The Social Inclusion Observatory visits the Community Centers of Kos and Rhodes

The Social Inclusion Observatory visited the islands of Kos and Rhodes for the second year in a row to carry out the “On-Site Surveys for 2022” with the aim of including the largest islands of the Region in the final study as well as recording any changes in comparison with last year’s survey on social-economic issues. The help and assistance of the Community Centers with a Roma annex of Kos and Rhodes, which practically contributed to the realization of the surveys, were valuable to us.

 

In Kos, the visit began with a warm welcome by the staff of the Community Center and the Department of Social Policy and Gender Equality of the Municipality of Kos. Interviews were held with citizens (beneficiaries of social allowances), the officials of the Community Center and the Department of Social Policy, as well as the Mayor’s advisor on Social Protection, Education, Culture & Sports matters, Ms. Stamatia Kantarzi. Summarizing the findings of the survey, it should be noted that tourism has returned to the level it was in 2019 and monopolizes the economic activity on the island, while seasonal work has intensified, but with low wages, mainly for women. In addition, the immigrant population appears to be integrated into the local society and presents similar characteristics to the local population, while the living conditions of the refugees in the Reception and Identification Centers appear to have improved due to the decrease in their population. Finally, the Roma Annex continues the individualized approach with the Roma community, while struggling to keep Roma students in schools, after the two years of the pandemic.

 

In Rhodes, the research team discussed with citizens, the executives of the Community Center and “Help at Home” program of the Municipality of Rhodes, as well as the Deputy Mayor of Social Policy and Health, Mr. Georgios Triandos. The main findings refer to the lack of workforce in the tourism sector, which can be related, as a disincentive, to the demanding working conditions of the sector in question. However, many Roma (mainly women) worked in the sector this year with an encouraging performance. The Roma Annex makes a significant effort with encouraging results, following a personalized approach similar to that of the Kos Annex. A lot of children have been enrolled in school, while many Roma are moving into houses in the city. An inhibiting factor is the high cost of rent on the island and that of energy. A common point of all the interviews with the managers of the social structures was the need to strengthen them in terms of staff and resources. As reported by the employees themselves, the number of those served is extremely large, and this is why they make enormous efforts to cover all pillars of intervention (beyond the benefit policy).

 

The Regional Social Inclusion Observatory of the South Aegean would like to thank all the participants and its partners for the implementation of the action.