The Athens-based non governmental organisation (NGO) The Smile of the Child has launched its Canadian campaign to raise funds for the establishment of a new centre on Lesvos.

A leader in child care and protection in Greece, the plans are to base the facility out of a formerly-donated mansion.

Currently in a decrepit state, once renovated, the organisation expects to accommodate upwards of 25 children known to be vulnerable to exploitation, especially refugee minors arriving unaccompanied to the island.

The current fundraising target now stands at CAD$140,000 (AU$142,000) to cover basic repairs and renovations.

Once fully operational, the cost of running the facility and providing children with adequate shelter, food and health care is expected to be CAD$700,000 (AU$711,000) per annum.

Thanks to initial donations from Canada, however, namely from the Greek Ladies Philoptochos Society of Ottawa and a significant contribution from Philhellene and former ambassador of Canada to the Hellenic Republic (2011-2015), Robert Peck, initial renovations are soon expected to commence.

In recognition of the generosity and leadership shown, the NGO has decided to name the new facility The House of Canada and the Americas (HOCATA).

To help ensure the facility’s ongoing success, a number of fundraising initiatives are in the works, along with plans to reach out to potential donors in both the United States and Americas.

Founded in 1996, The Smile of the Child currently runs 11 homes across Greece, where more than 800 children are provided with a safe haven.

Since opening its doors, more than 52,000 children have received its support and assistance.

The organisation also continues to play a key role in search and rescue missions to find missing children, along with helping to provide widespread health and social services for children in need.

All contributions to the HOCATA project, big or small, will make a difference. If you are interested in making a contribution, visit