General News

The Hellenic Initiative Donates $25,000 to Empower Youth on Remote Greek Islands

NEW YORK – The Hellenic Initiative (THI) has donated $25,000 to HELMEPA (Hellenic Marine Environment Protection Association) from the proceeds of last year’s THI London Gala. The donation supports HELMEPA’s Big Blue Accelerator initiative, which trains and empowers young Greeks from remote islands (mainly the Dodecanese group) in skills related to the Blue Economy. The partnership creates employment opportunities for young, talented Greeks living on those islands.

Established in 1982 by visionary Greek shipowners to ‘Save the Seas’ and ensure a clean and healthy marine environment, HELMEPA has brought together employers and employees at 349 companies involving 2,361 vessels with 15,000 seafarers and almost 300,000 volunteers over the last 42 years. They form a global network of stakeholders that undertakes scientific monitoring, mentoring, hundreds of annual coastal cleanups, and grassroots efforts to raise awareness.

Founded in 2012, THI is a global non-profit organization that brings together Diaspora Greeks and Philhellenes to invest in Greece through programs focused on economic development and crisis relief. Since its founding, THI has invested more than $22 million in Greece and has grown to be the largest Greek Diaspora organization in the world.

THI funds a pilot project with an initial target group of 25 people aged 18-25 living on Dodecanese islands. The program entails 3-month cycles of training followed by a two-month preparation/closure/evaluation phase.

The program supports economic development by equipping participants with the skills, networks, mentors and opportunities necessary for employment in various sectors of the Blue Economy, including coastal tourism, aquaculture, ocean energy, marine biotechnology, mineral resources and maritime transport. The European Blue Economy accounts for 3.5 million jobs, with employment opportunities expected to double by 2030 – but businesses are struggling to find the personnel they require. HELMEPA is also devoted to helping more women connect with the sector.

George P. Stamas, THI’s Board President, stated: “Participants in the Big Blue Accelerator are evolving into young entrepreneurs, thanks to guidance and support from trainers and mentors. At THI, we are very proud to offer such a transformative journey that touches the lives of the people living on those islands.”

THI Board Member Nikos Stathopoulos said, “THI‘s UK London Gala serves as a beacon of solidarity, channeling vital resources to initiatives like HELMEPA’s Big Blue Accelerator. This collaboration exemplifies the outcomes achieved when the global Greek community unites under a common cause.”

More information is available online: https://thehellenicinitiative.org/.

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