ATHENS – ELEPAP, (Hellenic Society for the Protection and Rehabilitation of Disabled Persons – www.elepap.gr) is known not only in Greece but throughout Hellenism, especially the Hellenism of America through the “International Friends of ELEPAP” website.
The National Herald has repeatedly referred to ELEPAP as the first charitable, nonprofit organization in Greece that has been struggling for 80 years to recognize the right of children with motor disabilities and neurodevelopmental problems and to help them maximize their potential, to fulfill their personal goals, to conquer as much as possible their autonomy and their integration into society.
ELEPAP’s vision is continuing improvement and development of its benefits and programs, in line with international standards and sometimes pioneered. As a living organization, where donors, donors, volunteers and administrative staff are never resting, ELEPAP is always surprised with something new and sometimes innovative.
In this review of ELEPAP’s work TNH has a lot of news to mention. Starting from the most recent program that aims to give, through play, to children who have not managed to move independently, the motivation to move, to enhance sociability and participation.
*** The second workshop of Go Baby Go Greece
The second workshop of Go Baby Go Greece of ELEPAP took place on Saturday, March 16 in Pangrati.
The goal of the program is, to offer the children who cannot move on their own, the motive for transportation. Also, to boost their sociability and participation in group activities.
During the workshop, the volunteers, the therapists of ELEPAP, specially trained physiotherapists by Go Baby Go Israel, converted regular electric children’s cars. Five electric cars were adjusted according to the particular needs of the children, and were delivered to the families, ready for driving!
At the same time, that day, an electric car was offered to a student of the 2nd Special Elementary School of ELEPAP, by a loyal sponsor of the Foundation and the Vice President of ELEPAP, Child Neurologist Dr. Eleni Skouteli, Head of ELEPAP’s Infants Centre and the Mixed Daycare of ELEPAP.
The children’s bright smiles, while driving the brand new cars, was very rewarding, to say the least. Children’s laughs and games “filled” ELEPAP’s yard with happiness, while the junior rally drivers competed with each other who will go faster!
Mrs. Marianna Moschou, President of ELEPAP, warmly thanked all the volunteers who worked in the workshop and she stated: “nothing is more valuable, than the bright smiles on our children’s faces. It is the greatest satisfaction and reward of all, considering the difficulties we face daily. The children’s strength is what motivates us to continue trying…”
During the event, the Head of the Program, Dr. Eleni Skouteli, read quotes form the parents’ journals: enthusiastic descriptions of their children’s adventures, while driving their cherished new cars.
Mrs. Eleni Mpouza, Child Neurologist, Director of the Infants’ Intensive Care Unit at Children’s Hospital Agia Sophia, and mother of Andreas Georgakopoulos, warmly thanked the children and the parents for the courage and strength their happy faces offered her. The Program Go Baby Go Greece, under the auspices of ELEPAP, was made possible because of the generous donations deposited in the memory of Andreas Georgakopoulos.
*** Inauguration of the Model Playground “Minos Kyriakou” We -All-Play-Together, on Tuesday, December 18, 2018
On Tuesday 18th December, ELEPAP in Pangrati, Athens, inaugurated the “Minos Kyriakou We-All-Play-Together Model Playground”.
The “Minos Kyriakou We-All-Play-Together Model Playground” was completed with the donations offered in memory of the late Minos Kyriakou, following his family’s wish. The inauguration ceremony was attended by members of the ELEPAP Board of Directors, members of the family of the late Minos Kyriakou, parents, children, therapeutic and educational staff.
As a token of appreciation, the President of ELEPAP, Ms Marianna Moschou, presented Mr. Theodoros Kyriakou and Ms Athena Kyriakou with an honorary, memorial plaque. “Apart from his entrepreneurship, Minos Kyriakou remained with integrity committed to offering to the society. Therefore, it is with great pleasure and honour that we are opening the Minos Kyriakou, We-All-Play-Together Model Playground of ELEPAP”, stressed the President of ANTENNA Group, Thodoris Kyriakou, at the inauguration of the Model Playground.
Among others, the President of ELEPAP Ms Marianna Moschou, deeply touched, pointed out: “The creation of a playground adapted to the needs of our children comes as an answer to the acknowledged right of all children to be able to play! Yet another of our visions has come true!… We really wish to see all children on the swings, the slides, the merry-go-round, the seesaw… Laughter and joy on their faces are the greatest satisfaction”.
For the design and creation of the ELEPAP Model Playground Minos Kyriakou We-All-Play-Together, ELEPAP wishes to sincerely thank the occupational therapists Ms Konstantina Kosma and Annie Apostolopoulou, as well as the architect Ms Vicky Biliou.
At the ELEPAP Minos Kyriakou We-All-Play-Together model playground, children can participate in the activities they like in order to experiment, develop their skills, feel as much autonomous as possible, have fun and make friends.
ELEPAP’s people have created a place which offers equal opportunities and various playing stimuli, thus encouraging children with different abilities, cultures, ages and sex to play with each other.
For instance, a child in a wheelchair can equally use the swing, seesaw, merry-go-round, and slide in the same way a walking child can. Thus, all children will play together regardless of impediments or discriminations of any kind. The children who play together learn together, grow up together and live together in harmony in the society, and this is the most important message we wish to share with and extend to people.
The playground of ELEPAP is a playground for everyone.
