Two organisations supported by The Hellenic Initiative Australia were recognised this week in community awards presented by the President of the Hellenic Republic, Mr Prokopis Pavlopoulos.
The Citizens Movement for an Open Society’s Νησίδων Ποιότητας 2019 (Models of Excellence) awards, which honoured eight NGOs and volunteer-based initiatives, were presented to Desmos Non-Profit Foundation and Emfasis Foundation at the Old Parliament House in Athens on Tuesday 26 November.
“We are very proud that two of our partner NGOs have been recognised for the amazing work they do assisting people in need and empowering civil society in Greece,” said The Hellenic Initiative Australia CEO, Stergitsa Zamagias-Hill. “We congratulate Desmos and Emfasis and all the volunteers who support their efforts.”
The awards were presented to Desmos Vice-President Lena Papalexopoulou and Emfasis Co-Founder Maria Karra.
“We were delighted to have had Lena and Maria as our guest speakers at The Hellenic Initiative Australia’s Rising to the Challenge events in September, where they spoke about the impact of their work and the ongoing need for the Greek diaspora’s support,” Ms Zamagias-Hill said.
Emfasis was honoured for its social street work programs, which last year provided critical outreach services to more than 1300 homeless and rough sleepers in Athens and Piraeus through its Mobile Support Units.
“This recognition belongs to our tireless volunteers, who have given more than 150,000 hours during more than 1000 shifts on the streets of Athens and Piraeus supporting people in need,” said Maria Karra.
Desmos’ unique and innovative I Care & Act program, implemented in collaboration with the Lambrakis Foundation, was recognised for its role in instilling the values of volunteerism, charity, solidarity and active citizens in schools across Greece. More than 63,110 students at 550 public schools have participated in the program in the past four years.
“The values that we cultivate in our students today will determine what kind of citizens will live in our society tomorrow and that’s why we are passionate about empowering them to be active and responsible citizens in our community,” said Lena Papalexopoulou.
The Hellenic Initiative Australia is funding the Emfasis Mobile Support Unit for a second year, while this is the third year it is supporting the I Care & Act Program.