A delegation of Hellenic Petroleum, led by the CEO, Grigoris Stergioulis visited Chios today, on the occasion of the commencement of operations of the Refugee Temporary Hospitality Center "HELPE Village", which is situated in the area where the VIAL factory used to stand, in Chalkeios village. As a gesture of humanity and solidarity, Hellenic Petroleum offered the infrastructure and equipment for the optimal operation of the Center, which can accommodate in humanely decent conditions more than 1,100 refugees in a total of 75 housing structures, which were refitted and transferred to the island.
Within the framework of this visit, meetings were held with the MPs of the island, Andreas Michaelides and Notis Mitarakis, as well as with representatives from the military leadership, from the local government and from social organizations that are actively involved in the region.
At the Center, Hellenic Petroleum’s delegation was thoroughly informed about the refugee registration and identification process by the Head of the Center, Lt Col Charalambos Lolos.
The CEO of Hellenic Petroleum, Grigoris Stergioulis, stated:
“We are in the hospitable island of Chios to witness with our own eyes a small miracle: The creation of a space of temporary hospitality and refugee registration, which was developed on the initiative of our company, Hellenic Petroleum, with the support of the Greek Army and of course the full support and acceptance by the local communities.
It is the best evidence that, when companies, local communities and the state collaborate, there is nothing to frighten us.
In addition, through this extraordinary effort I wish to pass a message: Companies have nothing to fear when they become part of solving society's problems.
Refugees are welcome to stay here with dignity instead of hiding at the beaches and by the rocks. They will find a meal, a blanket, a doctor, milk for their children, so that they can continue with their lives.
Today we have with us the association of the Hellenic Petroleum employees so as to observe the needs and further activate our network of volunteers.
I would like to add that this effort has an inter-balkan character. Volunteers, products and offers will reach the island from all the Balkan countries in which we operate. And therefore, we believe that the refugees will have everything they need". Shortly after, Mr. Stergioulis announced the reconstruction of the playground in the Chalkeios village, for which the expenses will be covered by Hellenic Petroleum.
On his part, Mayor Manolis Vournous stated: "It is a great pleasure to have with us the CEO of Hellenic Petroleum. Helpe significantly helped in the creation of the Registration Center by providing the housing structures and logistical help to the Greek government, which has the authority and responsibility for the center’s operation and construction.
This donation by HELPE ultimately helps the society of Chios, because the entire issue of immigration can be managed in a more organized manner, within the context, of course, of national and European policies.
Apart from this, on the occasion of the presence and social awareness of HELPE, I asked the CEO to contribute to the issues concerning Chios as a border region, as part of the Company’s social contribution and corporate responsibility.
And I would say as a first, symbolic gesture, and at the same time a very substantial issue concerning the everyday life of the residents of the region of Kampochora -and especially small children- is the playground.
As you know, the Municipality of Chios has more than 100 playgrounds, all of which need upgrading. Mr. Stergioulis had the kindness and the good will to offer on behalf of Hellenic Petroleum to undertake the upgrading of the playground at Chalkeios directly, quickly, and for the benefit of the local community. And I’d like to thank him and the company’s top management for this very kind gesture for the society of Chios "
Thereafter, Mr. Stergioulis met with, Mr. Stamatis Karmantzis, district commissioner for Chios, whom he presented with prepaid fuel cards for the fire protection vehicles of the island, while the delegation of the company visited the local branch of the NGO "The Ark of the World", where ways to enhance the NGO’s activities were discussed.
In concluding his contacts on the island, the CEO of Hellenic Petroleum stated: "When we started implementing the idea of establishing a refugee temporary hospitality center three months ago, we could not imagine the images we are seeing today. I would say that we’ve created a model hospitality housing structure for refugees here in Chios. The center meets all the standards for a humanely decent stay, and at the same time it is an honor for it to be hosted in an island where its cosmopolitan nature goes hand in hand with hospitality.
I would like to wholeheartedly thank the local officials, the ordinary citizens of Chios, the Army, the Police, the Port Authority and of course the heart of this project -if I may say so - the employees and the top management of Hellenic Petroleum.
We return a product back to society. We do not turn a blind eye to reality, we live in it and we need your help. Because we believe that only if a company creates bonds with society, it can survive. And because only if we are united and if we have set goals, will we be able to make it”.