«Friends of Ikaria» is a non-profit association, officially registered in 2016 under Belgian law in Brussels, where the founders of the association live and work.
The group started its activities in 2015 in Brussels and intends to bring together Ikarians living on the island and abroad as well as non-Ikarians who like the island and have established a personal link with it, wherever they may live.
«Friends of Ikaria» aims at making the very special character of the island more widely known: the beauty of its nature, which makes it a special destination for tourists; its food, its culture … But above all, the notion of a simple way of living, the spirit of cooperation and a vibrant community life. Ikarians are an example that these things are not incompatible with modern society.
Upon this background the association «Friends of Ikaria» is organizing various events outside the island, above all in Brussels, the so called “Ikarian Days”, such as: Panigyria with musicians from the island, dance lessons to learn the Ikariotiko, presentations of films directed on the island and much more.
Our activities are purely philanthropic. The money we collect at our events is spent directly on Ikaria for projects, which need financial support to enhance sustainable development in various fields, such as tourism, economy, education, environment and culture. There is no money transfer, only face-to-face projects. The association has no administrative overheads as all the people involved work on a volunteer basis.
Via our activities we hope to attract further «Friends of Ikaria» , who like our approach: acting together to support projects on Ikaria.
How can you support our activities?
- You can become a member with an annual membership fee of 10 EUR.
- You can make a donation:
IBAN: BE33 5230 8081 7546 // BIC: TRIOBEBB
- You can volunteer in our activities – may it be in Brussels or on Ikaria.
- In Brussels you can buy local Ikarian products from us. A small part from the profits goes to our association.
«Friends of Ikaria» intends to bring together Ikarians living on the island and abroad as well as non-Ikarians who like the island and have established a personal link with it, wherever they may live.
But above all, the notion of a simple way of living, the spirit of cooperation and a vibrant community life. Ikarians are an example that these things are not incompatible with modern society.
The idea for the association
During the peak of the financial and economic crisis in Greece, the survival of many initiatives starting or being planned in schools, in the fire brigades and in the field of tourism, were at risk. It became obvious that they would need funding to continue or to start.
The idea of the founders was to support these activities organising events in Brussels, in order to collect money for projects in the island.
How do we work
– Festivals and events
Ikarian musicians, cooks, filmmakers, craftspeople, artists and producers come to Brussels to meet locals in events such as:
Ikarian Days: Sessions dedicated to the cultural production of the island. There are film projections, lectures and sampling of Ikarian products.
Paniyiria: Ikarian Days usually end with a Paniyiri. Popular festivals with music, dance and traditional cooking. They are integral part of the Ikarian way of life, serving as a meeting point for people who live in different areas of the island. We bring that festive social event to Brussels and teach our guests how to dance Ikariotiko, one of the most characteristic dances of all Greece.
– Sales of products from Ikaria
– Hiking and voluntary work holidays
People come from Brussels and other countries to Ikaria to roam the Transikarian Path and to help clean and signpost it working together with locals. Accommodation is arranged in small, family-run hotels and private homes. This brings together Ikarians and visitors.
We carry out our activities in strict observance of a clear and straightforward principle:
Our contribution to projects on the island is very simple: There is no money transfer, only face-to-face projects. That means: our association is paying the bills for the projects on the spot, based on invoices presented. The association has no administrative overheads as all the people involved work on a clear volunteer basis.
Members of the Management Board
Nicki KastaniaGeneral Secretary
So far we collected 10.000€ that were spent directly on projects in Ikaria, for example:
- Obtained and donated a fire engine to the volunteer fire brigade of Agios Kirykos
- Direct help to schools: books, heating fuel, specific learning material for handicapped children in special schools.
- Educational project “Replace plastic bags with cotton bags”: 500 cotton bags and cloth markers were distributed in Ikarian schools for children to decorate them.
- Expenses of local associations that clear and mark hiking paths across the island.