Larissa – Greece

Welcoming structure :

Elliniki Merimna – Paidiki Stegi Center

Elliniki Merimna is a Greek philanthropic association, founded in 1946 in Athens. It has counted up to 50 annexes throughout Greece, including one in Larissa. In 2008 , the association transferred its headquarters to Larissa because, due to financial difficulties, all annexes closed with the exception of Larissa. These difficulties began before the crisis, following a sharp drop in donations and contributions, as well as an increase in staff costs and expenses.

Since 2008, the association has focused on its core activity, namely the maintenance and proper functioning of the children’s home “Paidiki Stegi”. She also provides food for poor pupils in the home, primary school and poor families in Larissa.

Elliniki Merimna children’s home was founded in Larissa in 1952 and continues to operate in an exemplary way until today. It welcomes 120 children of single mothers who work and families without resources. The home has 2 pre-kindergarten classes and 2 kindergarten classes, supervised by specialized and experienced staff.

Until 2005, state subsidies allowed the association to cover its operating costs. In this era of prosperity, disadvantaged children were few in number and parents even paid school fees. Since 2009, the situation has changed dramatically. The number of poor families has increased dramatically due to unemployment, the state has stopped providing subsidies and 85% of the families benefiting from the Paidiki Stegi household are without resources.

In addition to the 120 children in the Center, the association feeds 50 people daily (25 primary school children and their families) who are reported by school directors.

The Paidiki Stegi children’s home employs eight paid staff: five nursery nurses, one of whom is a director, a cook and two housekeepers. The social worker, the psychologist, the speech therapist, the teachers of music, gymnastics and English work voluntarily and receive no remuneration.

Given the poor health of the association’s finances, the salaries of the staff have been reduced but certain costs are incompressible, such as wages, social security contributions, the tax on salaried services, electricity, water, electricity and water heating, etc.

At the same time, the members of the board of directors organize demonstrations, in order to inform and educate people, and to obtain funds through actions such as the sale of homemade pastries at the bazaars and the sale of calendars, the organization of musical evenings, day trips, jewelry exhibitions, and so on.

Meals : Breakfasts and lunches are offered from Monday to Friday. They are taken from the Paidiki Stegi household.

Accommodation : Free accommodation in an apartment near the Paidiki Stegi home. The accommodation is equipped so that volunteers can cook.


Pictures of the welcoming structure :

Missions :

Where : City of Larissa, Thessaly

When : Missions are possible during the months of March, April, May and June

Maximum number of volunteers : 4

Minimum number of volunteers : 2

Minimum time between the final registration of the registration and the beginning of the mission : 15 days

Minimum duration of the mission : one week

Maximum duration of the mission : four weeks

Possible types of activities : In support of the English teacher, language support classes for children. Animation with children through play, theater, painting, plastic arts… Accompaniment of children for visits outside the school (museums, visits)

Participation in the various school programs : roadside prevention using the experimental method (virtual road circuit within the school grounds); information for a healthy diet and dental prevention.

Special informations :

  • Speaking English is necessary to communicate with some members of staff and especially with children.
  • Adaptation of the program according to the wishes and abilities of the volunteers.


Region :

Larissa is a city of 285,000 inhabitants, located on the edge of the river Pennée which crosses the city.

It is the capital of the regional district of Larissa and the capital of the outskirts of Thessaly and that of the decentralized diocese of Thessaly – Central Greece.

Larissa is the main city of Thessaly, considered as the largest plain in Greece. It is in the center of Greece and halfway between the two largest cities of Greece: Athens and Thessaloniki. The area is also known for Mount Olympus, the highest mountain in Greece and the Meteora, famous for its monasteries on rocks giving a unique sight and which are an hour’s drive from Larissa.

In the center of the city is one of the most important ancient Greek theaters built in the third century BC. There is the Diachronic Museum, the National Resistance Museum, the Folklore Museum among the best known.

The beaches of Larissa are 40 minutes, famous for the quality of their water.


How to get there :

Athens Airport is a four-hours drive from Larissa. From the airport you can take the X93 bus to Liossion bus station (Λιοσσίον) and from there to Larissa. The ticket costs 32 Euros (one way) and 56 Euros (round trip).

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To reach Larissa by train, take the metro from the airport to Stathmos Larissis station ( Σταθμός Λαρίσης ). The cost of the ticket is 34.30 Euros (one way) and 41.70 Euros (round trip).

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Thessaloniki airport is a two-hours drive from Larissa. A shuttle (bus number 78) connects the airport with the train station and the bus station day and night. It takes 50 minutes ride and about 1.50 Euros the ticket, otherwise you can take a taxi (about 20 euros). Many trains serve Larissa at the price of 22 Euros (round trip) and 14 Euros (one way).

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Buses are very numerous too and the ticket costs 15.30 Euros (one – way) and 23 Euros (round trip).

You can find information on the site: