Founding History

 

In 1953 a group of parents informs Maria Alexander Papagou (Prime Minister's wife at that time) about the intellectual disability problem. They request her assistance in the creation of modern treatment and education centers, given that the existing ones were not sufficient to cover the needs.

Maria Alexander Papagos, showing great sensitivity, responds to the parents’ anxious request immediately. In order to fund the project she addresses individuals, organizations, public and private entities, and requests advisory guidelines from experts in the field.

 

An invaluable supporter, Dr. John Kiriakou (later to become Minister of Health and Welfare) takes on the position of Secretary General on the Board of Directors, flanked by specialists, with a good social reputation and showing warm interest in the topic. In 1954 (8/9/1954), the Founding Act of the Foundation is published in the Official Government Gazette.

 

At the same time the cornerstone is laid and construction begins on the 51 acres of land, granted by the State. Long-term struggles follow, in order to find money for the erection of the buildings, for the equipment and the location of appropriately trained staff.

 

On the 8/2/1958, a 3-member scientific committee, consisting of the following members of the Board: Andreas Kaloutsis (Child Psychiatrist), George Filippopoulos (Psychiatrist) and Frieda Rassidakis Newman (Psychologist), submit an organizational plan outlining the functional building structures which include a Medical-Educational Centre, Administrative Offices, a Boarding School, a Special School, a Kitchen-Catering-Laundry Department and a Farm, all prospective workplaces for the trainees.

With this guidance, Cyprianos Biris, Professor of the Polytechnic University, and his colleagues prepare the plans for a building complex, exemplary for its time, and later (1962), this work is continued by the Professor of Architecture, Dimitrios Fatouros.

 

On the 14th of November 1963, at 11.30 am, the Foundation is inaugurated with great splendor in the presence of the then Queen Frederica, who also attends as Chairman of Royal Welfare which funded to a large extent the construction. The inauguration was attended by representatives of the Government and the Political and Scientific world of the time. Many parents participated with great pleasure having invested their hopes in the Foundation for the future of their children.