(The second Polyclinic is located in Thessaloniki.) It is at this location
in Athens that the inflow of people who have no access to the pub-
lic health system gathers. Greeks and foreigners, people who may be
our next door neighbours, are trying to regain the basic right to health
carethat the public health system has denied them! Staff and volun-
teers of PRAKSIS (doctors, nurses, social workers, psychologists, so-
cial anthropologists, sociologists, pharmacists) are trying to provide
medical care to that part of the population that cannot be taken into
the national health system. People – victims of a system that considers
them “burdens” of an extended austerity plan. PRAKSIS shields the
health of these people and at the same time serves as a witness to the
infringement of their rights, such as that of “life subsistence”.
Six days of terror
In the early hours of 14 January, unidentified assailants fired Kalash-
nikov rifles at the offices of the ruling party, New Democracy, in Syn-
grou Street. Only six days later, public attention was again transfixed:
this time, the target was the shopping center “The Mall.” The explo-
sion happened Sunday morning, and despite a warning telephone call,
two employees were injured. This terrorist attack saw the limelight of
publicity!At the same moment, on those same days, some refugees
were taken to hospital covered in blood. The flagrant violation of their
human rights never made the front pages. Their deaths wouldn’t con-
cern public opinion. The incidents of racism and violence are, howev-
er, the purpose and cause of the Network “1against racism”, of which
PRAKSIS is a member, together with 150 or more entities, NGOs and
New measures and an apology
Three omnibus bills were passed through Parliament during the year.
On 14 January, the first passedregarding changes to the labor market.
On 26 April, a second was voted upon that would lead to upheavalsin
a number of professions. The third omnibus bill, for dismissals in the
public sector, passed on 18 July.
There was, however, an “apology.” The IMF acknowledged what was
commonly felt. That the “medicine” prescribed to the Greek economy
was wrong. On 21 January, Paul Thomsen himself admitted that the
austerity programs were wrongly calibrated. While at the political level
they spoke of “errors” or “correct” prescriptions, at the same time, our
fellow citizens faced extreme poverty. Somewere living without elec-
tricity, while others faced eviction due to their inability to pay their bills.
PRAKSIS has attempted to create a safety net for these affected
groups. The program “SYN STO PLIN” implemented the alternative
proposal of a “minimum guaranteed income” (a measure for which civil
society organizations and their secondary organization, the Greek Net-
work Against Poverty – of which PRAKSIS currently holds the position
of Vice-chairman – have struggled for 10 years).
The “prescription” that PRAKSIS implements for 650 families each
month (in Athens and Thessaloniki)is a preventative program that not
only ”extinguishes fires,” but chiefly reintegrates the breadwinners of
the households back into the labor market. The wide range of services
that are offered (legal counseling, financial education, and vocational
guidance) create a safety net for 2.500 families on an annual basis,
who, under other circumstances would be in danger of losing their
homes and being added to the 3.500 or more homeless (in Athens
alone) for which PRAKSIS runs Homeless Day Centers in Athens, Pi-
reaus and Thessaloniki. The program SYN STO PLIN (which is financed
by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation)gives answers andprovides solu-
tions to a large part of the population at risk.
Hands up for a few vegetables
An image of poverty and destitution in Athens of 2013 was shown all
over the world. Producers and sellers of local markets set up their stalls
outside the Ministry of Agricultural Development and gave away their
products to passers-by free of charge. Hundreds of citizens crowded
around to take a few fruits and vegetables. Each time a sack of pro-
duce was raised in the air, dozens of hands reached out to grab it and
the Greece of 2013 returned to the Greece of decades past.
It is these situations, in which human dignity is at risk daily, that PRAK-
SIS is constantly struggling to reverse, and to stand up for human
rights. During 2013, the Advocacy Officehas had to intensify its efforts
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