ΧΟΡΗΓΟΣ
 














































STARTING A GUIDE DOG SCHOOL IN GREECE

On the 26th of July 2007 the Panhellenic Association of the Blind organized a conference with the subject “Introducing Guide Dogs – Guide Dog Mobility Training for visually impaired people”. This conference offered the opportunity to all the people and organizations interested, friends of animals and dog trainers to come together and dream of the creation of the first guide dog school in Greece.  

As a result on the 25th of September 2007 the first formal meeting of the committee working on guide dogs took place in Athens.

In this committee there have been representatives from the following organizations:  
-Center of Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind (KEAT)
-Institution for the Protection of the Blind of Northern Greece, “Helios”
-National Confederation of People with Disabilities (ESAmeA)
-National Federation of the Blind (EOT)
-Lighthouse for the Blind in Greece (FTE)
-Panhellenic Association of the Blind (PST)
-Hellenic Retina Society (PEA)
-Hellenic Dog Training Center (EKES)
-Society for the Protection of Animals and the Environment of the Attica Prefecture “Right for the Life”

The committee continued his meetings during the whole year. There have been about 10 meetings where the official representatives of the organizations participating discussed in details the following subjects:
-Preparation of the bylaws of the new guide dog association.
-Study visits to European dog training centers in order to collect information and develop collaboration with other schools.
-Research for funding for the realization of the goals of the committee.
-Study of the international legislation and the greek reality concerning issues relevant to guide dogs.
The result of the committee work was the completion and signing of the bylaws and the establishment of the Hellenic Guide Dog Mobility Center for the Blind and Assistance Dogs Center for the Disabled (“Greek Guide Dogs”) on the 25th of July 2008.

During the last year the committee realized 3 study visits at European dog training centers.
On the 10th-13th of February 2008 seven members of the committee (representatives of KEAT, HELIOS, ESAmeA, PST, PEA and EKES) visited the Croatian Guide Dog and Mobility Association in Zagreb where they had the opportunity to see the work of the Croatian Association, the difficulties and challenges faced, the particularities of the country concerning guide dog training and the necessary cooperation with governmental organizations for the improvement of guide dog service provision.
The trip to the Croatian Guide Dog and Mobility Association was realized through the sponsorship of Alpha Bank.

In the 27th-30th of May 2008 the second study visit was realized in the Guide Dog Service of the Danish Association of the Blind by the O/M and ADL Instructor of the Panhellenic Association of the Blind, ms Angheliki Verykokaki. During this visit the function and training model of the Danish Guide Dog Service were presented in details: the danish system is completely based on the financial support of the local government and it is independent from the International Guide Dog Federation (IGDF). It is recognized though for the high quality of the providing services.

The last visit took place on the 29th-31st August 2008 at the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association (Guide Dogs UK), at Redbridge Training Center in London. Mrs A. Verykokaki had the chance to be informed in details by the Manager of the center on the guide dog training model and the guide dog instructorsʼ training system with emphasis on basic training issues such as the firm implementation of the international standards through all the phases of the training, records keeping, careful assessment and testing for the choice of puppies, puppy walkers, potential guide dogs, blind users and future guide dog instructors.

The visit at Guide Dogs UK was realized in the framework of communication of the Greek Guide Dogs with the IGDF and particularly through our cooperation with mr Alan Brooks, International Affairs Manager in Guide Dogs UK.

The results of the 3 visits were presented in details and examined in the first formal meeting of the Board of Directors of the Greek Guide Dogs, where it was decided to continue the cooperation with mr Alan Brooks through his visit at the Greek Guide Dogs on the 5th-8th of October 2008.
During his visit, mr Alan Brooks visited the different organizations consisting the Greek Guide Dogs, had a long discussions with the members of the Board, estimated the situation in Greece and made a plan of options for future action of the new association.   

The Greek Guide Dogs applied to the European Guide Dog Federation for affiliate membership and the application was approved by the EGDF Board at its meeting on the 9th of September 2008 in Brussels.  

The members of the Board of Directors of the Greek Guide Dogs, as they were elected at the meeting of the 26th of August 2008 are the following
President: Ilias Margiolas, President of Panhellenic Association of the Blind
Vice-president: Efstratios Hatzixaralampous, President of Hellenic Retina Society
General Secretary: Zoi Christopoulou-Geroulanou, Member of the Board of Directors of the Lighthouse for the Blind in Greece
Treasurer: Christos Nastas, Member of the Board of Directors of National Confederation of Disabled People
Keeper: Theodoros Triantis, Director of the Hellenic Dog Training Centre
Members: Panagiotis Markostamos, Member of the Board of Directors, Centre of Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind
Giorgos Mitropoulos, Member of the Board of Directors, “Helios”-School for the Blind of North Greece-Thessaloniki
Dimitris Sifakis, Member of the Board of Directors of National Federation of the Blind
Loukas Papaioannou, Vice-president of the Society for the Protection of Animals and the Environment of the Prefecture of Attica, “Right for Life”  

 
 
 
 
copyright GreekGuideDogs.gr 2008
POWERED BY SigmaWeb's SiteBuilder