The President of the World Council of Hellenes Abroad, Mr. Andrew A. Athens, is issuing a number of brief updates to keep you abreast on the latest developments on SAE`s major projects.
My Dear Friends,
It is my pleasure to inform you that we have already begun to implement our plans for a major health care facility in Mariupol, Republic of Ukraine, where the Hellenic communities are experiencing a severe absence of even the most basic health care.
Architectural and engineering plans are now complete and we are waiting for the issuance of a construction license. Soon, we will be able to release a rendering of the facility building.
During the past 6 months, we have made every effort to provide some care to Hellenes in and around Mariupol through pharmaceuticals and a team of 25 visiting nurses who have treated more than 4,000 individuals.
Our next step is to secure construction funds for the facility which is expected to cost more than $1 million. In conjunction with this, our sister organization, `Thessaloniki Friends of SAE`, under the leadership of Mr. Antonis Doudos, a local industrialist, will hold a meeting of the 15-member board of directors in mid-November.
As you are probably aware, SAE has launched a medical relief program targeting the Hellenes in the Newly Independent States of the Former Soviet Union where conditions continue to deteriorate for the entire population. Our clinics target Hellenes but provide assistance to anyone who seeks it. It is estimated that, eventually, SAE will be providing basic care to about 750,000 Hellenes and to as many of their neighbors.
We should keep in mind the importance of these lands to Hellenism. It was here, in Odessa, that the 1821 revolution for the Greek Independence was planned and financed by Apodoimoi Hellenes. And Ionian Hellenes have lived in certain places of the Black Sea (Efxinos Pontos) area since the 8th century b.c., according to archeological findings and the writings of the 4th century historian Xenophone about the Greek cities of Trapezounta, Kerasounta and Sinopi.
The 1989 census mentions 358,000 Hellenic origin residents in the republics of the Former Soviet Union. Omogeneia organizations estimate the number to be around 500,000 and the former mayor of Moscow, Hellene Gabriel Popof, now president of the Federation of Hellenic Societies, estimates the number at around 1,000,000 persons.
We have already established and are operating three medical clinics in the Republic of Georgia. They are located in Tbilisi, the capital; in Tsalka, which is a group of 27 mountain villages, and in the village of Tsikisvari. The three clinics, provided with pharmaceuticals and consumables worth more than $500,000, are fully staffed and equipped. Doctors now see more than 4,000 patients a month. Eventually, Tbilisi alone will accommodate 5,000 visits monthly.
If you wish more information, or to support the Medical Relief Program with donations of any size, please call us in Chicago at 312 / 782-9980.
With my warmest regards,
Andrew A. Athens
President, World Council of Hellenes Abroad