Section SOCIETY
TOPIC

Award-winning Innovative Multidisciplinary Educational Workshop: "Junior Tourist/Consumer-A traveling Suitcase"

The free of charge Award-winning Innovative Experiential Interdisciplinary Initiative "Junior Tourist / Consumer - A Traveling Suitcase" is a targeted educative & inspiring program on "consumer education/tourist consciousness" and aims at ensuring that participants acquire active citizenship -mobilizing on the principles of sustainable development by promoting creative tourism and responsible consumption. 

Each workshop is addressed to both children and adults from all over Greece and abroad as well. At the same time, the project was invited in a variety of events (festivals/special working groups, campaigns of schools/universities, pedagogical/tourist conferences etc.) in order to educate different target-groups like pupils, students, teachers, animateurs, parents, special population, volunteers, officials of municipalities, citizens and  promote “Agenda 2030”.

Our free of charge and voluntary educational workshop was piloted in 2014-2015 and since then has been continuously completed until today 2021  (totally 7 years), while it will last until 2030, monitoring and being in line with the UN Agenda 2030.

This project offers a whole new way to address the problem of “passive citizenship-lack of sustainable consciousness” through experiential workshops based on: works of art, appropriate teaching material and pedagogical methodology in order to empower target groups involved & inspire stakeholders. The most important, however, is the "creative & playful character" which analyses sectors like nature, society, culture, economy, occupation, entertainment, activism, locality, voluntarism, etc. important for humanity, in an understandable & tangible way.

At the same time, it promotes values of Organizations such as United Nations and European Union, incorporates priorities such as intercultural dialogue, environmental protection, sustainable education, respect for diversity, aiming at shaping active and critically-minded citizens through a holistic educational approach.

Through new teaching methods (ike role plays, case studies, theatrical play, interactive exercises and other innovative activities), based on non-formal education, our semi-structured workshops provide great self-efficacy to the participants, while all participants are invited to take an active role.

The main feature of our initiative is the intimate and varied cooperation with stake-holders (both through provision of educational material and participation in our workshops), because without them the Initiative could not be implemented.

More specifically, the program is officially implemented under the umbrella of numerous organizations such as Ministry of Tourism, Greek National Tourism Organization, Attica Region, Hellenic Statistical Authority, European Information Center, European Parliament Office in Greece, European Commission Delegation in Greece, United Nations Information and Information Office by providing us with their excellent material on sustainable tourism.

At the same time, there has been cooperation with the following bodies: Unesco Group of Speech, Arts & Sciences of Greece, Unesco Group of Maroussi, Unesco Group of Serres, Scientific Association for the Promotion of Educational Innovation, Association of Greek Scientists, Hellenic Institute of Cultural Democracy, while obtaining the approval of the Minister Of Education and Religions (2016-2017) and is hosted, being an integral part of the multi-actions such as: "Come with us" of Al. Onassis Foundation (Scholars Association), "MindtheLab" Athens Metro, "Researcher's Night" National Research Foundation, "Open Schools" Municipality of Athens, "Let'sdoitGreece" & "MoneyShow" in combination with e-twinning & Erasmus + program, "Children's Festival" Municipality of Lykovrysi-Pefki, "Toy Festival" Municipality of Agios Nikolaos of Crete, "TeachersForEurope" Delegation of the European Commission "," Dream City "Municipality of Drama," PARODOS 17 "Hellenic Science Festival”, British Council, "SOS4LOVE PROJECT" & "TheAthensweneed" initiatives for the UN, "Children's University" Municipality of Kavala, KESYP Patision, Chalkida, Library of the Onassis Foundation, OPANDA Library, Library of Veroia, Smile of the Child, TV educational programs "About education", "Highlight the Child", radio show "Hellas Plus" of ERT etc.

Perhaps one of the most basic elements of this initiative is its voluntary nature (both on the part of the organizers and on the part of the participants) in combination with the free  of charge implementation and participation costs for each beneficiary (in fact, it is undertaken entirely by the volunteer educators and action creators).

The soul of the Initiative constitutes of 2 individuals, Executives of the public sector (Hellenic Ministry of Economy & Development as well as Tourism) with common vision “for a better world” by “leaving no one behind” who dedicate their leisure time voluntarily (without being paid & by covering all costs by themselves) setting the program free for beneficiaries to participate (in order to empower more people). In short terms, this workshop could not be implemented without stakeholders who would like to participate voluntarily and take an active role in its implementation, being the beneficiaries, about 15,000 people for the 7 years of the action (students/educators from Greece and abroad, animators, students, municipal officials, parents, civil society, etc.

We sincerely thank all participants/partners for their positive attitude, practical support and trust in our work.

"Junior Tourist/Consumer-A traveling Suitcase" is basically implemented in Greece, but also in any other target group interested in being informed on “17 Sustainable Development Goals”. More specifically, because of the fact that the main volume of schools is located in Attica and its surrounding area, the majority of workshops took place there, but also in all of Greece: indicatively we mention: Aegean and Ionian islands, Mainland Greece, Macedonia, Peloponnese, Crete, etc). In addition, the program has traveled, by traditional way, to the United Kingdom and Cyprus (after being invited by a transnational program and worldwide conference, with audience from all over the world), but also through Erasmus & E-twinning programs in Italy, France, Germany, Estonia (with target-groups teachers and students participated in relative programs).

Junior Tourist/Consumer-A traveling Suitcase" has exceeded all expectations, judging from appeal, cooperation and multiple distinctions/awards from the very beginning. Numbers are speak for themselves: within 7 years (2014-2021) we trained almost 15.000 people (children and adults) for FREE on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) -Agenda 2030-.

At the same time, there was participation in various events and target audiences (Greek-speaking & English-speaking) in order to disseminate it, e.g. in public and private schools of all levels - primary, secondary, tertiary education - (kindergartens, elementary, high schools, lyceums, Vocational Training Institutes / IEK, universities, postgraduate, etc.), in festivals (education, science, voluntary, child), in pedagogical and tourist conferences, in specialized workshops of teachers / educators / volunteers / municipal officials, in special schools (eeeek), in multicultural schools, in sustainable schools, in ecological schools, in historical schools, in open schools, in Ecclesiastical schools, vocational high schools (EPAL), high schools, erasmus classes (school exchanges), e-twinning (school twinning), school events, final holidays, libraries, museums, parks, squares, in fora, in specialized organizations etc.

The impact of the program is evidenced by official evaluations, letters of support, thank you letters as well as positive e-mails & “impression’s album” submitted by beneficiaries but also memorable pictures with trainees, hugs and cheerful faces at the end of each workshop. The exceptional success of the program was sealed with a great number of distinctions (awards, commendations, prizes, praise etc.) earned from the very first year of implementation.