The UNESCO chair at Thessaloniki’s Aristotle University (AUTH) on Wednesday honored Father Antonios, the priest that set up the “Ark of the World” shelter in the downtown Athens district of Kolonos to care for the children of migrants and one-parent families. The “Ark of the World” is a NGO founded by Father Antonios in 1998. Since then he has dedicated his life to children facing abandonment, indifference, racism and social exclusion on a daily basis.
Currently, the “Ark” shelters roughly 300 children, from infants and adolescents, who form a multi-religious and multi-cultural community in the centre of Athens.
Assisted by a group of volunteers that include teachers, pediatricians, psychiatrists, cooks and many other volunteers, the “Ark of the World” and Father Antonios try to offer the children necessities but, as he stresses, “without institutionalising them”.