€140.00raised of €100,000.00 goal goal
My name is Maliaris Konstantinos. I grew up in the picturesque and idyllic- for
tourists-city of Nafpaktos. Perhaps several of you have heard my name, from the
publicity given to my success in being admitted to Harvard on a full scholarship.
Although Nafpaktos is a wonderful city- in terms of the natural environment- to raise
a child, it remains a typical Greek provincial town. For those who live in large urban
centers with plenty of options, I’d like to explain what this means: there is no
infrastructure, public or private, for any meaningful development of children’s skills.
For all of us who have had the good fortune, but also the bad luck, to grow up in
small rural towns, there are few options: football, basketball, athletics, these and
Despite having access to the latest cell phones and tablets from the best
manufacturers, which are at the cutting edge of technology, most children do not
come close to understanding the possibilities and alternatives that this technology
can offer them. Although they live in the countryside, these children do not know
how to make a paper airplane or boat. They have never played with dirt and rocks.
They do not know the names of the animals and plants around them. Children in the
countryside, having no alternatives, are immersed in the world of technology. They
are addicted to social media from a young age. Technology for them is YouTube,
Instagram, TikTok and, usually violent, games. It will sound paradoxical, but it is
completely true. Taking the sea and the countryside for granted, perhaps worsens
the situation. When someone can go to the sea, whenever he wants ... he puts it off
for the next day. When someone can go for a bike ride in the countryside whenever
he wants... he leaves it for another day. One rarely appreciates something that is a
permanent part of his or her life.
The problem stems from the social structure of provincial towns. A large percentage
of the population of Nafpaktos has retired. They lived their years abroad or in large
urban centers, where there was an abundance of jobs, and returned to reap the
benefits of their work in their own country. (Perhaps also help their children, who,
due to the circumstances, are having a hard time getting by) They are the ones who
nurture the young generations. The parents, working hard in jobs that do not pay
enough, spend their days making ends meet. The burden of protecting and
ultimately educating falls on older people who have more free time on their hands. A
typical image in Nafpaktos: the elderly with the mentality of the 60s, 70s, 80s, trying
to raise children of the 2010s. No one doubts that there is love, will and experience,
but, unfortunately, the gap is huge.
I was lucky enough to grow up in an unconventional, typical, Greek family. My father
early on started working from home, because he believed that children need at least
one of the two parents present while growing up. Being a programmer, he showed
me from an early age how technology can be a blessing, helping to make our lives
better and not something to waste our time and harm our brain cells with. The world
wide web is a source of knowledge and skills, offered for free. All one needs to do is
learn to use it properly.
When I was a child, I had many opportunities to play and have fun: from kites and
boats, to making sourdough for bread and cultivating every kind of plant that thrives
in the area. I tinkered with the most primitive toys to the most sophisticated robots.
I learned to work the soil and to respect nature and what it offers me. Unfortunately,
not all children can have this opportunity.
Before I leave for the USA I want to do something to change the situation in my
I have established an NGO with the aim of promoting technology, innovations and
the sustainable coexistence of man and nature. The aim of the organization is to
bring the children of Nafpaktos, initially, and eventually, of all the rural towns of
Greece, in contact with the scientific developments offered to them. I want them to
acknowledge the fact that the devices they hold in their hands every day, and waste
their time pointlessly with, are tools for progress and development. They are means
of mental exercise, not mind traps. They are opportunities for a better life. The goal
is for the children to stand back and observe the nature that surrounds them, to look
away from the screen and notice the world unfolding, to touch, to smell, to immerse
themselves in what we call “the environment”. Only then will they love it, respect it
and ultimately do everything to protect it.
I have no intention of creating one of these NGO’s that you hear about on the news
and which have created an automatic aversion to the concept of Non-Profit
Organization. I do not want to exploit public money or European Union subsidies to
make a profit. I consider all this, another scourge of Greek society, which makes it
difficult to envision a healthy coexistence of people. Unfortunately, in a rural area
such as Nafpaktos, there are many factors, such as the age distribution and the
conservative mindsets, that would make it difficult for me to promote and operate a
non-profit organization to promote my goals and desires, in the way that I have in
my mind. My vision.
I don’t want the children searching on their own initiative the “reasoning and the
alternative approach” which I want to spread. I want the “reasoning and the
alternative approach” to approach the children. I don’t want the NGO waiting for
someone to come, I want it to go to everyone. I believe it is difficult to approach
someone or something unless he, she or it reaches out to you.
My goal is to create a space, which can be visited by kindergartens and elementary
schools, with equipment that will motivate children to exploit technology and the
environment differently. Trained members of the organization with appropriate
equipment, will visit kindergarten and primary school classes in the mornings, and
will invite the children that are interested to participate in afternoon classes. I want
every child to have the opportunity to get a taste of a different way of thinking. I
would like these evening activities to be free, something which is definitely difficult
to achieve from the first year. But my goal is to make them accessible to everyone.
An area with two classrooms, two toilets and a basic reception area in Nafpaktos
costs, at least, 6,000 euros a year.
The cost for utilities (electricity, water, internet, heating, cleaning, etc.), best case
scenario, will amount to 6,000 to 8,000 euros.
Basic equipment (desks, chairs, desks, air conditioners, etc.) around 8,000 euros.
Basic classroom equipment (interactive whiteboards, tablets, robotics kits,
STEM kits, etc.) about 10,000 euros.
Two members of the organization with the appropriate specialization (basic salary
611 euros net, total cost 1,019 euros per month, after the last increase, 2x14x1019)
annual cost 28,500 euros.
Total initial cost for a year’s operation, best case scenario, about 60,.000 euros. With
an annual operating cost of approximately 40,000 euros, after the second year.
Some funds will definitely be covered by PA (Partnership Agreement for the
Development Framework) funds, but such funding is saved, if approved (and I am
not one of those people who has “connections”), after the third year of operation
and implementation of such programs. So in order for the above to be implemented,
100,000 euros is needed for the first two years of operation.
As it becomes clear, from the final cost, the vision seems utopian. Unfortunately, I do
not come from a family that is financially comfortable, and it is impossible for them
to contribute substantially to this venture. So I am asking everyone -who shares my
vision for a better tomorrow that can start today- to contribute whatever they can.
- NextGenMinds NGO
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