Σάββατο, 7 Οκτωβρίου 2017

"Dione" in “The Family” project

Elis’ local development centre in 
“The Family” project 
at Gaziantep

Aiming at revealing and understanding the causes of the domestic violence and its consequences, and suggesting possible solutions, “The Family” project  that took place between 2nd and 10th of July, 2017 in Gaziantep, Turkey, gathered together young people from Turkey, Greece, Italy, Romania and Spain.

Organized by the “Zift Organization” (www.ziftorganization.com),   the project activities included visiting local institutions and organizations dealing with violence in general, and domestic violence, in particular. As such, participants were able to converse with them in order to have a better understanding of the issue. However, given the fact that the issue of domestic violence is a global problem, participants were requested to make a research and briefly present the problem in their respective countries.  

Additionally, participants visited the city’s kindergarten and some public places, where they fruitfully interacted with the inhabitants and exchanged ideas and experiences on the issues related to domestic violence. Throughout that exchange, banners/flyers, which were prepared by the participants for the occasion, were distributed to the local people under the guise of raising their awareness on the issues of domestic violence.  
Furthermore, since children and women are generally the most vulnerable to domestic violence, participants were requested to research and make group presentations on “Children & Women’s Rights”. The aim of this activity was to raise awareness on the existing domestic and/or international laws that protect children and women.  

Since one of the main aims of any Youth Exchange under the Erasmus+ program is to bring young people together in order for them to break their pre-conceived prejudices about other cultures, many team-building games were performed during “The Family” project. 
It is worth mentioning that throughout this project, except for the research and presentation on the “domestic violence”, where participants presented the trend in their home country, all other activities were performed through randomly formed groups. 
“Dione” local development centre, established in Ancient Olympia, Greece, was represented to the project by the Erasmus Intern Abdou Rahim Lema Mohamed from Benin.

-Abdou Rahim Lema Mohamed: lema.abdourahim@gmail.com
-Vaso Charitopoulou (Founder & head of “Dione”):

Παρασκευή, 6 Οκτωβρίου 2017

3 reasons to take an internship in Elis (Ileia), Peloponnese

An Internship experience in 
Ancient Olympia

Internship experience in Greece has been one of the pick of my academic career. Coming to work for Dione” local development centre in Ancient Olympia, was the great decision I made when I had to select internship offers from different organizations for my Erasmus program.
Past two months are full of significant learning experiences, wonderful adventures with multinational friends, memorable memories and unforgettable beauty of this amazing country and the region we stayed in. 

I am working in the area of sustainable development and therefore, this internship offered me the opportunity to work as a project management assistant on highlighting Natura 2000 sites. It is worth mentioning that I became familiar with Natura awards and other environmental initiatives because of this internship. I am looking forward to utilizing this information in my academia as well. 

The region of Elis, Greece, is rich in history, culture and environment. It is all about greenery and natural beauty.
The six Natura 2000 sites of the region are all rich in natural beauty, precious species and habitat of plants and animals. There is also a long beautiful, neat and gushing beach.
Visiting these sites and beach has always been rejuvenating and I have enjoyed all the fun and relaxing time we had during my internship. 

Another fascinating part of the internship was working in an ultimate international environment. The intercultural experience, while living with interns from England, Vietnam, Finland, France, Liberia, Turkey and meeting with people with different backgrounds had great impact on my personal development. 
I learned a lot about the dynamics of different parts of our planet, mainly about their rituals, food, living styles and a lot more interesting things. All this experience will undoubtedly help me in my life ahead. 

In conclusion, I would like to thank my school, and my hosting organization for providing me with a wonderful internship experience, which was certainly well above my expectations. I enjoyed every single day of my stay here and will definitely miss this time of my life.  

