BRACE Social Cooperative Enterprise

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BRACE Social Cooperative Enterprise: CARING FOR CARERS.

GraciaMarousi, Gracia
Year Founded:
Organization type: 
Project Stage:
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Brace Social Coop acts on supporting caregivers to develop empathic, secure relationships and positive connection with caretakers and minimize burn out risk through the Marte Meo program. Furthermore, supports children avoid poverty by building social and financial skills through Aflatoun program.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if your parents, teachers and all those that take care of you could help you activate your strengths to avoid poverty?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

The recession in Greece raised depression, social exclusion, poverty and the number of people in need. It brought significant emotional burden to caregivers, either professionals or relatives, increased cases of burn out and violence. Caregivers are in need for practical, lucid guidance to support adopted children, children with special needs, elderly, depressed people. Number of children in risk of entrapment into poverty increased.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Brace SCE acts on these issues by offering two International Certified, Action Learning Training Programs to carers and children. The first program, Marte Meo, enhances the positive interaction and empathic connection. Goal is to promote cooperation and autonomy. The more braced and trained the carer is, the more effective his support in emotional and intellectual development of the one in need is. Interaction changes, alienating the risk of violence and burn out. The second program, Aflatoun, gives teachers new means to support children in avoiding social exclusion. From kindergarten to high-school a child is supported to develop cooperation skills, positive sense of self and financial knowledge. Thus, poverty danger is limited.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Training of a mother and a special educator of a child in autistic spectrum. Both, the mother and professional, are asked to film few minutes of an everyday life interaction with the child. After we locate the supportive elements of the interaction on the film, we develop a therapeutic plan, how to improve the interaction and build emotional and secure connection between the two. Step by step, through repetitive filming, we guide the carer to develop empathy, positive leading and secure attachment. The qualitative impact is enormous. Aflatoun Training Imagine a child facing poverty. To be given the chance to develop positive sense of self, cooperation skills, to learn how to build an enterprise and become agent of his life change...

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

For every two trainees that pay for their training, Brace offers free training to a caregiver with low income. Trainees to the Marte Meo Therapist course participate in a free Marte Meo Family Counseling Program. Each has to offer support at least to four families. The developed free counseling program already supports 37 families. 45 Marte Meo Practitioners in 10 cities of Greece. The first 9 trainers due to be certified in July 2014. Planned training for academic years 2014-2015: Training of 10 psychologists in Athens supporting secure bonding between parents and adopted child. Training of 60 employees of a Non Profit Organization for Autism. Training for family counselors. Training for elderly carers and Dementia. Training on emotional and intellectual child development in kinder gardens. Aflatoun implementation is due to start in October 2014.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

Brace is building an extensive network of certified independent partners throughout Greece, developing a wide range of training programs. Aims to cultural transformation towards empathy in human interaction; positive and secure bonding of caregivers with caretakers; self reliant and self secure children; stronger local communities. Collaboration with Ministries of Health, Labour and Education would allow Brace SCE to increase the impact. Social impact measurement through the tools of Aflatoun and Marte Meo metrics: SROI, social reporting, 360º evaluation,field observation, focus group.

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

The programs of Brace SCE are financially sustainable. Income is generated through customers and is redistributed for the provision of the program to beneficiaries. To increase free services to beneficiaries we plan to use a crowd funding platform, sponsoring companies, organizations and institutions.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Only Brace SCE offers in Greece action learning training for carers certified by an International Organisation. It's uniquness is its low cost, practical approach, orientation to everyday life. Also it is part of a Global Recognised Network. Engenders personal change, since each carer is recorded in real action and is guided step by step to new interaction. Intervention ends only when change is accomplished. For kids, there is Junior Achievement offering training in financial skills. Advantage of Aflatoun is the combination of Social and Financial Skills and the emphasis to SCE projects.

