Author: Sam Pinakoulaki, Greece Country Manager

As I sat out in the playground for recess watching the children laughing and playing, tears filled my eyes…70 innocent souls that spend 4 hours a day with our Volunteers learning English in the hope of a better future! I mean really what does the future hold for these kids? They are certainly NOT to blame for the huge grey cloud that continues to hover over Greece. Volunteers coming to help us help our children through this time does indeed lift the cloud – during the time they’re here.

I’m encouraged by the optimism and spirit of service our beloved volunteers bring with them from around the world: (thoughts from a Global Volunteer who’s come to help).

The country’s first round of austerity measures failed to help, and the government was forced to ask for an international bailout of some 240 billion Euros ($275 billion), which came with strict conditions for further severe cutbacks and reforms. These had a crippling effect on Greece’s already stricken economy. It has suddenly become clearly visible the day to day struggles within Greece and our community of Malevizi…

I am frustrated and angry that I witnessed my neighbor begging in our local park. It had never crossed my mind his difficult predicament.

I am frustrated and angry that a family with two small children wait patiently every afternoon by the rubbish bins, hoping to find some food for their kids!

I am frustrated and angry that the elderly are being humiliated after years of hard work, queuing from as early as 4 a.m.  in the heat to claim their pensions. To be more precis the 120 Euros allowed under Capital control. Seriously, what are they going to buy first? Their medication or food?

I am frustrated and angry that many of the children who have attended the summer school with Global volunteers over the past 10 years and did indeed gain a degree at university are currently among the 28.6% unemployed. That the suicide rate has risen 43% since 2008 and the highest rate in Greece is actually here in Crete!

I am frustrated and angry that 350 politicians cannot agree on what is best for Greece. How can they expect to make an agreement with their European counter parts!

I am frustrated and angry at the international press coverage of the whole situation…rumors that Greece is a dangerous place to visit and there is no money for foreign visitors. NOT TRUE! Foreign visitors can access money through the ATM’s and take out as much as their personal limit allows.

The team currently serving the community of Malevizi were posed the question: “Do you feel at any risk or danger in any way?” They answered:

We feel bad that we can’t do anything to change this difficult situation, but at the same time, we have had the opportunity to witness hands on this struggle which will go down in history! The Greek people are one of the kindest, most thoughtful and open hearted people we have had the honor to meet. There are no more dangers or risks in travelling to Greece than any other European country.

We MUST continue to support the community of Malevizi. The opportunity to provide the children of Malevizi 4 hours of love, laughter and a better understanding of the English language is priceless and needed now more than ever. They are the future of Greece and could use your support and friendship during this difficult time. I can’t think of a better time to serve in Crete! So join us in Greece – request information below,  browse our website, and read this testimonial from 2 time Greece Global Volunteer, Lesley Rainey. Then, apply for the program of your choice. We look forward to seeing YOU on an upcoming team!

Linda + 2nd graders

Linda + 2nd graders

Linda,  Perry,  Betty,  Gail and Liam

Linda, Perry, Betty, Gail and Liam

We value each and every Greece Global Volunteer. Your optimism and support is essential during this difficult time!

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