A new baby was recently born on the island of Agios Efstratios; this may not seem like big news, but for The Hellenic Initiative and the people on the small Greek island of 270 inhabitants, it is of enormous import in the effort to increase Greece’s birth rate.
The Hellenic Initiative Canada, in an effort to reverse Greece’s worrying negative birth rate, has partnered with HOPEgenesis, a Greek NGO on a mission to bring a sense of renewal and hope for the future to the country, most especially its small islands, which struggle to keep their young people there.
The Hellenic Initiative Canada works with HOPEgenesis to not only provide guidance and medical expertise, but even to cover all expenses for families in remote areas of Greece who want to have a baby and do not have access to medical facilities in their remote communities.
Since the start of its collaboration early in 2021, they have welcomed a healthy baby girl born on the remote island of Agios Efstratios. “The news brought excitement and hope to the local community,” the Hellenic Initiative says in an announcement of the birth.
“We are also expecting 3 more births on the island of Kasos prior to the end of 2021,” it adds.
THI notes that Greece has been moving toward what it calls a “demographic deadlock;” research indicates that Greece’s birth rate is now sadly negative. It is estimated that by the year 2050 the population of Greece will have fallen to between 6.5 million to 8 million from its current 10.8 million today.
According to official data from the Hellenic Statistical Authority, in 2019 Greece reported 83.763 births compared to 124.965 deaths — resulting in a dramatic population decline.
The initial focus of the Hellenic Initiative Canada, with HOPEgenesis, is the support of the islands of Kasos, Irakli and Agios Efstratos, as well as the purchase of 15 telemedicine devices, to provide the program’s beneficiaries with access to remote medical monitoring and consultation services through a specially-designed platform.
The program hopes to help bring about the addition of 8-10 new citizens each year it operates the program, setting the foundation for future generations to repopulate the islands, thereby providing an incentive for younger people to stay in the area where they were born.
The program to increase Greece’s birth rate was implemented in the beginning of 2021 and barely four months later, in April, a baby was born on the small island of Agios Efstratos, giving hope to the local communities of the remote islands. Agios Efstratos, a small island in the northern Aegean Sea, has a population of only 270 and a birth to death ratio of -3, making the first birth after the program began a significant one for the local community.
In addition to the news of the first baby born into the program, HOPE genesis announced that three additional beneficiaries from the island of Kasos who entered the program are expected to give birth in September, October and December of 2021.
If you would like to become involved with this initiative, you may want to be a part of the campaign called “Flowers for HOPE.” The fundraiser aims to provide funds for the purchase of 15 telemedicine device packages for pregnant women on remote islands in Greece.
Each package will contain Bluetooth devices that monitor blood glucose, blood pressure and a cardiograph device.
The goal is to help pregnant women stay healthy and safe throughout their pregnancy without worrying about the expenses. We invite you to participate by sending a bouquet of flowers to someone special! Find out more by visiting their website, here.