CULTURE

President Karolos Papoulias makes time for children

An overloaded schedule does not keep President Karolos Papoulias from spending time with children. His contribution to the charity work carried out by private initiative in order to aid sick children and all those with special needs is unrestricted. Last weekend, the president attended the Special Olympics, which took place in Ioannina, awarded the medals to the winners and posed for pictures together with the athletes – 450 sportsmen and woman from around Greece. A few days later, last Tuesday, he took his seat at the Herod Atticus Theater to listen to Giorgos Dalaras and Portuguese interpreter Dulce Pontes sing in aid of the ELPIDA association, in order to raise funds for the construction of the first children’s oncology hospital in Greece. And then, last Thursday at the Presidential Palace, Papoulias received 35 young people suffering from muscular dystrophy, who were accompanied by members of the board of directors of MDA Hellas. Papoulias chatted with them and listened to their dreams and demands – such as the need for the state to finance research toward curing the disease. He was deeply moved by a poem they dedicated to him and a painting they gave him – a work of art created in the special unit of the Aghia Sophia Hospital where a painting workshop operates in the afternoons. «You should come back; we’ll meet in the garden next time,» he said. President Papoulias carries on the open-door, big-hearted policy of his predecessor.