Mohammad Abdullah Shaikh (Turkey)
Erasmus Intern at Dione” local development centre, Ancient Olympia, Western Greece
vasso-charitopoulou@hotmail.com (Vaso Charitopoulou, Founder & head of “Dione”)

Σάββατο, 30 Σεπτεμβρίου 2017

“Green Life for a Healthy Life”

Sustainable ways of living & doing business

The successful Youth Exchange that took place from 21 to 30 August in Romania proved that there are alternative ways to live healthy and to do business effectively in the modern world, in balance with the environment and without threatening the natural resources.

“Green Teach Association” in Candesti (Dambovita county, Romania) and “Dione” Local Development Centre in Ancient Olympia (Elis county, Greece), joined forces to raise awareness among the young people in both countries on the need to exploit the renewable resources and protect the environment.

The 16 Romanian and Greek participants, aged between 17 and 25 years old, will apply the learning outcomes obtained during the project in order to suggest sustainable solutions to the problems of their communities in the field of environmental protection.

The topics that the two groups thoroughly discussed during this Exchange, using non-formal and informal learning methods, were:
·        The Impact of Pollution on Environment
·        Electricity from Solar Energy
·        Wind and Electricity
·        Biogas at Home
·        Solar Hot Water
·        Green Idea for a Green House      
·        Local Renewable Energy Resources
·        Fossil Fuels vs. Renewable Energy Resources

The project included also a Thematic Visit to a photovoltaic park in Nucet village, a Documentary Visit to Bran Castle and a Thematic Visit to the Institute of Multidisciplinary Research for Science and Technology at the Valahia University of Targoviste.

The “Green Teach Association”, as the Project Coordinator, had hosted from 9 to 12 July in Candesti the founder and general manager of “Dione”, Vaso Charitopoulou, for the needs of the Advanced Planning Visit, during which all the project parameters were discussed in detail.
The meeting was organized by the “Green Teach Association” President, Irina Constantinescu.
The Advanced Planning Visit’s program included a fruitful meeting with the Mayor Popa Georgeta at the City Hall, who explained the challenges and problems faced by the local community and how the Municipality manages to overcome the difficulties and secure a good way of life for the residents.

The “Green Life for a Healthy Life” project is implemented under the Erasmus+/ Key Action Learning Mobility of Individuals programme.

The participants received the Youthpass Certificate after the completion of the Youth Exchange.

Δευτέρα, 18 Σεπτεμβρίου 2017

Zacharo’s Business Environment: Problems & Prospects

Problems and Prospects of Zacharo’s Business Environment

Elis (Illia), in western Greece, is notably known for its vast land area that is hugely forested, and mainly occupied by pine trees towards the south. The forest extends far into Foloi and the mountain ranges of Eastern Elis. The region comprises of seven (7) municipalities including the capital, Pyrgos which is the largest and most populated city in the region.

About 30 km away from Pyrgos, just along the Ionian Sea, lies a beautiful small town called Zacharo. The town is the capital of a municipality comprising of eighteen (18) other districts. Though relatively not so rich in the abundance of ancient remains and history, Zacharo was once the capital of the historical Arini, and was established as an organised residential complex after its release in 1821. The excellent archaeological sites, the Springs of Kaiafas, the beautiful sandy beach and the ever-growing tourism infrastructure make the city lively with incredible natural beauty and huge archaeological interest. 

Being the commercial and financial centre of the region, Zacharo serves as a connecting point for Patras—Pyrgos—Kalamata, thus is easily accessible for visitors coming from different nearby regions and places. The town possesses a quite mild climatic condition allowing most residents to engage in agricultural activities as their key occupation.

The economic strength of the local economy of Zacharo lies in the agricultural and tourism sectors, with the agricultural sector making up for tremendous portion of local residents’ income. Agricultural activities are concentrated mainly in the cultivation of olive oil, raisins, tomatoes, vegetables, wine (red, white and rosé) and legumes. Zacharo is rich in different varieties of olive trees, especially, the Koroneiki, which is one of the most distinguished not just in Zacharo but in most part of Greece. The olive oil produced here is of extra-virgin quality and is mostly exported to foreign markets. Zacharo tomato, on the other hand, is noted for its sweetness and huge size.  

