The Social Work Foundation began its activity in 1946 as the Hellenic office of a foreign volunteer humanitarian organization which visited Greece after the end of World War II in order to help with the country’s reconstruction through social programs. Manned with social workers as well as other scientists, it became established in the Greek area and acknowledged for the pioneering services it developed and implemented in the Social Welfare sector, contributing at the same time in the development of Social Work in our country as well. In 1967, the members and a group of friends and volunteers of the Organization founded the Social Work Foundation (S.W.F.), in its current legal form. In its more than 60 years of operation, the Foundation has developed many and diverse pioneering programs in various areas of Attica, as well as the Countryside.
These programs were based on social studies which lead the way to identifying the needs of specific social groups, to prioritizing those needs as well as to designing the services. Throughout the six decades of the Foundation’s operation, several pioneering for their times social programs began. Along with the Hadjipaterion Center which is its main activity today, the main programs developed by the Social Work Foundation throughout all these years are the following:
Family Service Centre (1967 – 1970)
Pilot program for counseling and social care to individuals and families in crisis situations, referred to by the Ministry of Health, Welfare and other Social Services.
Urban Community Development Program (1954 – 1982)
It was implemented in two urban regions of Athens (Ano Petralona and Agios Ioannis Renti) aiming at improving the citizens’ standard of living and living conditions through community social work methods. It provided an opportunity to the members of each community to cooperate and actively participate in dealing with common needs and seek effective assistance to cope with their particular issues whose persistence was an obstacle to their healthy living.
Refugees’ Social Service (1983 – 2005)
Founded in 1983, acting on a proposal from the Greek Office of the High Commissioner of the United Nations based on the findings of a social study on foreign populations living in the broader area of Athens (1982). The purpose of this Service was to provide social care to asylum seekers and refugees from Asian and African countries. The activities of this innovative service aimed at strengthening and supporting refugees so that they meet their basic survival needs and be integrated smoothly into the Greek society. In addition, the Social Work Foundation had already acquired yearlong experience by implementing programs for refugees of Greek descent (Asia Minor, Russia, Rumania, Turkey, Cyprus until 1974). Throughout its operation, the Foundation was the official Operational Partner of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. It served also as a progressive service model for other support agencies for foreign populations and completed its task in December 2005.
Specialized Vocational Training Center (1989 – 2002)
S.W.F. launched equal opportunities in occupation in Information Technologies in our country, as well as the first counseling service in Supportive Technologies. Between 1989 and 2002, it implemented a large number of Vocational Training Programs for Individuals with Motor Disabilities, aged 18 and above, in information technologies professions, programs subsidized by the European Union. Until 2002 approximately 250 individuals were trained whereas about 62% of the trainees were vocationally rehabilitated.