Athens is an amazing city and it also has tremendous potential for advancement. It has energetic citizens, advanced educational institutions and an innovative private sector. But the city’s assets do not always come together in meaningful ways. The Athens Partnership was created to bring together the resources and expertise of the public and private sectors to address priority, public needs.
A new and first of its kind Maker Space has been created in Athens. The fabrication lab is free for all students in Athens and is aimed at helping them thrive in using 21st century technology.
The Maker Space provides the schoolchildren with resources to explore how to program a robot battle or how you can use a 3D printer to design and produce a chess piece or a key ring. They can even see what it is like to visit a space station through the use of virtual reality.
“In spite of all its technological wonder, the Maker Space is not a just a showroom where you can admire technological applications. Children and adults are invited here to become creators, taking digital technology into their own hands,” says Alexandros Kambouroglou, Executive Director of the Athens Partnership, who coordinates the Maker Space program.
Five o'clock Wednesday afternoon, which should have been a tranquil after-school hour in Athens, the 104th Elementary School in the downtown of the Greek capital was yet cheerful and boisterous. Thanks to the Athens Open Schools program, an initiative by the City of Athens with an aim of running activities within the school premises in after-school hours, the Upcycled Percussions Team, a three-member band, can make their final rehearsal here on the eve of the great celebration for the end of the school year.
An initiative by the City of Athens to keep schools open after class for Greeks and refugees alike has won acclaim by the Council of Europe. Through the Athens Open Schools program, 25 public schools are kept open after class, on afternoons and weekends, hosting free recreation and development activities for residents of all ages. The aim is to revitalize neighborhoods, provide safe public spaces and opportunities for growth amid difficult conditions.
“By bringing together private sector donors, as well as companies, voluntary groups and many more actors, Athens is showing a way forward out of the crisis for Greece. Through these programs, the public sector is becoming more open, assuming a new role by leading social innovation with tangible results,” says Alexandros Kambouroglou, Executive Director of the Athens Partnership.