Community House Damaris is the only long-term shelter and recovery program for survivors of sex trafficking and their babies in the country of Greece.
CHD offers safe housing in an undisclosed location to survivors of sex trafficking and sexual exploitation. Our goal is to provide a secure environment for women and their young children to walk through their healing journey.
Along with our Hospitality Program, CHD offers a restorative, long-term Day Program that consists of three phases. Our goal is to fully equip survivors with the necessary therapeutic and life skills to build a healthy, independent life.
Cases are referred to CHD from local intervention organizations working with women on the streets or in refugee camps, and from UNHCR. These referrals will be followed up by our staff. Cases meeting our demographic and program model will begin an interview process. Women that are a good fit for CHD and who desire to follow our program are transferred into the safe house.
The Damaris Safe Housing Program is a residential-style home in an undisclosed location housing five women and their babies. We offer each resident a private bedroom and balcony with shared common spaces including a kitchen, salon, and two bathrooms. There is also space for the babies to play and the women to relax on our rooftop garden. We believe that a comfortable, secure environment is needed for our survivors to undertake their recovery journey.
After participants have completed Phase I, we provide transitional apartment-style housing for women entering Phase II. The Transitional Living Program is designed to assist transitioning individuals and families from the insular and protective environment of a shelter to an environment that will foster independence. Women in this stage of programming are meanwhile completing job training and internships.
RECOVERY DAY PROGRAM
timeline // six to twelve months
After new participants move into the safe house, they begin their recovery journey at the Day Program. Girls are equipped with life skills in sessions such as parenting, budgeting, anger management, Greek language courses, and the 12 Steps Recovery Program. This phase lasts from six months to one year, depending on each individual’s needs. Every six weeks, we take a break from our Day Program to hold a Celebration Day – honoring each progress step achieved. We also have a beginner job training and empowerment project through the Damaris Bracelet Project. Bracelets are available at our main office in Athens, by special email request, at Damaris sponsored events, and on our forthcoming online store.
timeline // six to twelve months
Participants typically enter the Transitional Living Program or sometimes begin living independently while they start our job shadowing program in their chosen area of interest and skill. Participants wishing to pursue a career in early childhood development also have the opportunity for onsite job shadowing at the CHD Daycare at our main office. Our daycare is not open to the public as its programs are provided exclusively for the use of staff and program participants. We also offer in-house internships in the field of office reception. Otherwise, we partner with other NGOs and Greek businesses to provide job training to Phase II participants.
timeline // three to seven years
Graduated participants begin the after care stage as they adjust to independent living surrounded by a caring family community. FollowCare is the formal extended support service to women who have graduated or left CHDs’ programs. It is important in program delivery to our beneficiaries that they gain a sense of community and know they are truly cared about. Even when participants have completed the formal programs offered by CHD, they will still encounter challenges in adjusting into society at large and in making a success of their lives. With the guidance of the staff and volunteers assigned to the FollowCare program, they are offered the support they need to overcome such challenges.