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The Value of Social Pedagogical Volunteerism in the Midst of the Greek Economic Crisis: The Example of Voluntary Caring for Patients in the Hospitals (EDANI)

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      Caring for common affairs and unconditional service are connected with Greek life and culture and closely related to religious duty and piousness. In the difficult days of the economical crisis and recession, offers for organized volunteering have culminated. The Voluntary Caring for Patients (EDANI), is both an organized ecclesiastical activity which wonderfully reclaims scientific knowledge and a model of education, support, supervision and distribution of volunteers. Along with the crisis, the effort has been more thoroughly organized and based on self-devotion, love for the other, social and spiritual sensitivity, EDANI manages to maintain a stable number of volunteers and to multiply its offer to nursing institutions in quality and quantity. It has well-trained and supportive volunteers taking care of patients (adults and children) who have no family environment to support them. In fact, EDANI is conducting social pedagogical work. Its strong social pedagogical character is demonstrated through: a) its sensitivity and interest in vulnerable groups of people, which is transformed into actual and systematic action; b) the pursuit to enable people to have a better quality of life, which we consider a duty; c) the development of volunteering action, which begins with the intention of an unconditional service and continues with meeting the needs of people who go through a bad situation; d) seeking personal strengthening and involvement of the patients and the volunteers; and e) finally, the vision of well-being for all people.The media, the volunteers themselves as well as the structure of the Orthodox Church of Greece have played an important role in bringing out this social pedagogical character of EDANI and have contributed to its success. During this period of crisis the Orthodox Church of Greece is promoting the spiritual character of the voluntary offer, organizing the distribution of material, time and money in order to sufficiently support people in need in our country, and has engaged in important religious and social pedagogical work for many years now.

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      Voluntary Caring for Patients in the Hospitals (EDANI), Greece
      Author notes
      Correspondence to: Reverend Vasileios Kontogiannis, Holy Archdiocese of Athens, 2nd General Directorate of Pastoral Providence, Culture and Communication, Voluntary Caring for Patients in the Hospitals, 23 Alexandroupoleos, Abelokipoi, 115 21 Athens, Greece. Email: info@

      *Father Vasileios Kontogiannis: Born 1949 in Larisa, Thessalia, he served in the Greek Air Force as an aircraft engineer for fifteen years. In 1981 he was ordained as a priest of the Orthodox Greek Church and has served as a hospital reverend in Ippokrateio General Hospital of Athens since 1986. In 2003 he founded Voluntary Caring for Patients, which he manages until today. He has been the appointed manager of the newly-founded department of Nurses’ Catechism of the Archbishopric of Athens since 2011. He is married and has 6 children and several (27) grandchildren.

      International Journal of Social Pedagogy
      UCL Press (UK )
      1 January 2015
      : 4
      : 1
      : 241-247
      Copyright © 2015 The Author(s). [Special issue title, Social Pedagogy in Times of Crisis in Greece]

      This work is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License (CC-BY-NC-SA) 3.0, which permits re-use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided any modifications of this material in anyway is distributed under this same license, is not used for commercial purposes, and the original author and source are credited

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