On Sunday, March 24th, 2019 the Fraternity of Athenian-Hydriots hosted PROJECT CONNECT's Irene Notias and Fani Tseliou presentation of the Adopt a Ship, a maritime educational program, to the island of Hydra's educators and officials.
It was decided, relatively with short notice, to take advantage of the 3 day weekend due to the national holiday celebrating Greek Independence Day. Several attendees made a weekend out of it observing the famous Hydra Historical Archives Museum and Independence Day parade.
The event, held at the President of the fraternity, Mr John Sahinis’s historical residence in Hydra, commenced by Mr Sahinis with an introduction of the officials and why he thought this program was a good idea to be implemented in the elementary school of Hydra, basis the island’s deep roots in shipping.
Ms Notias explained that Adopt a Ship is a project-based learning program specially geared for young elementary age school children. She added that the NPO, PROJECT CONNECT, embraced this program immediately because it clearly opens children’s horizon’s and this is what Project Connect is all about – offering opportunities and hope to the young who ask for it.
Adopt a Ship, she said, presents a whole new world to children like different vocational role models and at a critical time where Greece has been coming out of a very long crisis which negatively affected the average Greek family and caused “brain drain”. It left college students and graduates without the work experience they need to begin careers and hence, earn a living. A repetitive cycle that Greece has seen before, she claimed, like her father who left his country, in 1946 at age 36 and many other Greek seafarers who funded the troubled Greek economy then, by sending their wages to their families in Greece.
The program is authorized by the Ministry of Education and already running in 7 schools thanks to enlightened heads of the shipping companies who provided the vessels captains to speak to the students and their respective teachers: Ariston Navigation, Phoenix Shipping & Trading, Medferry, Shipping, Apollonia, Starbulk, Lotus Shipping, and Eurobulk.
Mr George Gourdomichalis, Managing Director of Phoenix Shipping & Trading S.A., which has provided 2 managed vessels to the program, one assigned to Public School No. 5 in Piraeus and one to Athens College Grade School, spoke about the distorted view that a portion of Greek society has of the shipping industry at large, as well as the importance of the industry to Greece's society and economy. He further emphasized that increasing awareness of the children and inter alia their families of the breadth and importance of Greek shipping would result not only in a better understanding of its importance but also lay the ground work and seeds for a coming generation of professionals in the industry whether at sea or on shore. It is only to the benefit of both the industry and society to attract further interest in this effort.
Eurobulk’s Operations Manager, Captain Manoilis Lykovardis, and his English teacher wife, Effie Bafalouka-Lykovardis, travelled to the island to view the presentation and encouraged PROJECT CONNECT to keep it going, after all his company provided a vessel.
Among the guests, present at this briefing were the Mayor of Hydra, Mr. George Koukoudakis, Hydra’s No.1 Elementary school principle, Mrs M. Roussis, Director of the Merchant Marine Academy of Hydra, Commander Hellenic Coast Guard, Vagelis Danopoulos, Hydra Ex-Mayor, Mr K. Anastopoulos, and CEO RXP International, Robert Palm, head of the Museum, Mrs K. Adamopoulou, and President of Small Greek Islands Association, Mr El. Kehagioglou.
For further info contact:Fraternity of Athenian-Hydriots