Founding Story

As a professional on the drug addiction and family therapy field, Maria Stamataki used to deal with the burden of caregivers. When she came across Marte Meo method, she knew that through such an effective tool, change of caregivers everyday life was possible. The journey had begun. Maria started offering educational programs on Marte Meo. The constantly increasing number of certified professionals with eagerness and dedication to Marte Meo was decisive for the birth of Brace SCE. Yet, the vision was about to evolve. As Maria was searching for ways to explain her son the multiple dimensions of poverty, she was led to Aflatoun. She immediately knew that Brace should expand its impact by acting on the child poverty prevention field.


M. Stamataki, founder and director. N. Moraiti, Msc Aflatoun trainer. L. Ioannou, Msc- special education. V. Stathatos, Msc Schools, and adoption program. A. Papaioannou, Phd Marte Meo and the Elderly. At the moment, Maria Stamataki is training the rest of the team. In July, 2014 the members of the team will be certified as Marte Meo Trainers and in September it is planned to undertake training programs as part-time employees of Brace.
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Organization Country

, Marousi

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Partnerships: Tell us about your partnerships.

Marte Meo International
Aflatoun Organisation


Galatia Papacharalampous's picture

It was already two years, of unsuccessful attempts to cope with some attitude problems that concerned my son, when I heard about Marte Meo and decided to enter the program. The method proved to be very efficient and effective. Throughout the training process, I had the opportunity for the first time to recognize and understand the problem. Following the procedure and the guidelines provided by the professionals, I learned how to identify my strengths and weaknesses and turn them into positive "tools" with great impact on the emotional and social development of my son and the rest of the family. Our communication skills and problem solving abilities improved significantly and a healthy emotional environment has been achieved. Thank you Marte Meo and Brace. That was the biggest gift I could ever offer my family..

As first-time parents, my husband and I we were introduced to Marte Meo as a method to enhance the emotional and social development of our 18-month old daughter. I can confidently say that the guidance and training we have been offered by Maria and her team has been pivotal not only to our daughter’s, but to our own development as parents and as individuals. It is truly a blessing to see our child grow more independent, confident and genuinely happy every day, and even more so knowing that we are the ones who have achieved this – on our own strength.

Marte Meo method is essential for the positive attribute of social communication of adolescents diagnosed with ASD. Through the processes of "positive leading" and "naming", people diagnosed with ASD have a clearer view of which parts of the communication need to be enhanced. The use of video is an essential visual tool which optimizes self evaluation.
Ioannis Voskopoulos Psychologist.

Marte Meo method helped people with high functioning Autism to locate and recognize in the their self various emerging social skills, as well as to understand the importance these skills have in the social adaptation. Furthermore, focusing on a specific behavior, the goal that is being set each time to the person, becomes clear. The gradual attainment of this goal, in combination with the systematic use of positive guidance by the therapist, result to the improvement of the sense of self-esteem.

Through Marte Meo Program I managed to support families, with children and teenagers with Autism Spectrum Disorders, to develop communication and social interaction skills, which constantly contributed to the improvement of the family’s quality of life and the gradual social inclusion of the child or teenager with autism.

Marte Meo program has helped the parents of children with Autistic Spectrum Disorder to improve their communication with them, through the use of visual information, specific goal setting and positive reinforcement. Additionally, Marte Meo has helped the parents to cope more effectively, with the organization and the training of their children in everyday skills.

The MARTE MEO method was applied to families with children between 5-7 years old where the parents were facing problems associated with cooperation, connection and communication with their children, and it was proven to effectively improve the parents's skills of communication, which consequently resulted in a substantial improvement in the quality of their relationship with their children in general.

The Marte Meo program has helped me, as a crew manager, to improve the communication in a very sensitive and multicultural environment, which are the crew members of an ocean going vessel.
Apostolos Stefas

When I was informed about Marte Meo method, I was impressed indeed. Immediately I started the educational program realising its strength in connecting theory with practice. Since then, the parents who experienced the method with me, were so amazed with the transformation in their relationship not only with their child but also with the whole family.

