Active citizenship and volunteering (10th interview)
We will begin with the 10th conference of the program on active citizenship and volunteering. We have with us today Elizabeth Arapaki, which is a resident of Halki and will represent the new generation and Takis Hrisovergis, Halki’s former deputy mayor, also a resident of the island who will talk to us about the past and today as he is still interested in the island’s commons.
- Good evening Elisabeth. Is there volunteering today?
Unfortunately in Halki there is currently no volunteering there, but there are some movements from Captain Fanouraki’s Institute in Halki, the Union of Halkiades in Athens, and from the cultural or aesthetic or ecological repeatedly content school. I remember that at the school one of the characteristic events 3-4 years ago with the support of the Director, all the children had participated in the beach cleaning around the island. I have only noticed that people as a person the can help other people when in need.
- Takis, tell us about the past, was there any similar practice?
Let’s start from the fact that in the old days the environment and its protection was considered something important once and the people who lived on the island, were only able to survive with the ” exploitation ” of their environment, or agricultural crops either with the sea and fishing, and also sponge diving. They wer therefore more sensitive to such issues. Anyhow, technology and tourism had not been implanted on the local community, and therefore the damage to their environment was minimized.
Beyond that, we who believe that our great legacy is the natural environment, we have to protect it and believe that this is the ultimate goal for the interim citizens of this island. Unfortunately – with few exceptions – no organized collective efforts were made so that we could achieve what as a society or as official bodies (Association Halkiades Athens Municipality of Halki) could have achieved as our main objectives. People are sensitive, but we need to organize ourselves.
- Do you believe that there is a culture of cooperation between citizens alongside the one seen for orgnaisations?
Again, I am forced to make a comparison of the past with the present and to say that the increase of our personal problems, stress in our daily lives and of course the ongoing crisis, allows only minimal mood and time. I hope to overcome these soon and take care of the environment, our culture and some basic things that characterize our island, without which we will lose our identity.
- Elisabeth do you believe that the young people that you deal with, do they have the will to cooperate and do things for the common good?
There is a willingness of collaboration, but with the problems raised by Mr. Takis. I just observe the following, really even more in youth issues, young people need to awaken themselves and reach their targets. For example a few years ago a yacht caught fire in the port of Halki and all, but i mean all the children ran to help and managed to extinguish it, otherwise other yachts would have been in danfer too. Later came the fire brigade too.
- Are there problems that could be solved with volunteering?
Yes, ecologically, there could have been made many such moves as recycling, with reforestation and others too. And it would be a way for them to spend their time more pleasantly, especially in winter which is difficult
- Do kids discuss this?
Yes they do but they don’t act more
- Takis, do you think that there are people that can act as volunteers in terms of single people or as part of organisations?
This is certain. We have many examples not only in areas of Greece which are shining examples, but all of us, and you together, when we deal with European projects, we see that we are effective, but we lack this spirit of cooperation.
Taking the baton from where you left it Elizabeth, I want to say that many young people want and can offer a lot to their place, but they need a vision, a goal, a direction without misunderstanding the word – someone must get in front, inspire and convince them of the necessity of volunteering. In similar small movements in the past, children had many things done such as cleaning the harbor, the tree planting etc. We have remarkable children but someone needs to inspire them
- So Elizabeth, do you thing that the Halki world can change? Are Halki’s children ready for such thing?
Yes, but it requires effort from everyone, including the eldest too. Children of Halki’ will only will not produce the required results
- Takis would you like to add something?
Yes I would stick in a stable opinion. Each one of s has to look at himself. Improvement should be personal in the first place. We need to realize the need to protect the environment and volunteerism and use the excess of our time our energy and our money, to acieve to relieve the lives of others.
Once we become better people in our inside, then we can try to apply new innovative ideas on the issues under discussion and through EU programs that may allow us this opportunity to provide a better quality of life for our compatriots.
- Thank you both, have a great summer.