Greek charity head says hundreds of children's lives at risk as group struggles to continue care for abandoned kids

Although banks in Greece have reopened, the country is in a dire position following negotiations with EU leaders

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The Independent Online

Hundreds of Greek children abandoned by their parents face more misery as the head of the charity caring for them said his organisation could not support them much longer.

The charity Smile of the Child, started by Kostas Giannopoulous after his five-year-old son died from cancer 20 years ago, is the sole support for 350 children across 11 homes in Athens and runs a national 24-hour helpline.

The organisation is desperately low on donations as Greece continues its inexorable slide into chaos as leaders haggle over how to bring down the towering national debt.

Mr Giannopoulous told Sky News that his homes may have to close within months as companies and people stop donating.

"It's devastating. 380 children are expecting us to continue their lives, so there is no way we can abandon them for a second time," he said.

As president of the Smile of the Child, Mr Giannopoulous, who sold two IT companies before establishing the charity, said he was appealing to Greeks overseas and foreign investors for help.

Many of the children Mr Giannopoulous’s organisation helps have no-one else to turn to. Three siblings are currently in care after their father – the sole carer – committed suicide.

Others have never met their parents, having been abandoned by their mothers shortly after their birth and left at the mercy of Greek hospitals and charitable organisations like Smile for the Child.

“Greece is financially falling apart and under this situation ‘The Smile of the Child’ is also falling apart,” Mr Giannopoulous said in a press statement.

“Even though today we are here, tomorrow we don’t know if we will be able to stand by those children in need of support,” he added.