The proposal of ELINEPA’s Vice-president, Dr. Helen Ampadzi to actively support the education of the economically weak children of South Asia who live and study in Greece has been welcomed by all the members and immigrant friends of the Society in Greece and abroad. Mrs Ampadzi, who has worked several years for the development of South Asian countries as an evaluation officer of the World Bank, assembled the initial sum of 3.000 U.S. dollars for this aim with the noble support of the Orthodox Archdiocese of America. With this donation, the Aid and Development Committee of ELINEPA has established the “Philoxenia Grant” that expresses the ecumenical and hospitable character of the Hellenic spirit.
The ‘Philoxenia Grant’ is addressed particularly to the children of financially weak immigrants coming from Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, India, Shri Lanka, Pakistan, Tibet and Afghanistan and wish to study their own culture in Greece. The Society would like to support the immigrant children and their families by paying school fees and purchasing books as well as schools and non-profit organizations that share similar objectives by paying salaries to teachers, organizing regular classes and establishing cultural centers and libraries.
The “Philoxenia Grant” 2006 was granted to the “Athens Bangla Academy” a civil non-governmental and non-profit society that has been registered in the Athens Court in December 2004. President of the Academy is the Honourary Consular of Bangladesh to Greece. Mr. Theodoros Venetsianos while director of the school is Mr. Arifur Rahman Arif.
The main objective of the Academy is to provide education to the children of about 17.000 Bangladeshi immigrants who work in Greece on the language, culture and customs of their country.
For this aim, the Academy has established a children’s station in which today study 12 children of preschool age. In the same space has been created a library and are working two schoolteachers, Mrs Rina Islam (Bangla language and the Islam) and Mrs Luneta Gonjales (mathematics, English and history). The Academy organises also lectures and cultural events, as musical concerts, projection of films, painting exhibitions etc. for the spread of a better understanding among the common Athenian people of the culture and customs of Bangladesh.
The “Philoxenia” Grant is particularly important for the aid and materialisation of the aims of the Athens Bangla Academy, as this newly established institution does not receive up to today economic support from the Greek Government or from the state of Bangladesh. Exclusive resources of the Academy are the contributions of its members and the subscriptions of immigrants and its supporters.