Epikentro – The new ActionAid initiative in Greece
Epikentro ActionAid Hellas
ActionAid stands by our fellow citizens with a new proposal to address economic and social exclusion
At a press conference held on Monday, May 29, ActionAid Hellas presented its new project in Greece: Epikentro ̶ a multi-purpose venue for action and change in the Municipality of Athens.
Epikentro was created to support the local population affected by the prolonged economic recession, who live in conditions of economic and social exclusion. To achieve this, Epikentro hosts a comprehensive programme that offers free, innovative services to different age groups: children, adolescents and adults.
In addition to educational activities, as well as actions associated with the refugee crisis, Epikentro is yet another way for ActionAid Hellas to bring its 45-year experience of development programmes to Greece. As with every ActionAid project, Epikentro refrains from charity in favour of a different path that leads to permanent change. It opts for empowerment by encouraging people to participate in its programmes and to use their own strength to change their lives permanently.
ActionAid decided to start from the Region of Attica, as it is the most populous area in the country and, as such, it has the largest concentration of residents affected by the crisis. Epikentro started in the Municipality of Athens and ActionAid’s vision is for this to be only the beginning. It is located at 93 Petras Street, Kolonos, in a 4-storey building. This is the community with the highest number of inhabitants living in extreme poverty or on very low incomes. The initiative is also supported by the Municipality of Athens.
In addition, as ActionAid deeply believes in "collective effort", it joined forces with 14 leading, innovative organisations and specialised professionals, in order to support Epikentro in providing the best possible services and programmes.
The programmes include psychosocial support; women's empowerment; computer courses; legal and accounting counseling; job search and employability for adults; as well as engineering; robotics; carpentry; supplementary teaching and English language lessons for children and adolescents.
Attending the event, Maria Stratigakis, Vice Mayor for Social Solidarity, Welfare and Equality of the Municipality of Athens, said that "The Municipality supports the initiative, as it offers truly innovative programmes and services to our fellow citizens who have been affected by the long economic crisis, in the particularly vulnerable 4th District. It is a project that will relieve children and adolescents, as well as adults, especially women".
Gerasimos Kouvaras, General Director of ActionAid Hellas, said that "Epikentro is a project driven by justice rather than charity; solidarity rather than pity; the development of opportunities rather than a handout. We started with Kolonos, since many of the 70,000 inhabitants of the Municipality of Athens, who live or are at risk of living in economic and social exclusion, reside there".
Eleni Chatziioannou, Director of Epikentro, presenting the programmes and services of the new project, said that "Epikentro was created out of love, care and a sense of responsibility. The ActionAid and the Epikentro teams will work on a daily basis with the same love and sense of responsibility to make Epikentro a real multi-purpose venue of action and change that will give the people it was created for strength and hope for a better life.
Most of the project is funded by a donation from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation. The project is also funded by donations from the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation, the A.G. Leventis Foundation and the Vodafone Foundation. Donations from the aforementioned institutions, as well as from companies and other bodies, cover about 90% of the project’s cost.
The remaining 10% will be covered by donations from individuals, under the new Friend of ActionAid programme. Through this new programme, people can support Epikentro by donating €11 per month, giving our fellow citizens free access to its programmes and services.