Rotaract Club Athens’ international project Buy One More! won the first place in the Rotaract Med MDIO Oustanding Awards 2014-15!
Rotaract Club of Athens lives and operates in Athens, the capital of Greece, a European country that is being plagued for the last five years by deep economic crisis, causing a very serious humanitarian crisis.
It’s a fact. Many people don’t have enough to eat and live on the streets, flocking to social mess every day. There are people that are not able to afford the basics, no food, not even medicine. We are not a third world country, with images of malnourished children, but when a country “collapses”, this constitutes a crisis. The Greek crisis is surely not to be compared to the problems some African countries face, but the living conditions in Greece a few years ago can not be compared with today’s life, not to mention comparing Greece with another European country. And as time goes by, this humanitarian crisis aggravates and worsens.
The Greek population living under poverty or facing the risk of poverty due to deprivation and unemployment reached in 2013 6.3 million people (58.4% of the total population). According to data from the Greek National Committee of UNICEF, approximately 686.000 children in Greece (35.4% of total, 4 in 10 children) are under direct risk of poverty and social exclusion. Those numbers are only a sample of the modern Greek tragedy. Within this context, Rotaract Club Athens is called to act and is trying to help the Greek society by every possible means.
The main action of the Club for the Rotarian year 2014-15 was the project “Buy one more!“. It originally started in the context of a Greek action, but it evolved over time into an international action, which crossed the Athenian borders and found the warm support of many foreign Rotaract Clubs.
Not only the main purpose of the project but also the personal challenge for each member was to collect the highest possible amounts of food supplies and essentials to be donated to social foundations. Being part of the Rotaract Med MDIO, our cause was extended to serve many Mediterranean communities, and to reach even farther to the other side of the world. The key to success, however, was to find a clever way to make our idea a reality with the lowest possible cost. The second personal bet we set to ourselves was to sensitize people to help us. People that live under difficult conditions, with the large majority of families wondering how to get by every day, immersed in misery and destitution.
On Saturday, the 6th of December 2014, our international project “BUY ONE MORE” began with its host club in Athens, Greece. Rotaract Club of Athens started this great project and invited many local and international Rotaract Clubs. The main purpose of the project was to gather as much food, essentials, and basic supplies as
possible and donate them to one or more institutions. Rotaract Club Athens contacted five children-aiding institutions which received the donations and gatherings.
The project is effectively executed by the Club members and friends standing at the gates of a supermarket and kindly asking the entering customers to buy one more product to be donated to the institutions we want to help. Τhe Rotaractors also used flyers with a list of the essential products to facilitate the purchase. It will last four months and will end at the end of March 2015. All the participating Clubs summed up all their gatherings and informed the international Rotary community about this big effort:
1. The “Greek Athenian” Part of the project was conducted by Rotaract Club Athens on four Saturdays. We managed to gather 2,8 tons of food supplies and essentials, approximately 5000 euros worth! To this effort also contributed the past President of Rotaract Club Athens and member of Rotary Club Athens, the Past DRR2470 and Past President of Rotaract Club Athens North, many members of Rotaract Club Kifissia, the DRR2470 and Past President of Rotaract Club Dionysos, the DRR2484 and Vice President of Rotaract Club Panorama and members of our twin Rotaract Club Thessaloniki! The gatherings were donated to the following children institutions: : Child Protection Foundation “Hatzikyriakio”, Association of Social Welfare Arogi, Special Boarding School “Agioi Anargyroi”, Athens Municipal Creche and Special Care and Maternal and Child Protection Foundation “I Kivotos tou kosmou”. These five institutions support over 12.500 people daily.
2. The “Croatian” Part was conducted by three Rotaract Clubs. The Med MDIO CR for Croatia Marina Sare announced the participation of her own Club, Rotaract Club Split, of Rotaract Club Zagreb and of Rotaract Club Velika Gorica. The Croatian Clubs managed to gather approximately 1900 kg of food supplies, 3300 euros worth! The gatherings were donated to the Caritas in Velika Gorica, to the Caritas sv. Zupe in Nova Cic, to 20 families that live under bad financial conditions in the city of Zagreb, to a non-civil organization in Split that takes care of 60 disabled people, to 14 poor families listed in an official social welfare center in Split and to another 6 families that live under very bad conditions in the city of Split (approximately 220 people).
3. Turkey was the second country that participated in our project. The President of Rotaract Club Falez from Antalya, Seda Tüzel participated in the 4th day of the Athenian Part together with members of Rotaract Club Athens. (The donation was counted in the Greek Part.)
