The following charities in Greece have received funds from Project Hope for Greece. In all cases, we have received financial documentation from the charity and monitor their fine work, ensuring that all funds donated on behalf of our generous donors help the people they seek to serve. Follow Project Hope for Greece on Facebook for more news and updates about this worthwhile program.
To Hamoyelo Tou Paidiou (Smile of the Child)
This non-governmental children’s charity organization, known in Greek as To Chamoyelo tou Paidiou, was founded in 1996 by 10-year-old boy named Andreas Yannopoulos. Suffering from a cancerous brain tumor, Andreas’ dream was to ensure that “every child has a reason to smile”. This is what he wrote in his journal. Andreas died 11 days after the organization was founded. Today, his father, Costas, manages the organization in his son’s memory. The Smile of the Child is the biggest and best known children’s charity in Greece. It protects children’s rights and provides them with emotional and psychological support. Children, who suffer from health problems or any type of abuse, neglect or abandonment, are within the organization’s mandate. The group runs children’s shelters in Athens, Thessaloniki, Kavala, Agrinio and on the island of Corfu for homeless and abused children. It also provides social and psychological support to children and their families and mans a 24-hour helpline for children. The group manages Amber Alert – an international tool used by police to notify the public about child abductions and runs the Greek Center for Missing and Exploited Children, assisting the authorities in investigating abductions and helping police find missing children and runaways. The organization depends solely on private donations and the work of its volunteers.
This non-profit organization is playing an important role matching local and international donors (people, organizations and corporations) with Greek charities. It was founded earlier this year by five Greek women – Alexia Katsaounis (formerly employed in the community relations department of the New York Knicks and in the corporate social responsibility department at France Telecom Spain, a mobile network provider in Madrid), Niki Kerameus (lawyer, Harvard graduate), Marina Sotiriou (New York-trained dentist), Myrto Anastassopoulos (entrepreneur) and Ekavi Valleras (formerly with Merrill Lynch Foundation’s global philanthropy department). Their mission is to make sure each and every donation to a Greek charity makes the biggest possible impact. Over the past year, they have been working around the clock to assist more than 65 Greek charities, including orphanages and soup kitchens, meet their daily needs. No donation is too small or too big – from a single bag of used clothes and a box of books to several tons of pasta and a full tank of heating oil to keep an orphanage warm during the winter. Cash donations have also started coming in from people and Greek American community organizations in the United States. Desmos recently partnered with Siemens, the German multinational engineering and electronics conglomerate company, to renovate all the heating and insulation of at least one Greek institution.
This non-profit group fights food waste by organizing the distribution of surplus food for charities in Athens, Patras and Thessaloniki. It is based on volunteers and its existence depends exclusively on the goodwill of others. The group works with 450 soup kitchens and welfare organizations, helping to feed more than 5,000 people daily. Boroume (“We Can” in Greek) also assists people and businesses (more than 100 restaurants, hotels and catering companies) donate freshly cooked food that would have otherwise been thrown away. A growing number of hotels are now contacting Boroume to donate food left over after a conference or a wedding reception. Through social media networks like Facebook (7,400 friends and counting) and Twitter (more than 1,800 followers), Borume is reaching out to Greeks and encouraging them to donate even a few bowls of soup or whatever extra food they might have. The organization can actually help them find a needy family that lives nearby so they can make sure the food does not go to waste. But that’s not all. The group is also helping four local charities keep their heating oil tank full this winter.
Animal Zone International
Animal Zone International (AZI) is a non-profit organization founded in 2007, dedicated to the protection of animals and the environment, the establishment of veterinary clinics on a free or low-cost basis, and providing general education to the public promoting the humane treatment of animals. AZI focuses its operations on the Greek island of Amorgos. Their goals include controlling (through spaying and neutering) and treating (with vaccines and anti-parasitical medicine) the stray cat and dog population, providing shelter to neglected dogs, addressing the issue of neglected and mistreated mules and donkeys, and establishing a local society for the protection of animals.
This non-profit, volunteer-based organization has been providing rehabilitation care to disabled children in Greece since 1937. Today, it has six centers throughout the country – in Thessaloniki, Ioannina, Hania, Volos and Agrinio – that cater to the developmental needs of children suffering from various physical disabilities, such as cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, spinal cord injuries, scoliosis and brain injuries. ELEPAP has assisted more than 100,000 children since 1937. Last year, the organization supported more than 1,600 disabled children. The results of the organization’s holistic early intervention (fostering psychomotor development functionality, independence, speech and communication, cognitive abilities, emotional and psychosocial adjustment, learning skills, education and social integration) are particularly encouraging: more than half of the children assisted by ELEPAP have managed to enrol in mainstream schools. More than 50% of its annual budget (about 7.5 million euros) comes from private and corporate donations. The rest is covered by the state (15%) and contributions from the parents’ social security funds (33%).
Kivotos Tou Kosmou
This non-profit organization was founded by a young Greek Orthodox priest in 1998. Father Antonios has dedicated his life to rescuing hundreds of disadvantaged Greek and immigrant youngsters (including babies) from the brink of social exclusion. The state has entrusted him and his organization with the parental guardianship rights of more than two dozen children whose parents are jobless and homeless. With the help of volunteers, he also cares for some 400 boys and girls who come to his center before and after school each day for a hot meal and help with their homework. Pater Antonios also helps mothers (most of them are single parents) get back on their feet. The goal of Father Antonios is to keep the children with their mothers so they are not institutionalized. To achieve this goal, homeless and jobless mothers with no source of income, are assisted financially (money to pay for rent and cover the cost of utilities). Pater Antonios also helps the mothers find employment. His work has not gone unnoticed. Kivotos (Ark in English) has been awarded by two Greek Presidents (Konstantinos Stefanopoulos in 2003 and Karolos Papoulias in 2005). The European Observatory against Racism and Xenophobia has described Ark as “the brightest example against Racism and Xenophobia in Greece” for the year 2003. And in 2004, the Kivotos was awarded by UNESCO. Kivotos depends exclusively on donations.
Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Kydonias & Apokoronou (Hania, Crete)
The Greek Orthodox Metropolitan of Kydonias and Apokoronou in Hania, Crete, has responded with full force to assist needy people, including entire families, suffering as a result of the country’s dire economic crisis. As many as 950 people flock daily to a soup kitchen run by the Metropolis in Hania. It also runs a shelter for 25 orphaned girls and young women between the ages of 5 and 20 who for various reasons cannot live with their family. During the summer months they operate a camp for some 500 children. They also run a center in Hania that offers much-needed psychological support to dozens of people on a daily basis and operate a helpline. A vocational training program teaches the jobless the art of jewelry making. and offers students free after-school assistance with their homework. They also help the students enrolled at the Ecclesiastical School of Crete, many of whom are also provided with room and board because they either come from destitute or broken families or have lost one or both parents. The Metropolis is currently facing mounting difficulties covering the cost of all these programs through fundraising initiatives and is seeking a more permanent source of financial aid.