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Donations dive at Greek charity

Wednesday, July 22, 2015 - 01:55

A Greek charity says that capital controls are stifling donations leaving them starved of cash just as economic uncertainty means thousands more families are relying on their help. As Hayley Platt reports demand for support from ''Smile of a Child'' has almost doubled.

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This little boy lives in Athens and relies on charity. He's one of 60,000 children who've been helped by 'Smile of the Child' this year. The number of people seeking medical supplies, counselling and even food from the charity has increased significantly. But it's now in crisis too. More than three weeks of capital controls - halting overseas transactions and limiting cash withdrawals - has reduced donations. Costas Giannopoulos is the charity's President. (SOUNDBITE) (English) 'SMILE OF THE CHILD' PRESIDENT, COSTAS GIANNOPOULOS, SAYING: "There's no movement of money, so the companies can only contribute a little money. The people do not have enough to give us the five euros, ten euros that until now they were supporting us with." 'Smile of the Child' is Greece's largest children's charity - it employs more than 400 people, has 2,000 volunteers and is back up for many public sector organisations. It provides a mobile intensive care unit for newborns. And helps the police find accommodation for children taken into care. The reduction in funds comes when demand has never been greater. At the end of last year the UN children's charity Unicef said that 40 percent of Greek children were living in poverty - the highest in Europe. That was up from 23 percent six years earlier. And the crisis has worsened this year, with the influx of 77,000 migrants from North Africa. (SOUNDBITE) (English) 'SMILE OF THE CHILD' DIRECTOR, COSTAS GIANNOPOULOS, SAYING: "To see that there is another Greece that is fighting like hell to make sure we keep our dignity and we keep the children living in Greece alive, and also the children coming from all over the world trying to get to Europe." Greek banks reopened on Monday. But capital controls remain in place. These little ones are too young to understand the consequences. But the impact of the crisis is likely to last well into their adulthood.

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Donations dive at Greek charity

Wednesday, July 22, 2015 - 01:55