When children and young migrants are not provided with information on the available support during their journey, it puts them at risk of homelessness, starvation, and exploitation, especially with the current pandemic. Without easily accessible, child-friendly and up-to-date information, children and families face many obstacles in getting the support they need, being it food, shelter or medical services. Covid-19 adds a strain through unsafe sanitary conditions in crowded camps and ever-changing conditions to access those basic needs. Dariâ* and her one-year-old daughter Alina* unfortunately knew this too well before they found support through the Miniila app.


Following the death of her husband, Dariâ left her drug-abusive environment in Iran for Europe. After a perilous journey through Turkey, Lesbos and Moria camp, mother and daughter eventually reached Athens, in hope to get some rest, food, and a place to stay while their asylum application was being treated.

Unfortunately, safe shelters and food distribution remain scarce for asylum seekers on the mainland and Dariâ is faced with the only options of the street or a dirty dormitory. Dariâ doesn’t have money to pay rent and any roof is better than the street, or at least so she believes. But she soon realises that her relief is temporary. Although protective from the unforeseeable conditions of the street, the place is dirtier than she thought, and alcohol abuse and violence are the common rule as soon as the night arrives. They lack food, and they urgently need appropriate clothes and items for her one-year-old daughter.


In search for help, Dariâ eventually finds out about the Miniila mobile app on Facebook, through an afghan asylum seekers support page. By scrolling through the app, she finds the free helpline of the Smile of the Child and directly gets in touch. She is listened to by a Farsi interpreter on the other end of the line and, shortly after, an outreach worker from the Greek organisation reaches her and her daughter. Dariâ and Alina are provided with food, warm clothes, milk and pampers. They are moved to a hotel where they can sleep safely, take a shower and wash their clothes. From now on, Dariâ and her daughter know they can stay in touch with the organisation and get supported to stay safe meanwhile waiting for their asylum decision. Thanks to Miniila, they also have access to a whole other range of support, such as legal advice, information on their rights, or fun and educational activities, with just one click and decent Wi-Fi.


Until today, alone or accompanied, as early as one year’s old or close to adulthood, too many children are facing the same challenges in meeting their needs, not only in Greece but elsewhere in Europe. Miniila brings information to all children in migration about the support available, helps them stay safe and empowers them to make the best decisions for themselves.


The Miniila app is available in 8 countries and in 5 languages. It features more than 200 organisations and has been downloaded more than 400 times. To ensure children and young newcomers are welcomed in our society in the most decent way, Miniila will continue working with local organisations providing support to children and make their services visible. Above all, we all need to spread the word so that this tool can help more children like Alina in the future. Find more information on the Miniila website and the Miniila Facebook page. You can also download it from the App Store and Google Play store.