With its 7th Sea Crossing initiative, Axion Hellas has once again brought support to vulnerable groups on remote Greek islands.
BY PANOS KOKKINIS
THIRTEEN rigid-inflatable boats (RIBs), 145 volunteers, four remote Greek islands, 2,500 free medical checks, 75 educational activities and countless genuine welcoming smiles offered by islanders are among the figures from this year’s social support mission, organised by the non-profit organisation Axion Hellas, which ran from April 5 and 15. Setting off from Anavyssos, southeast of Athens, the organisation’s seventh mission stopped at the islands of Astypalea, Tilos, Halki and Kastellorizo, the final destination.
Hundreds of residents of these four remote islands greeted the 145 volunteers, who arrived on RIBs, larger vessels and aircraft of AEGEAN and Olympic Air to offer quality medical services, provided by 50 doctors with specialisations in 23 fields, as well as three dentists and 10 nurses, all affiliated with Axion Hellas.
In addition, parents and children were given the opportunity to experience dozens of interesting activities, including plays, performances and seminars offered by the organisation’s educational and cultural activities teams. These covered themes ranging from healthy eating and environmental sea protection to support for local enterprises.
As part of the organisation’s social program, a number of schools, playgrounds, sportsgrounds and open-air gyms were either constructed from scratch or redeveloped. In addition, ports and beaches were cleaned up; infrastructural improvements were carried out on two military outposts; and books, art materials, games, sports equipment and technological equipment were donated to schools.
The mission culminated in a triumphant finale in the form of a concert by popular Greek singer Alkistis Protopsalti, who performed for free for approximately 400 spectators – residents, volunteers and soldiers – in Kastellorizo.
According to Vassilis Pateras, the organisation’s president and founder: “This was a very difficult campaign; the weather conditions were extremely adverse. All the volunteers and the Axion Hellas action teams responded brilliantly and carried us to success. Among the things that shall remain in our memories from this mission are: seeing the amazing response of the children from all the schools on the islands; hearing our national anthem performed by the military personnel at the Megisti base on Kastellorizo; and saving someone from certain death by diagnosing a very serious heart condition. Axion Hellas will continue its efforts at an even greater pace, maintaining its pledge to support the citizens of Greece.”