NYT journal cited an article dedicated to poverty in Greece, on April 18. The article focuses on children who are going hungry as their unemployed families cannot afford expenses due to the crisis.
The article refers to the personal experience of an elementary school principal, Leonidas Nikas who says: “I saw children picking through school trash cans for food; needy youngsters asking playmates for leftovers; and an 11-year-old boy, Pantelis Petrakis, bent over with hunger pains.
“He had eaten almost nothing at home,” Nikas said, sitting in his cramped school office near the port of Piraeus, a working-class suburb of Athens, as the sound of a jump rope skittered across the playground. He confronted Pantelis’ parents, who were ashamed and embarrassed, but admitted that they had not been able to find work for months. Their savings were gone, and they were living on rations of pasta and ketchup.
“Not in my wildest dreams would I expect to see the situation we are in,” Nikas said. “We have reached a point where children in Greece are coming to school hungry. Today, families have difficulties not only of employment, but of survival.”
“The Greek economy is in free-fall, having shrunk by 20 percent in the past five years. Unemployment is more than 27 percent, the highest in Europe, and six out of 10 job seekers say they have not worked in more than a year. These dry statistics are reshaping the lives of Greek families with children, most of whom are arriving at schools hungry or underfed, even malnourished, according to private groups and the government itself.”
“Last year, an estimated 10 percent of Greek elementary and middle-school students suffered from what public health professionals call “food insecurity,” meaning they faced hunger or the risk of it, said Dr. Athena Linos, a professor at the University of Athens Medical School who also heads a food assistance program at Prolepsis, a nongovernmental public health group that has studied the situation. “When it comes to food insecurity, Greece has now fallen to the level of some African countries,” she said.