Mana: a story worth telling

The story of Maria, Dorothea, Parthenia and Kaliniki, four nuns who have over the years raised hundreds of underprivileged children, has long been a story worth telling. Thanks to a successful crowd-funding campaign, it is now set to be told on film.

The idea for the documentary, titled “Mana” (Mother), comes from a predominantly female team led by director-producer and Exile Room founder Valerie Kontakos, whose members have succeeded in raising over 45,000 dollars for the project. Though the campaign’s original target has now been met, funds are still welcome and are being collected until May 4, when the online campaign expires.

The documentary will tell the tale of how six friends living in 1960s Piraeus had a very specific cause in mind: to establish their own monastery and raise unwanted children. The young women, all in their early 20s, ran away from home three times but were caught each time. The fourth final attempt was successful, though they did end up having to live in hiding for three years. The Lyrio Children’s Village was eventually established by the four nuns in 1967 and has since sheltered and nurtured over 300 children.

Contrary to other foster establishments, Lyrio children are not obliged to leave when they turn 18 – they stay until they are able to take care of themselves. When they eventually venture out in the real world, however, most of them keep in touch with their “manes” (mothers) and help them raise the next generation.

For more information or to make a donation toward the documentary, visit