4. The “Algerian” Part: Algeria is the third country that joined our international service project. The Med MDIO Country Representative of Algeria, Raid Bouch announced the participation of Rotaract Club Alger Icosium and Rotaract Club Alger Renaissance. Rotaract Club Alger Icosium distributed 120kg of food products and essentials to 70 patients of the pediatrics ward of Mustapha Bacha Hospital and Bir Traria Hospital in Algiers. Moreover, the approximately 50 kits (toilet bags,beach kits, supply kits,clothes and packs of diapers) gathered by
Rotaract Club Alger Renaissance, were donated to the Syrian Refugees Reception Center, particularly to children aged between 3 and 14 years old (total: approx. 130 people, approx. 2400 euros).
5. The “Italian” Part: Rotaract Club Tropea and Rotaract Club Palmi made the Italian Part of our International Project “BUY ONE MORE!” reality by gathering almost 1ton of food supplies and essentials, 1400 euros worth! The gatherings of Rotaract Club Tropea (460 kg of food supplies, 750 euros worth) were donated in the form of 31 packages to local charities in the city of Tropea.The social services of the City of Palmi will distribute the gathered supplies 400 kg of food supplies (approx. 650euros worth) to families in great need. (approx. 300 people)
6. Cyprus was the 6th country that participated in our project. The President of Rotaract Club Limassol Amathusia, and Med MDIO Country Representative for Cyprus, Antigoni Karakoulli participated during her visit in Athens on the 24th of January together with members of Rotaract Club Athens. (The donation was counted in the Greek Part.)
7. Montenegro was the 7th country that joined our efforts on 31st of January. Rotaract Club Budva managed to gather 340kg of food supplies, 680euros worth! Rotaract Club Podgorica joined the action of Rotaract Club Budva and donated their monthly fees to the project! In this way, they gathered another 190 kg, 160euros worth! Moreover, there also was a big contribution from Rotary Club Budva. The total amount of 530 kg, 840 euros worth, was donated to the nuns of the Sveti Vid church in Petrovac who take care of old people. (14 people)
8. Jordan joined us on the 13th of February 2015! Rotaract Club of Amman West worked from the 13th till the 19th of February 2015 and managed to gather almost 600kg of food supplies and essentials, 700 euros worth! They were donated to a confidential Social Care Organization for the Elderly that was in great need of basic food products and to the Family Care Society Organization which has been established since 1969 to help Palestinian refugees, the dislocated and the needy.
9. Egypt was the 9th country that participated in BUY ONE MORE!. Rotaract Cairo Royal joined our action on the 21th of February 2015 and managed to gather 100kg of food supplies, 350 euros worth! The gathered packs were distributed to families of 80 children fighting cancer at the National Cancer Institute.
10. Honduras, a country from Central America, also joined our international action. Rotaract Club Usula managed to gather 480kg of food supplies and essential products, 950 euros worth! The gatherings were donated to a local community called Brisas del merendon, where 200 families with 351 children live.
11. Pakistan was the 11th country that participated in the BUY ONE MORE! project. On the 26th of February, the members of the Rotaract Club of SZABIST Karachi Mid-City visited Dar ul Sukun, a home for 300 physically and mentally challenged children and adults and donated almost 100kg of food supplies, 150 euro worth!
12. Rotaract Med MDIO: The weekend of 23-25 January was the awaited one for the visit of the Med MDIO President Vera Damerjian and the Country Representative for Cyprus Antigoni Karakoulli to the Southern Greek District 2470 in Athens, Greece. After the end of the great event of RD2470 held on the 24th of January 2015 in Athens, the Med MDIO President 2014-16 Vera Damerjian, the DRRs of RD2470 and RD2484 Vasilis Pasipoularidis and Stergios Befas, the Med MDIO Country Representatives for Greece and Cyprus Paul Sampatakakis and Antigone Karakoulli together with members of Rotaract Club Athens, participated in the project of Rotaract Club Athens “BUY ONE MORE!”. The 120kg of the above participation were added to the gatherings collected after four successful days of the Athenian Part of this international project.
Total: 11 countries, 22 Rotaract Clubs, 3 Rotary Clubs, 2 DRRs representing their districts, and the Med MDIO President representing the 17 districts of the Med MDIO and all 15 countries.
The goals we achieved are:
Approx. 7500 kg of food supplies and essentials donated to more than 20 social institutions, hospitals and foundations mostly for children.
The gatherings were approximately 15.000 euros worth.
Estimated number of people helped: 14.750