With the Greek sovereign debt extending into 2012, Greek parents with economic and financial difficulties are giving up their children – a surprise for a country where family ties are traditionally strong.
According to a BBC World Service report, more Greek parents are giving up their children because they can no longer afford to feed their children, much less themselves.
In the story published today, the BBC recounts the story of a four-year-old kindergartner who was left with her teacher, with the following note:
In an interview with the BBC, a young Orthodox priest who runs a youth centre in Athens said that he, too, has seen an increase in the number of children dropped off at the shelter.
"Over the last year we have hundreds of cases of parents who want to leave their children with us - they know us and trust us," Father Antonios said. "They say they do not have any money or shelter or food for their kids, so they hope we might be able to provide them with what they need."
However, this trend seems to be concentrated mainly in Athens, where traditional family and neighbourhood ties are diluted.
Charity associations in Greece believe that the Mediterranean country’s economic crisis has not only resulted in a higher number of Greeks living in poverty and losing their jobs, but it has also altered the welfare system of the country.
Besides the fact that donations are sharply lower than the pre-crisis levels, charity organisations now have to pay taxes they were once exempt from.
Greece is not the only country that has been has seen its social fabric tear apart. Last year, poverty rates in the United States hit its highest level on record, with an estimated 46 million, or 15.1 percent of its population, living below the nation’s official poverty line.
According to the U.S. census, more than 1 in 5 American children are living in poverty, or 15.7 million.
Over in the United Kingdom, experts have suggested that the economic turmoil and recession be the causes for a 5 percent spike in divorce rates in 2010 – the first increase for the region since 2003.