Spark was created in 2017 by Hellenic Hope, a London-based charity, aiming to help kids-at-risk in Greece. Hellenic Hope supports carefully selected Greek nonprofit organizations that help, in a number of ways, children from disadvantaged backgrounds.
We asked the question, what new can we bring to these organizations supported by Hellenic Hope, and to the children they help, that can have a lasting impact and that goes beyond what Hellenic Hope currently offers? We kept coming back to digital literacy: how it is very important; often neglected and missing; but can be remedied.
This abstract idea became a reality in early 2018: In partnership with nonprofit organizations Schedia and Christodoulio, we ran technology activities in their premises. We provided teachers, educational material and equipment, including laptops and robotics kits; Schedia and Christodoulio provided the space, and a lot of help and support.
To help Spark grow, reaching more students in more locations, we decided to launch a dedicated charity for Spark activities. And so in August of 2018 we launched Spark Projects, a charitable company registered in London (registered charity number 1185912).
For the next 4 years, we ran classes exploring a wide range of partnerships, including after-school centers, foster homes and municipal welfare services, as well as two shelters for unaccompanied teenage refugees.
Like most organizations in education, we did struggle in 2019-20 following COVID-related lockdowns. After a number adjustments, we manage to navigate an equally hard 2020-21, and resumed full activities for 2021-22.
Few good things can last forever, and so in the summer of 2022 our journey came to an end.
As a parting act, our equipment was put to good use. Some we left with out partners, and the rest is distributed through targeted gifts to schools and other nonprofit organizations for children that have both a need and ability to take advantage of digital equipment.
the story of spark
George grew up in Greece and, after high school, left to study in the UK. The English weather won him over and he ended staying for about ten years, studying first at Cambridge and then at Oxford along the way. Since the early 2000s, he has worked in finance in London and New York.
George deeply cares about equal opportunities and education, and is a Trustee of London-based nonprofit Hellenic Hope, which has been helping kids-at-risk in Greece since the onset of the Greek crisis.
Away from a love for travel, George spends time reading, designing things, experimenting in the kitchen and trying to make sense of current affairs, all preferably in the company of friends and family.
She loves to eat and cook, which conveniently go hand in hand, and explore the world, one roadtrip at a time.
Vivian has worked in technology startups for the last 10 years. She is currently the chief product officer at a NYC startup aiming to improve health literacy through better visualizations. Before jumping into startups, Vivian worked at McKinsey in management consulting. She is passionate about technology, education, and, as would naturally follow, technology education.
Vivian lives in New York City. She has also lived in London and at Stanford, where she went to college, but always finds herself being drawn back to the Big Apple.
Ioanna has worked in Google for nearly a decade and is currently EMEA Lead for Business Governance and Compliance.
When not balancing life, work and kids, Ioanna hopes to make a difference by reminding girls and women
of equality and opportunity.
Ioanna lives in London, is a full-time working mother of 3 children and loves hot yoga. She, literally, came from Greece with a thirst for knowledge nearly 20 years ago, and that was that.
Eleni studied law at Oxford University and Sorbonne, and business in Georgetown.
After practicing law for a while, she moved to tourism and then education. Since its inception in 2014, Eleni has been in charge of parent communication for the JMC Kindergarten at the Hellenic American Educational Foundation.
Eleni is the mother of three and lives in Athens. She is a terrible cook, loves sports, being outdoors and reading a good book.