Supported Activities

It is evident that all activities of the Foundation concern society as a whole and usually aim at the dissemination of intellectual wealth. However, some of the initiatives we have supported over the years have been about providing material help to sensitive groups of people or about protecting the fauna and flora of our country and the region.
Specifically, in the context of our long-term relationship with Cerebral Palsy Greece, the Society has provided grants for its members’ training in special education or speech therapy. More importantly, perhaps, it has organised two highly successful Performing Art and Experiential Seminars which brought together over 250 young people from Greece and abroad, with or without disabilities, in a creative combination of dance, theatre, music and visual art.
Wishing to promote the social rehabilitation and reintegration of children, adolescents and young adults with serious psychosocial problems such as mental illness, mental retardation and their attendant difficulties, we supported the Association for the Psychosocial Health of Children and Adolescents in setting up its second Community Home. The Home hosts eight to ten adolescents and youths five days a week, so as to ensure a homelike atmosphere and setting and to encourage the families to have them back with them over the weekends.
Similar aid has been provided over the years to many associations dedicated to socially vulnerable groups in Attica and beyond. In a combination of social contribution and education, the Foundation supports
professional training schemes for the disabled as well as production units in the form of workshops. The most recent examples from the last two years include the Parents and Friends’ Association for the Mentally
Retarded Aghios Nikolaos, the Theotokos Foundation, the Recreation Centre for Occupying Mentally Retarded Children Parent and Guardian Board Aghios Panteleimon, the Saint Demetrius Children’s Care and Welfare Centre, the Society of Parents, Guardians and Friends of People with Mental Disabilities Ergastiri, the Association of the Parents-Guardians and Friends of Autistic Children S.O.S., the Society for the Protection of Disabled People of Karystos and the Association of the Parents-Guardians and Friends of Autistics in Evros Aghios Vassileios.
This indicative list demonstrates the great range of needs and our inability to support all the worthy causes submitted to us. However, we shall stop at just two more projects we were able to support. The first one is that of the Heliotropio Social and Environmental Action Society which, as part of its educational programmes, produces special educational material to promote the direct, experiential perception of nature for children with visual problems. According to the Society itself, these programmes “are designed to prevent the marginalisation of people with disabilities and reinforce their personality, to raise environmental awareness and to promote a change of attitudes towards disability. We have made a series
of models and educational toys which contribute to experiential learning, and we have carried out a series of events which brought together children with and without disabilities”. The second undertaking, of a more
recreational nature, is addressed to children in hospitals and child care institutions, to whom the New Art Scene of the Theatre of Neos Kosmos gives theatrical performances; indeed, the actors sometimes happened to
perform before just one child.
Social initiatives are based primarily on volunteerism, the spirit of which has been traditionally promoted in our country by the Boy and Girl Scouts (Soma Hellinon Proskopon-Scouts of Greece) and the Greek Guiding
Association, two organisations which our Foundation has supported over a long time. Since 1994 we have added Elix, Conservation Volunteers Greece, a Non Governmental Organisation which promotes volunteerism
and organises volunteer work programmes for youths from all over the world. These programmes are about contributing volunteer work for worthy community projects in collaboration with local associations,
environmental organisations and societies which decide upon the project and provide hospitality to the volunteers. Elix has already organised over 300 projects in 104 communities around Greece, with the participation of more than 6,200 young people.
In the area of environmental protection, the Foundation has been associated for more than 25 years with the Philodassiki Enossi Athinon, which has undertaken repeated drives for reforestation in Attica and
elsewhere, and promotes public awareness through its magazine Fysi kai Zoi. Another long and regular association is with the Hellenic Society for the Protection of Nature; in the last ten years the Society, as the Greek representative of the Foundation for Environmental Education-FEE, has been using the Foundation’s donation to run the International Programme Eco-Schools which aims to promote environmental awareness, education and changing attitudes of students in matters relating to the environment.
According to the Society, the “Eco-Schools Programme encourages children to participate in the decision-making, the design and the implementation of actions aimed at environmental protection”. Our Foundation also
supported the Society’s initiative to collect and publish the articles written by Myrto Apergi for the magazine I Fysi in a single volume under the title Experiences from Greek Nature.
Another crucial contribution was to the early education programmes of the Gaia Centre of the Goulandris Natural History Museum, which were designed in collaboration with the Natural History Museum of London
and aimed at awakening the visitor’s environmental awareness. Again in the area of environmental issues we must include our contribution to the Third International Environmental Symposium The Danube-A Network for a
Living River, held in October, 1999 under the auspices of His All Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. The Symposium highlighted the problems in the ecosystem of the river Danube as a result of pollution, overexploitation and destruction from the then-recent war in Yugoslavia.
Many societies deal with animal protection, given the urgent need to rescue the most specific species threatened with extinction. One of those we have often supported is the Association of Ecologists of Hydra, which started by protecting the traditional character of the island of Hydra and later made a key goal of protecting the marine environment of the eastern Peloponnese and the Saronic Gulf. Other societies we have supported include the Sea Turtle Protection Society of Greece Archelon; the Arcturos Environmental Centre for wildlife and environmental protection, mainly on Mount Pindos; the Silva Project for the preservation of the small Skyrian poneys; and the Hellenic Wildlife Hospital on Aegina, which has treated thousands of wild animals, most of which are from species protected by national and EU legislation.
In our country, all the institutions which deal with the protection of nature and the environment have also undertaken to educate and increase the public’s awareness, such as the Greek Society for Environmental
Information and Education, which we have supported repeatedly. The title of the society condenses the entire problem of Greece in this area and brings us to the following chapters, which deal in more detail with our activities in Research and Education.