The Hellenic Initiative Australia will be assisting children from disadvantaged families in the regional city of Patras through a grant to SOS Children’s Villages Greece.

The 20,000-euro grant was announced on Wednesday, 27 February 2019 at the opening of the Learning and Education Centre at the SOS Social Centre in Patras, which was established in 2017 to support local families facing economic hardship and unemployment.

The Learning and Education Centre aims to assist families to support the learning and educational progress of their children through programs run by qualified educators and counsellors. The Centre assists children to meet the requirements of their daily school curriculum, while developing psychosocial skills, in a safe and educationally appropriate environment. Children will be offered a hot meal or a snack daily.

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

The Hellenic Initiative Australia President, Mr Nicholas Pappas, who attended the opening in Patras, said THI Australia was pleased to be partnering with SOS Children’s Villages Greece to help children who are facing adversity to build better futures for themselves.

“Through this grant we recognise that every child deserves the opportunity to reach their potential,” Mr Pappas said.

“By providing educational support and training, meals, family counselling and a range of important support services, we believe this program will have a lasting impact on the lives of the children and families participating,” Mr Pappas said.

This is the first project THI Australia has funded in the Peloponnese. It also builds on THI’s global support for SOS Children’s Villages through THI US’ funding for food aid program for SOS Villages homes and families supported by SOS Social Centres for three consecutive years, as well as THI Canada’s funding for meals for SOS Villages homes and SOS Babies home in Athens.

The opening was attended by local dignitaries and community representatives.

Welcoming the grant from THI Australia, the National Director of SOS Children’s Villages Greece, Mr George Protopapas said the Patras Learning and Education Centre was responding to the needs of local families facing financial hardship as a result of the deep economic crisis.

“We are delighted and deeply moved that The Hellenic Initiative Australia is supporting this important program and demonstrating love and solidarity for children in need,” Mr Protopapas said.

The Patras Learning and Education Centre has been funded by The Hellenic Initiative Australia, HSBC and supported with furniture and equipment from the 2470 District of Rotary International. This is the fourth Learning and Education Centre established by SOS Children’s Villages Greece.