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View from the Outside: “TAP’s investment programme supports social inclusion”

25 June 2019

In Greece, TAP has invested in various activities bearing a strong social and environmental impact on our host communities. We sat down with Maria Kastanopoulou, President of the non-governmental organisation "ELPIDA" to understand how TAP’s actions have positively affected the lives of people with disabilities.

 

Describe the organisation you’re representing and your role in it. What are your biggest challenges?

"ELPIDA" (i.e. the Greek word for "Hope") is a non-profit charitable association that cares for and educates persons with autism and mental disabilities, and I am the President of ELPIDA’s Board of Directors.

The biggest daily challenges we face are mainly financial in nature, such as the inability to cover monthly operational expenses, as well as wages and social security contributions.  

 

What’s your opinion on TAP’s SEI programme?

TAP’s Social and Environmental Investments Programme supports social inclusion and contributes to the further cohesion of the Greek society, at a time when it’s dearly needed, due to the socio-economic crisis that has been plaguing our country in recent years.

The programme’s ultimate aim is to improve the quality of life for Greek citizens, especially in cases like ours, involving socially vulnerable groups such as persons with disabilities.

Our collaboration with TAP has been excellent and mutually constructive, with the TAP team promptly addressing all our requests.

 

What do you think are the greatest benefits of TAP’s SEI programme?

The most significant benefits stemming from TAP’ SEI programme are the improvements in the quality of life and the livelihoods of local communities.

 

What changes have you noticed in your community after TAP donated a mini bus to ELPIDA?

Transportation is a significant aspect of our operation, as our facilities are located in Oraiokastro – i.e. rather far from the urban centre of Thessaloniki, but also off-centre the Municipality of Oraiokastro itself.

So, essentially, the donation of the mini-bus connects our facilities with the city, with society at large and with the local community, assisting in the transportation of persons with autism for various daily and/or recreational activities within the community. But most importantly, the mini-bus improves the quality of life for the parents who now do not have to travel so far to collect their children.

 

What’s your opinion on corporate social responsibility (CSR) in general? Can you share any relevant quote or proverb that reflects your views on it?

CSR creates the necessary conditions to eliminate social exclusion and promote solidarity and the well-being of the Greek society, cultivating respect in values, the environment, education and other key domains.

As noted by the Greek Nobel laureate in Literature, Giorgos Seferis, at the speech he delivered during the Nobel Banquet in Stockholm on 10 December 1963: "In our gradually shrinking world, everyone is in need of all the others."