It was through extensive research and study that the occupational therapists Konstantina Kosma and Annie Apostolopoulou embodied our dream and offered us a literally model playground! Apparently, it is a simple playground construction; however, it required thorough research, from the design of every piece of equipment, colours, game/activities/equipment planning, to the children’s preferences, so that it fulfills the meaning of an inclusive design. All the above is intended to also serve the needs and preferences of every child, maximizing the opportunities for spontaneous and free play.
The ELEPAP playground is the first model playground for all children in Greece with rich play activities and equipment, most of which are model too, originally designed by the occupational therapists themselves. We hope that we shall be an inspiration for others to create similar places, in order to maximize the opportunities of EVERY child to play, with the intent of a better tomorrow, a tomorrow that will include all of us.
***2nd Brain Injury Conference: The Holistic Neuropsychological Approach
We also have to mention that having completed 10 years of operation, the Brain Injury Day-Treatment Unit of ELEPAP organized the “2nd Brain Injury Conference: The Holistic Neuropsychological Approach” on March 29-30, 2019, on the Ethniki Asfalistiki Conference Center, in Athens.
The conference was realized with the valuable support of Dr Yehuda Ben Yishay and the Head Τrauma Program NYU Langone – Rusk institute under the auspices of the Ministry of Health and the Attica Region.
Internationally acclaimed professionals on the domain of Neuropsychology and Holistic Rehabilitation and Reintegration, such as Dr. Yehuda Ben Yishay (USA), Dr. George Prigatano (USA), Dr. Ellen Daniels- Zide (USA), Dr. Dan Hoofien (Israel), Dr. Mathilde Chevignard (France), Dr. Barbara Wilson (U.K), Dr. Jaana Sarajuuri (Finland), Dr. George Dellatolas (France), Dr. Fofi Constantinidou (Cyprus) as well as scientists from Greece reviewed the therapeutic approaches that are implemented, their outcomes and the challenges that arise in rehabilitation and social integration of patients with acquired brain injury, through lectures, clinical presentations and interactive discussion with the audience.
Brain injuries are considered to be the “silent epidemics” of young people. In Greece, 13.771 people were hospitalized for brain injury in 2012 in public hospitals. 1.592 of the hospitalized individuals were children, 1.275 teenagers, 2.008 young adults (19-29 years old) and 4.529 of them were of productive age (30-55 years old).
During the Conference, the lack of neuro-psychological intervention and consultation for the patients, adults and children after long-term hospitalization, was presented. Physiatrists, Directors of Clinics, and Mrs. Maria Pyrgeli, Physiatrist and Scientific Director of ELEPAP, pointed out that the addition of neuro-psychological intervention to the therapeutic programs of the Rehabilitation Units of hospitals and rehabilitation centers is quite important. The lack of support and guidance concerning the long-term difficulties of the families and the significant others was stressed, as described by a patient’s spouse. She also described the significant support she received by the Brain Injury Day-Treatment Unit of ELEPAP.
Mrs. Marianna Moschou, President of ELEPAP spoke on behalf of the Minister of Health, Andrea Xanthou: “I would like to thank you for your continuous social work, and to congratulate you for your contribution to the protection and rehabilitation of people with disabilities in Greece.”
She also stressed: “Our common goal is to significantly improve the quality of life, and the social integration opportunities, of children, adolescents and adults with acquired brain injury. Also, to inform the general public concerning the ‘silent epidemic’ of brain injury.”
The Brain Injury Day-Treatment Unit of ELEPAP, has received great recognition and it is considered an equal member of the centers operating abroad. The Brain Injury Day-Treatment Unit’s efforts are continuous, for the rehabilitation and social integration of adults and children with acquired brain injury, for the awareness and engagement of the general public, and the creation of collaborations. A new challenge, is the operation of two new Brain Injury Day-Treatment Units in the ELEPAP branches, in Thessaloniki and Ioannina.
A few words for the Unit’s work
The Brain Injury Day-Treatment Unit of ELEPAP operates from mid-2008, employing a team of Neuro-psychologists, specialized in holistic rehabilitation.
Over 100 adults and children have joined the Neuro-psychological rehabilitation program of ELEPAP, and have been supported in their integration into the roles they wanted. 29.34% of them have found some kind of employment, 7% continued their studies, 17% attend rehabilitation programs, and 42% are retired, so they are in need of a creative/supported/volunteering work framework.
The last five years, students of Universities (Bachelors and Masters) and new psychologists are trained in ELEPAP on brain injuries and the Holistic Neuro-psychological Rehabilitation.
The Brain Injury Day-Treatment Unit of ELEPAP actively participates in conferences and surveys, while at the same time it collaborates with rehabilitation clinics and intensive care units in public hospitals. The support of children, hospitalized in the first Hematology and Oncology Clinic of the Children’s Hospital “Afia Sofia”, is quite important.
Unit of Neuropsychological Rehabilitation for Children with Acquired Brain Injury
16, Kononos street, 11634 Athens, 5th floor
Tel.: 210-7227758 Fax: 210 7227757
***ΕLEPAP deserves our support
All of this may impress the reader. And so it must. But behind the impressiveness lies an everyday struggle of survival, love, will, volunteerism. And all this requires money as a driving force.
ELEPAP relies on donors only. In the US, its server can easily be filed via https://www.ifelepap.com. Or on the corresponding Greek website http: //www.elepap.gr/el/
ELEPAP deserves our full support.