"Marte Meo" means "On One's Own Strength"; and this is actually what I gained during my Marte Meo Therapist trainning under Maria Stamataki's surervision: based on my own strength and via learning how to support and excel developmental processes in my daily interaction moments, I managed to interact effectively with others (family, students, colleagues, clients, friends, etc. - especially adults that I'm more interest in). In other words, via the Marte Meo Programme in general I was encouraged to effectively use my own strength and have a better quality of life. That's why my goal is to teach/learn/communicate it to others, too. [Dr. Afroditi Papaioannou-Spiroulia, CUC Psy Lecturer, Systemic/Family Counselor]

The Marte Meo method taught me how we can simply and naturally activate our abilities in order to connect with other people and communicate positively with them. Metaphorically speaking, it reminds me of the fairytale where the frog turns into a prince. What I mean is that everybody is a "frog" waiting for his kiss which will turn him into a prince.

Maria Stamataki's picture

22 & 23 February 2014 ‘ Nourishing the child-brain’ . Seminar on the development of child-brain by the Scientific Supervisor of Brace SCE.

Maria Stamataki's picture

14 April 2014, Meeting on “Entrepreneurship and Employment”, by Attikain. Presentation of Brace SCE and its educational and training programs

Maria Stamataki's picture

29 April 2014, the Scientific group of Brace presented at the Scientific Department of ‘ Children & Teens Center’ in Peristeri, the Marte Meo method and its great impact on people on the Autism Spectrum. Training of the caregivers will follow.

Maria Stamataki's picture

12 May 2014, “Gender, Social Entrepreneurship, Immigrants. Workers and Social Enterprises” EP.E.K.S.A. Presentation of Brace SCE and its educational and training programs> Paradigms of Brace's actions to support social and economical inclusion of vulnarable population.

Maria Stamataki's picture

15 June 2014, “ Experiential Workshop: From Me to We” Laboratory of Human Relations, Harokopio University . The Scientific team of Brace participated with the experiential workshop on "The Development of Empathy”.

Maria Stamataki's picture

19 June 2014, the scientific group of Brace SCE presented at the Scientific Department of “Children & Teens Center”, the Marte Meo method, technique and impact.

Maria Stamataki's picture

17 & 19 December 2013 “ Discovering the classroom: challenges, interventions, prospects” , Paradigms of including the vulnerable students and increasing cooperation and empathy throught Marte Meo. Educational meetings on the training of the teachers of the 22nd District of Municipal Education. The scientific group of Brace presented the method and technique of Marte Meo. (Brace was under development at that stage)

Maria Stamataki's picture

28 March 2013 The Scientific personnel of Brace presented the Marte Meo method on kindergardent at Palio Faliro. (Brace was under development at that stage)

Maria Stamataki's picture

And we are happy to announce that BRACE is under the auspices of UNESCO. Thank you UNESCO for all the support!

Galatia Papacharalampous's picture

congradulations!!!You deserve it have so much to offer in order to create a better tomorrow..At these difficult days of Greece, we are so lucky to have you. Thank you Brace and good luck

Maria Stamataki's picture

The trip to Holland came to an end and it was a great success! Maria Aarts, developer of Marte Meo program, helped us design the next programs on the fields of adoption, autism, dementia and education and supervised us on the further development of the training process.
Furthermore, the meeting with Ana Rodrigues in Aflatoun's central offices in Amsterdam was also more than delightful and helpful. Ana gave Brace guidance on the implementation of Aflatoun and shared with us useful experiences. We were happy to Know that Jeroo Billimoria, the founder of Aflatoun is an Ashoka Fellow!
We are so lucky to have the support of two so experienced women! Thank you both! Knowing that we have your by our side, gives us confidence for the healthy and successful development of Brace!

Maria Stamataki's picture

On the 26th of June the results of the research on the difficulties women social entrepreneurs face were presented in Athens. The research was conducted by WISE (Women Innovators for Social Business) .
Brace sce, was invited to present its vision and interventions, as it was considered a good practice model.

Maria Stamataki's picture

Activity of our network:
Marte Meo won a Social Innovation Prize in Germany for MOKI (Monheim Fur Kinder) program!

Maria Stamataki's picture

On Thursday 10th of July, Brace SCE is invited by the Club for UNESCO of Piraeus & Islands to present, at a Meeting on Social Entrepreneurship, as a best practice its programs Marte Meo & Aflatoun.