Innovation Lights up the Streets of Athens


Philemon and Babis, are two leaders of Fusion Hellas (Fusion Greece) AKA Street Lights. They shared some of the projects that have emerged as a creative response to the needs around them, bringing hope to their city and country. We are all familiar with the socio-economic, political crisis in which Greece finds itself; so how does a team of young adults with families to support, continue to serve, respond and expand their mission activity with no big sponsors and no salaries to take home?

For the Street Lights leadership, the question is actually much bigger than that. Greece is at 70% unemployment with 3000 people losing their jobs each day. Finding a creative response to this need is crucial if the hope that Street Lights purport to bring is to be credible and tangible to their fellow Athenians and nationals.

Philemon explains “We wanted to use creativity to raise funds, we were looking for ways to support people and give them an income: we needed to turn creative in order to survive! And at the same time, creative work helps people to connect to our Creator-God.”

The result? Two income generating social enterprises and a third one in its pilot phase.

The Loved Projects: this is the most established enterprise. Its vision is to take communication to another level, helping clients articulate their narrative with clarity. The Loved Projects team, Philemon Armenis, Eirini Milaki, and Theodore Kritikos develop promotional materials for clients using print, video and web media; in the process they mentor their clients in communication. The income generated currently supports two Fusion Hellas youth workers. There’s another significant outcome from the project, it provides a space where young people can be trained by the team in design and film editing, which gives them a better chance for their future. “Two of our people have recently gone on to get jobs in the film industry! We are addressing a real need. This is the biggest excitement! It’s like we were made for this moment!” You can find out more by visiting www.lovedprojects.com

Street Store:  is the brain child of Babis who we met last time, (AKA Charalampos Tsakiris). Through this project young people can take a creative idea, refine the design, produce and sell their product on line at www.streetstore.gr . “The street store has really helped to build morale! It’s amazing! You walk down the stairs, leaving a street of closed down stores, down to the basement where it’s vibrant. People tell me that they can ‘breathe’ in there. It’s a hub; a place where people can learn.” The goal is simply to connect and communicate with young people and give them the experience of generating income; a percentage of which goes to fund the philanthropic work of Fusion Hellas and the rest they take home for themselves. (The Philanthropy team is operational throughout the winter months, when they move through the streets of Athens on cold nights distributing clothes and blankets to the homeless.)

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The third enterprise in its pilot phase still, is the PC service. The team, led by Alexandros Siozos, have the capacity to do professional upgrades on computers and see this as yet another way to train young people, serve clients, including other teams in the Fusion movement, and generate income to further fuel the growing work of Street Lights. We wish them all the best in this and all their exciting income generating social enterprises.

 

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