NEWS

Voluntary work is alternative option for summer holidays

Would you like to clear and mark paths on Lefkada? Organize a rock festival in France? Help in the conservation of traditional buildings in the Mastorohoria of Epirus? Improve the living conditions of children and young people in a remote area of Peru? These are just some of the things you can do as part of Conservation Volunteers Greece (PEEP), a non-governmental organization that has given young people the opportunity to combine summer holidays with voluntary work over the past 17 years. This summer, PEEP will be sending volunteers to seven districts in Greece and to over 60 countries around the world. The Greek programs include opening a path on the banks of the River Kladeos at Ancient Olympia, conservation work on the national park of Schinias at Marathon, opening and marking paths in the Adam area of Thessaloniki, clearing footpaths on Lefkada and Ithaca, conservation work on traditional buildings in Mastorohoria in Epirus, and the restoration of the Aghios Andreas hermitage at the Vatopedi Monastery on Mount Athos. The last-mentioned program is of particular interest. «It’s only for men, of course, who will stay 20 days at the monastery and help to restore the hermitage, which was damaged by fire some years ago,» PEEP President Eleni Gazi told Kathimerini. «Because it is such a special program, it’s open to older as well as younger people.» From 1987 until today, PEEP has organized over 180 voluntary work projects in 77 areas of the country with the participation of 3,100 volunteers. «There are lots of reasons why young people jump at the chance,» said Gazi. «First of all, there is the sense of adventure, of doing something different, of having alternative holidays which are combined with offering something to a small, remote society. Another attraction is getting to know people, the company, the strong bonds of friendship forged with volunteers from all over Greece and the rest of the world, which is something truly special. «We can see it in their eyes when they return,» she said. Divided into two periods over the holidays, the projects last no longer than two to three weeks. Volunteers pay a purely symbolic fee and are responsible for their own transport. For more information, call 210.382.5506 or log on to www.cvgpeep.gr.