This article was partially prepared using additional information kindly provided by our own Dimitri Papanicolas.
We were pleased to be joined on ZOOM by several members of the Rotary Club of Ioannina, Greece. Their President Kosta Kostis thanked us for the help we have given them in the past supporting some of the work they do in Greece, with ELEPAP, a school for handicapped children, and also with Eleni Gyra, a hospice for autistic adults.
Their Past President Eva Tsinavou spoke to us about the Eleni Gyra Boarding House (EGBH), near Zitsa which is about thirty-two kilometers from Ioannina. It is part of the Hellenic Society for the Protection of Autistic Persons (HSPAP), headquartered in Athens. This is a non-profit, philanthropic society run by volunteer parents. The HSPAP also has other facilities in Greece.
Together with the Rotary Club of Ioannina, we recently supported the repair of the roof, for the Eleni Gyra (EGBH) facility (which is now complete), helped to replace the electrical board and provided a computer for their use.
The EGBH facility (property and building) was donated by a doctor from Zitsa, Greece in memory of his first wife. Presently around twelve severely autistic residents aged from 30 years to over 50, one of whom is also blind, live twenty four hours per day at the boarding house.
The twenty-four staff at EGBH are paid by the Hellenic Government, they are government employees. The government contribution covers 85% of costs that are salaries and the remaining 15% is for operational costs. The latter is not enough to cover all the operational costs and is definitely not enough for maintenance or repairs. The local residents of Zitsa, the village nearby, sometimes help with food and minor financial donations as well.
Eva told us that the boarding house is currently in dire need of new clothes washing machines, as the current ones are very old and are becoming quite unreliable. They currently have eight household type machines, only two of which are still working, and use them to wash about fifty kilos of clothing each day. They have looked into replacing these with a larger commercial type washing machine, which would cost about thirty two hundred euros each.
We then discussed various ways that we could help them with this, as well as other items for this facility. We look forward to working with them in future to find ways to fund this and other projects.