Diogenes NGO was founded in 2010 with the aim to support socially excluded individuals and to help them reintegrate into society. Diogenes targets mainly the homeless and people living below the poverty line. The founding members of Diogenes formed the National Homeless Football Team in 2006 and participated in the 2007 Homeless World Cup for the first time. Their involvement with the team as well as their interest in this vulnerable population gave birth to Diogenes MKO. Besides the Homeless Football Team, the organization’s second activity was the “Shedia” Program. Shedia is a monthly street paper, member of the International Network of Street Papers, sold by homeless and people living below the poverty line in Athens and Thessaloniki. Each seller earns a 50% profit of each copy sold. The first issue of Shedia was sold in February 2013 and, through the years, 500 people in need have sold monthly issues. The number of issues sold was about 14,000 per month in Athens in 2017. Diogenes is also involved in the organization of events that raise awareness for homelessness and poverty. Its initiative, “A coffee is waiting for you”, gives the opportunity to indigent individuals, through a network of cafés around Greece and Cyprus, to enjoy a free cup of coffee. For elderly Shedia sellers who cannot stand in the streets for several hours, Diogenes created the “Solidarity Subscription” Program. Under this program, the elderly sellers receive specialized training in computer usage and run the subscription sales of Shedia, from Diogenes’ offices. The Upcycling program involves using unsold Shedia issues to create useful products like office supplies, jewelry and small household items. Elderly sellers are trained and paid a monthly fee for the creation of these products. Given the business aspect of this program, the Diogenes team set up a new legal entity, a social enterprise named Shedia KOINSEP, that is responsible for the sale of these items.
The grant regards the creation of an umbrella program aimed at elderly Shedia sellers, with two pillars as follows: Solidarity Subscription & Upcycling. Regarding the Solidarity Subscription, Diogenes currently employs 6 sellers, each managing 160 subscriptions on average, 960 in total. The grant regards the involvement of at least 28 elderly sellers for 12 months aiming at an increase of subscriptions to 2,200. Secondly, the grant also regards the expansion of the upcycling program from its pilot phase to a fully operational program with 35 trained elderly sellers of upcycling products for 12 months.