Art sale at Cacoyannis Foundation to benefit local children’s charity

The Michael Cacoyannis Foundation is hosting an art exhibition and auction in aid of Kivotos tou Kosmou (Ark of the World), a charity that gives direct support to almost 400 child victims of neglect, racism and social exclusion.

The nongovernmental organization, which is based in the downtown Athens neighborhood of Kolonos, has received awards for the work that it does, with the challenges brought on by the crisis magnifying the significance of its role.

Father Antonios (photo) has run the charity for the last 15 years.

“We used to be called in to help out with children who’d dropped out of school, got into drugs or single-parent families that needed support,” Father Antonios told Kathimerini recently. “Today we’ve seen a massive leap in the number of households living on the poverty line, as well as skyrocketing cases of domestic violence and depression, not to mention many fathers who are in jail and mothers having to prostitute themselves in order to make ends meet.”

The 41-year-old cleric explained how Ark of the World takes in 400 children a day who eat meals, get help with schoolwork and engage in creative activities at the center.

“We do schoolwork with professional teachers in the afternoons and even have private tutorials for children with learning difficulties. We work with doctors and lawyers who donate their time to cases we refer to them. We have a group of housewives who volunteer to cook meals every day and others who wash and iron the clothes of children who don’t have families of their own,” said Father Antonios.

Ark of the World additionally offers elementary school education to 100 children who work in the streets as well as Greek lessons to foreign mothers. In the basement of the Ark’s new premises, there is a minimarket that provides free food items to 1,500 families.

“We disagree with the soup kitchen logic, which turns the beneficiaries into victims,” argued Father Antonios. “We provide foodstuffs to mothers and encourage them to cook for themselves. We also provide them with the opportunity to attend practical seminars in professions such as dressmaking, hairdressing and nursing. We want people to have their dignity, so we cultivate reciprocity. We may provide food to a jobless builder, for example, and he will undertake certain repairs for us.”

Ark of the World also rents a number of apartments that are made available to families in trouble until they can get back on their feet, while it recently also inaugurated a dormitory in Piraeus for girls that have been deemed by a prosecutor to be at risk by remaining with their families.

The organization’s future plans include expansion into a 5,000 sq.m. disused factory space that will have accommodation units and a multiethnic restaurant and store, proceeds from which will go to the charity. The project has already received the support of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, though the charity itself relies mainly on individual donations.

The art exhibition at the Michael Cacoyannis Foundation has been put together by over 60 members of the Group for UNESCO Arts, Literature and Science, with opening bids for each art piece starting at 50 euros with a cut-off at 5,500 euros.

The exhibition will remain on display until Thursday. Admission is free. For more information, visit

Michael Cacoyannis Foundation, 206 Pireos, Tavros, tel 210.341.8550

Subscribe to our Newsletters

Enter your information below to receive our weekly newsletters with the latest insights, opinion pieces and current events straight to your inbox.

By signing up you are agreeing to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.