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Panhellenic, GreeceATHENS, Greece
Year Founded:
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
$50,000 - $100,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

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

The project refers to an Educational Disability Awareness Campaign which consists of open discussions and experiential workshops with mainstream students interacting with disabled youth. Based on the principles of non-formal education we aim to alter the way people perceive diversity.

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

What if we could reshape attitudes towards disability by educating students through interactive & experiential learning?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

One of the most difficult aspects of diversity is not diversity itself, but the negative stance shown by society. In Greece, young people with disability are excluded from mainstream education. Within the educational system young students from mainstream schools and youth with disability rarely have the opportunity to communicate, interact and coexist in this setting.

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

There is a need for a program that will link challenged youth (physical, sensory, intellectual and social disabilities from special education schools and institutions) together with mainstream students. By implementing experiential – interactive educational programs for young people we focus on increasing awareness, coexistence and socialization as well as combating social exclusion. The project consists of two methodologies: A / Open discussion groups between students and motivational speakers with disabilities. B / Interactive/experiential workshops (through simulation exercises, group work, games, arts & sports) with students and young people with intellectual and sensory disabilities.
Impact: How does it Work

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

Most interactive / experiential workshops and open discussions with students and young people with disability begin in the same way…Students are afraid, anxious and overwhelmed by their initial encounter with challenged youth. The change in all of the participants is fundamental! During the time they spend together they manage to: - Overcome their fear - Find a way to communicate with each other - Learn experientially through coexistence about disability issues. An experiential interaction is the key to opening windows of communication. At the end of the campaign they have developed feelings of solidarity towards people with disabilities by reshaping their attitudes towards diversity.

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

Since 2008, the program has shown the following impact: 19.900% increase in the number of participants (from 100 to 20.000) 6.200% increase in the number of collaborations (from 4 to 252 schools/special schools/institutions) In this project we estimate a participation of 650 young people from 30 schools, special schools and institutions. The program will take place throughout the Attica District, with emphasis on schools located in disadvantaged areas. Word of mouth between the participants contributes to the dissemination of the project within local communities and through a wider audience. In the future we aim to include an even larger number of schools, institutions and young participants: namely 5000 students and youth with disability from 200 schools and institutions throughout Greece. This will enable us to diffuse the project on a National level.

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

SHORT TERM SOCIAL BENEFITS - Reinforce awareness campaigns in schools - Record attitude change on disability through research - Increase coexistence with prototype inclusive programs at mainstream schools and municipalities - Increase accessibility LONG TERM SOCIAL BENEFITS - Removing stigma - Preventing social exclusion - Enabling socialization for people with disabilities - Developing their personal skills and improving their quality of life - Reducing the overall unemployment rate for people with disabilities - Advocacy campaigns for families with disabled individuals

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

The proposed project is included in SKEP's annual disability awareness campaign. Thus its financial sustainability is ensured through the annual sponsorships and budget of the Association. As a follow up action, SKEP is interested in presenting this project as an example of good practice in an international level. We would be interested in examining the development of a similar project on an international level.

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

SKEP - Association of Social Responsibility for Children and Youth is the sole non - profit organization in Greece which acts as a platform for communication and integration, linking challenged youth (physical, sensory, intellectual, social and mental disabilities from special education schools and institutions) together with students from both mainstream schools and universities. Our experiential – interactive educational programs aim to voice the opinion and feelings of challenged youth as well as reshape attitudes towards disability.

Founding Story

The aha moment occurred when I realized that I should never be afraid of fear! That occurred to me during a visit at a special education center abroad, where I met a young boy injured by a land mine. He had lost his two legs and one arm in the accident. The smile on his face will forever stay imprinted and cherished in my mind. The time we spend together and his incredibly positive attitude were enough to overcome the difficult circumstances and obvious language barriers. We were able to communicate, interact and enjoy one another’s company. We were happy being together! Not being afraid of diversity is the key to opening windows of understanding, making the impossible possible and the invisible visible! Athena Kritikou - President


Our team consists of 5 members. More specifically: Director of Communications & Resources, Activities Coordinator, Experiential Interventions Coordinator & Motivational Speaker, Press Coordinator & Motivational Speaker. Our motivational speakers are both young people with disability (namely motor disability and phocomelia). The team has the qualifications and know - how to carry out the project, ensure its sustainability and achieve its goals.