The Cultural Association of Miamou/Lentas – Asclepios
The Cultural Association of Miamou/Lentas – Asclepios was founded in 1987. Its main goals are: to foster hope, protect the environment and discover and preserve the history of the area. Furthermore, the group tries to help people understand how to mix modern progress with valuable traditions, and especially be an example of people working together, collaborating, and celebrating. For example, in the village of Miamou, the members have worked to create a community center with support from an EU grant. This center is now a place where people come together for celebrations and meetings. Members also built a community oven nearby where villagers bake bread and other dishes together – and afterwards, share a common meal. Another highlight is the village’s folk museum that displays traditional tools and objects of daily life from the past.
A huge project in progress at the moment is renovating the old village center. The idea is to create new living spaces out of old ruins with the aim of helping to repopulate the village. In an initiative from the mazi network, a group of volunteers from abroad joined locals in 2019 to begin clearing away dirt and rubbish from these ruins. Now these old structures are ready for more work.
The association also helps to preserve and promote the ruins of the ancient site of healing in Lentas – the Asclepius Sanctuary.
The Cultural Association of Tsigounas
Tsigounas is a small village on the coast of the Libyan Sea where most of the circa 100 residents are active in agriculture. In the year 2000, a group of concerned residents founded the Association for Promotion and Protection of the Village of Tsigounas as a non-profit organization. One of the association’s first main goals was: tackle the growing problem of plastic waste from the increasing number of greenhouses. As a solution, the association created a central location where the plastic waste could be collected for recycling or proper disposal. This initiative has helped significantly reduce the amount of plastic greenhouse waste that previously, was polluting the landscape and sea through improper disposal.
Over the years, the association has also worked to implement alternative growing/irrigation methods and encourage organic farming. Other projects work to revive traditional crafts and skills, develop the village and its infrastructure and address social concerns. A large focus of the Tsigounas Association is on building and fostering community spirit and especially, promote contact and exchange between native-born residents and new ones from abroad. The group hosts events like an annual card tournament and offers a yearly outing to explore and enjoy more of Crete together.
Association of Volunteer Firefighters and Environmental Protection, Asterousia
Fire in Greece is a very disturbing and scary topic. At the latest in the early summer, the fire danger rises immensely. When fire breaks out in the Asterousia mountain and coastal areas, professional firefighters based in the Messara Plain can need over an hour’s travel time to reach a fire. That’s why in 2009, a group of community members founded the non-profit Association of Volunteer Firefighters and Environmental Protection Asterousia. The goal was to be a fast, locally-based first response to fire. The group refurbished a simple (donated) trailer by adding a 1000 litre water tank, an efficient, high-pressure pump, and two long coils of extra-strong water hoses with high-tech spray attachments. With this fire-fighting trailer, the volunteers could respond quickly and fight fire for up to two hours without re-filling the water tank.
Through donations and various fundraising activities, the association has added a second trailer and been able to purchase basic safety and firefighting equipment. Its mission has also expanded beyond being a first response to fire. Its work now includes many activities aimed at fire prevention and protecting and preserving the local environment. These include planting trees along roadways, organizing clean-up days, raising awareness about waste disposal, and being instrumental in bringing recycling to the area in the summer of 2018. Many of these activities involve social aspects that include tourists and visitors to the area.
The association MAZI e.V. was founded in late 2018 to:
- promote exchange with Greek people
- inform about social and cultural concerns in Greece
- initiate workshops and educational activities
- organize joint events in Greece and in Germany
- provide monetary and material donations against the background of the Greek crisis
- support charitable and future-oriented initiatives
- generate contacts and cooperation locally
- help foster the spirit of Europeanism in the areas and form partnerships from the grassroots level up.
With all this in mind, MAZI focusses on an extensive region in southern Crete, to whose inhabitants MAZI members have had close ties for many years.
A future guest house in the old village of Miamou was the goal of a MAZI action week that took place at end May/begin June 2019. The resonance was amazing and 13 engaged people flew from Germany to Crete for ten days and got down to work. The action week concluded with a fantastic and lively festivity at the village square at the east side of Lentas. Approximately 200 people took part (including many interested holiday makers) to enjoy food, drinks, and diverse live music.