Over the past 10 years, Zacharo’s local economy has continued to experience slow or no growth as part of the upshots of the debt crisis of the national economy. The concentration of economic activities and the high dependence of the local economy on agricultural and tourism sectors seem to pose a fundamental problem to the local economy since these activities are highly seasonal. Businesses in Zacharo tend to realize boom in their sales and revenue usually during festive seasons and the summer every year—from April to October. 

The town, which comprises of a population approximately 9,000 in 2011 as recorded by the Hellenic Statistic Authority, has a relatively high cost of living when compared to neighbouring towns. 
The population seems to be ageing. Although they are literate, there are still not enough employment opportunities for local residents especially the young labor force. Businesses in Zacharo include farms, supermarkets, hotels and small shops, coffee shops, restaurants, clothing and jewellery shops, bakeries. These are predominately family-owned small and medium-sized businesses.  
The apparent and long-existence high valued added tax, VAT— approximated to be averaged over 20%, still remains a serious cost item for businesses in Zacharo. This constitutes a major problem for all the residents of the coastal town who have to pay it either directly or indirectly.

The absent of vocational skills development centre/institute is, with no doubt, one of the main factors for the massive interest in agricultural activities by local residents of the town.  Skilled professionals in the fields of vocational and other tertiary training are insufficient to meet the demands.
Another major issue affecting Zacharo is the concentration of its local economy. Diversifying the local economy could help boasting economic activities and prosperity for all the residents.

Lastly, the need for local farmers to participate fully in international markets via the export of key agricultural products is vital to the success of local businesses and to the local economy at large.    

Coauthored by: 
Emmanuel Dweh Togba       etogba95@gmail.com  
Eleni Gerbura       elenigker@gmail.com  


Vaso Charitopoulou, Founder & general manager of “Dione” local development centre, Ancient Olympia, Peloponnese 

Παρασκευή, 18 Αυγούστου 2017

Πόσο απέχει η σύγχρονη Ηλεία από τις αρχές της Αειφορίας;

Green Life for a Healthy Life​”

Απάντηση στο παραπάνω ερώτημα θα επιχειρήσουν να δώσουν 8 νέοι και νέες από την Ηλεία οι οποίοι συμμετέχουν από 21 έως 30 Αυγούστου στο έργο “Green Life for a Healthy Life​” στη Ρουμανία, στα πλαίσια της σύμπραξης του κέντρου τοπικής ανάπτυξης «Διώνη» με την Green Teach Association (Candesti, Dambovita) / Key Action        Learning Mobility of Individuals.

Σκοπός του έργου είναι η καταγραφή των σύγχρονων περιβαλλοντικών ζητημάτων σε τοπικό επίπεδο και η αναζήτηση λύσεων μέσα από την αξιοποίηση των ανανεώσιμων πηγών ενέργειας, ως αντίδοτο στην καταστροφή του περιβάλλοντος.
Με την ολοκλήρωση των δραστηριοτήτων, θα χορηγηθεί στους συμμετέχοντες το πιστοποιητικό Youthpass, εφόδιο απαραίτητο στη σύγχρονη αγορά εργασίας.

Ο εκπαιδευτικός οργανισμός Green Teach Association, ως συντονιστής του έργου, φιλοξένησε κατά τη διάρκεια της προπαρασκευαστικής συνάντησης από 9 έως 12 Ιουλίου στην έδρα του την ιδρύτρια της «Διώνης» Βάσω Χαριτοπούλου μαζί με συνεργάτες της, όπου και συζητήθηκαν λεπτομερώς όλες οι παράμετροι του έργου.
Η συνάντηση οργανώθηκε από την πρόεδρο της Green Teach Association, Irina Constantinescu.

