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THEIR STORIES / Eleni, Platanias, Crete
Map of Platanias, Crete

What truly matters is to believe in ourselves

Eleni from Platanias, Crete
PROGRAM PARTICIPANTS - Evening Vocational High School of Platanias
16 July, 2023

Eleni lives with her family and works in Platanias, Chania, on the island of Crete. Originally from Piraeus, she came to the island after she fell in love and has been living there with her husband and their three children ever since. As she explained, she started working in recent years because during the early years of her children's lives, she wished to be close to them and raise them.

Last summer, Eleni's husband encouraged her to enroll in the Night Vocational High School of Platanias, where he also attends. She said, "I happened to start school- my husband attends too- and he told me during the summer, 'Why don't you enroll too? It offers the area of specialty you like. Go ahead, you have nothing to lose; you’ve already finished high school, you will just be going for a diploma,' and I said, 'I'll give it a try.'"And  so, Eleni started attending Night Vocational High School of Platanias last September with the goal of completing the Business Administration specialty. "I always liked mathematics and economics, so I chose this field," she said.

Her family was very supportive. "We had a lot of fun during the winter because we were all essentially in the 2nd grade of high school - my son, my husband, and I. I used to tease my son, 'I will get a higher grade than you!' and he would say, 'But, I'm going to a General High School!' and we would laugh. It was a very enjoyable time," she shared.

Speaking about her school experience, Eleni shared, "I learned a lot of things. At the beginning, I wasn’t sure, it had been 25 years since I sat at a desk, and it felt strange. However, our teachers helped us a lot all throughout the way; they were very supportive, and we participated in various activities." One program she participated in was The Tipping Point. Eleni recalled, "At first, it seemed a bit strange to me because I had never done anything like that in my life. But as the session went on, I started to understand, and I got very interested! All the mentors we spoke with were very close to us, as if we were sitting at the same desk. They explained what they do for a living, how they succeeded, where they started from, how they got there, and how they learned to believe in themselves. They also communicated to us the message that we can do whatever we want, and it doesn't matter if we are 40 or 50; what truly matters is to believe in ourselves. We  took a particular interest in entrepreneurship and management, and we had lively discussions with mentors in this field." Eleni said.

One mentor's advice stood out to Eleni. She shared, "I asked him a question because I am a bit strict with myself, and I believed I was doing something wrong. So, I asked him, 'What should we do when we fall? What can we do to stand up and get on our feet?' and he answered, 'We shouldn't judge ourselves harshly, but rather evaluate ourselves.' I liked that a lot, and since then, I hold onto it, and I'm not so strict anymore. I evaluate myself better [...] and I think it did help me a great deal."

"In general,  it was very interesting discussing these things, not just to me but all my classmates as well. We discussed many different professions, such as tourism economics, even with entrepreneurs," Eleni explained. She also conveyed the atmosphere of the sessions that took place in her class. "At that moment, we were all focused, because we were listening, we were receiving things, and I believe everyone took away something different. We also discussed it, and we wanted to do it more often because we enjoyed it a lot!"

The people she met and the examples they set were crucial for her personal development. "The mentors gave us a lot because they talked about their lives, how they made it, and from there, you could see their success, and think, 'Why not me, too?'" Eleni shared.

"Now, at this moment, I'm preparing for a  big step. Today it has finally happened; I got a job at the Agricultural Cooperative in Chania," she said. She added that she and her husband are planning to start their own business, and they have already begun working on it; it will be operational next year.

In conclusion, Eleni shared her thoughts about her journey in The Tipping Point program on a more  personal level. "Seeing these people gives you great strength,  makes you reflect on what you would like to do and proves that you can achieve it... It's very nice to do things for ourselves at any age and to reach our goals. The fact that we started a family and had children doesn't mean that we have to sit still and hyperfixate on them. On the contrary,this way we give them more stimuli to continue and achieve what they want in their lives."


About TTP

The Tipping Point (TTP) is an NGO aiming to empower today’s youth to enhance their consciousness, when they are called to make their once-in-a-lifetime decisions, ultimately preparing them for the workplace of tomorrow and to make learning more experiential, engaging and relevant to real life.

With the help of technology, students and teachers set the agenda of their meetings with professionals worldwide who interact with the students via live video and/or asynchronous video-responses.

Through a secure and structured digital environment, students on islands, in remote regional villages, marginalized urban areas or large cities, broaden their horizons and choices, receive answers to their questions from professionals worldwide - it could be doctors and farmers from a village nearby, or a NASA engineer from Florida - whom otherwise they could never meet.
Learn More about TTP
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About THI Australia

The Hellenic Initiative Australia (THI Australia), is a non-profit organisation operating at a national level. Its mission is to bring together Greek Australians and philhellenes to contribute to the recovery and revitalisation of Greece.

By partnering with innovative non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in Greece, THI Australia aims to implement programs that offer immediate relief, foster social and economic benefits, and create a lasting positive impact on Greek society. Since 2015, THI Australia has dedicated more than $1.8 million to various projects and initiatives in Greece, collaborating with eleven inspiring partner NGOs. It has also provided $900,000 of in-kind support for the successful Australian Internship Program that has so far welcomed 26 Greek graduates to Australia.

These efforts primarily focus on four key areas: Health, Social Services, Education, and Employment Pathways. Starting in 2019, THI Australia started a collaboration with The Tipping Point, initially involving three pilot schools.

Over the years, the number of participating schools has expanded, thanks to tailored approaches designed for Greek Australian Associations and individuals interested in supporting schools in specific regions of Greece. Associations and individuals have provided support to schools located in different areas such as Kastellorizo, Crete, Kalamata, and Kos.
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