Hellenic Initiative Australia renews grant for SOS family support programs in Patras

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The Hellenic Initiative Australia has renewed its support for SOS Children’s Villages Greece, providing children from disadvantaged families in the regional city of Patras with critical educational and nutritional support.

The €20,000 grant renewal will enable more than 200 children to attend the Learning and Education Centre at the SOS Social Centre in Patras, which assists families facing economic hardship and unemployment.

The Hellenic Initiative Australia President, Mr Nicholas Pappas AM, said THI Australia was pleased to be continuing its collaboration with SOS Children’s Villages Greece and supporting the program in Patras for a second year.

Mr Pappas met with SOS National Director George Protopapas in Athens in February 2020 and had an opportunity to visit the new SOS Education Centre in Kypseli.

“I was reminded that Kypseli means ‘beehive’ and the children were indeed like bees descending upon this oasis of education,” said Mr Pappas.

Classes at the SOS Learning & Education in Patras. Photo: Supplied

“It was pleasing to learn that the Patras Centre reached capacity in its first year and we congratulate George Protopapas and his amazing team on the success of SOS in Greece. THI Australia remains deeply proud of the role it has played in enabling SOS to achieve its goals for Patras,” Mr Pappas said.

Through daily classes and training, hot meals and snacks, family counselling and a range of important support services, the program helps children and youth to continue their education, build their self-esteem and develop transferable skills to prepare them for the job market.

The program also supports parents to pursue job and vocational training opportunities and provides counselling to help them support their child’s progress.

SOS Children’s Villages Greece National Director, Mr George Protopapas, welcomed the continued support from The Hellenic Initiative Australia. Mr Protopapas said the Patras Learning and Education Centre, which opened in February 2019, was responding to the needs of local families facing financial hardship as a result of the deep economic crisis.

“We are very pleased with the response to the program in the first 12 months. There is still a great need for such a program in Greek society and we are happy to be working with THI Australia to give these children a chance for a better future,” Mr Protopapas said.

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