Το πρόγραμμα περιλάμβανε την επίσκεψη στο Δημαρχείο της πόλης και τη συζήτηση με την δήμαρχο Popa Georgeta για τις προκλήσεις και τα προβλήματα που αντιμετωπίζει η περιοχή.

Κυριακή, 25 Ιουνίου 2017

The Being Green Project

"Dione" at The Being Green Project

If there is one topic which (at last) comes up regularly, it's our current environmental situation. Is this because we already feel some climate disorder? We're running out of time, and the issue can no longer be avoided and solutions have to be found.
There are no small initiatives for environmental protection. 

That's the main message of The Being Green Project, which was launched on the 2nd of June under the Erasmus+ program. Located in the surrounding of the Oil City of Okhtyrka, Ukraine, the project gathered some thirty participants from different nations (Armenia, Georgia, Latvia, Denmark, Greece, Turkey, Macedonia and Ukraine) around the same table.

Friendships among members were quickly created which led to a strong team-spirit appearing and made it possible for everyone to bring their skills and knowledge at the initiative.
Many topics were discussed, such as the human footprint, the different kind of pollutions, solutions that have already been found or that are in the process of being researched. Every country that was represented could share and teach about its own ecological situation. This led to concrete and encouraging discussions.

As a participant of this Project, I want to personally highlight how cooperation revealed to be advantageous. In the second part of the week, once everyone of us had created stronger affinities between each other, we were asked to create a theatrical event to promote ecology in a Ukrainian School. The organisers only gave us 2 days to prepare for the theatrical performance. 
We felt a lot of pressure because the message we needed to transmit was very important. We couldn’t fail in our attempt!
This created, in every participant, a strong sense of responsibility which made it possible to, though effort, finalize it in time.
All the time we spent together doing group activities will not have been in vain. The children laughed, the children cried, and to see how much we managed to draw their attention meant that OUR work was a success as our message was not ignored.

Five days ago we were strangers. At the end of the project, a lot of us cried as we had to leave the Slavna Paradise Natural Bungalow Park
For the rest of the time, the participants had free time or had the chance to visit Oktyrka and Sumy, two Ukrainian cities with their own specificities. Every evening was dedicated to intercultural sharing which included participants giving presentations about their own countries. 

This was simply more than a project. This small promotion showed us that boundaries don’t exist when it comes to our common home. To reach that huge objective, you just need to plant the seed, irrigate it with motivation, involvement and an open-mind and let it grow. Only together this can be achieved.
Being Green is our common future!

Yannis Faivre, Erasmus Intern - Applied Foreign Languages,
in collaboration with “Dione” local development centre in Ancient Olympia, Greece
- yannis.faivre@orange.fr
- Vaso Charitopoulou, Head of “Dione”,

Τετάρτη, 21 Ιουνίου 2017

The “Trust Yourself’’ Project in Sakarya, Turkey

"Dione" at the “Trust Yourself’’ Project in SakaryaTurkey 

A new project under the title “Trust Yourself” was organized by the “Zift Organization” from 3 to 11 June in SakaryaTurkey.
This project focused on finding innovative ways to help and incorporate people with disabilities into the broader society, bringing together 50 participants from Turkey, Romania, Slovakia, Poland and Greece.

The participants were engaged in various activities aimed at raising awareness about creating a society where disabled people could live a normal life as everyone else. The participants of the project met with disabled students at a local middle school and had also a meeting with the City Mayor of Sakarya Municipality.

“Dione” Local Development Centre, established in Ancient Olympia, was represented in collaboration with the cooperative social enterprise “Eco Divri” by the Erasmus Intern Vugar Mamedov from Azerbaijan and the Erasmus Young Entrepreneur Emmanuel Dweh Togba from Liberia.

Their participation was fruitful and contributed meaningfully towards the success of the training project. 

-Vugar Mamedov, vugar.mamedov@yahoo.com
-Emmanuel Dweh Togba, etogba95@gmail.com
-Vaso Charitopoulou, Head of “Dione”,