequently, they expressed their disappointment with them. This situation seems to be compensated to some extent by the existence of social solidarity networks on the island.


On the other hand, through the interviews with the executives of the Community Center, both the difficulties faced by the residents of the island and the efforts made at the level of local social policy to compensate for this situation were highlighted. In addition to the management of the allowances and the counseling and psychological support of the beneficiaries, the Community Center has managed to implement actions to inform and raise awareness among the island’s residents. Overall, as the executives of the Community Center pointed out, it is important to support the social protection structures operating on the island as well as their sustainability, taking into account the island’s geographical characteristics which often make it difficult to serve the citizens.


The Observatory would like to thank all those who took part in the surveys, and especially, those on the islands of Kalymnos and Leros, with the hope that we will meet next year to gain better knowledge of social issues in the South Aegean and we hope to have similar actions and results in the future.