Knowledge & Inspiration community in Thessaloniki

In the center of Thessaloniki, Maria and Iordanis have established a spiritual center in order to foster spiritual knowledge, exchange of personal experiences and ideas and philanthropic actions for humanitarian relief of poor families. Knowledge & Inspiration offers space for personal development and collective knowledge. Its main objective is to bring together people with different backgrounds (educational, economic and spiritual) who share an interest in spirituality, self-improvement, and accomplishment through seminars, interaction with community members and substantive contribution to needy people.

The initiative consists of 12 core members, most of them in their early thirties and 20 families in the voluntary program of daily food provision. These beneficiaries are active in the program until they overcome poverty, unemployment, and malnutrition.

The project does not aim to attract the attention of the press and this is the main reason that Knowledge & Inspiration has no virtual presence on social media and Internet in general. For the past 7 years, the community contributes its best, offering good practices inspiring the good will of residents of Thessaloniki and local businesses who encourage and support its efforts.

The people behind the idea

Knowledge & Inspiration is an original idea of Maria Georgiou and her husband, Iordanis (who is no longer alive). The initial idea came 7 years ago, after a spiritual experience while traveling in India and meeting with the Indian guru and philanthropist Sathya Sai Baba. When we returned to Greece,we decided to become volunteers in regular service activities such as giving food to the needy, cooperate with NGOs in order to provide medical services, and other forms of civic volunteerism.

Nowadays, Maria focuses on 1) self-improvement and 2) community service with the support of Knowledge & Inspiration community members on the basis of shared identity, commitment and common practice. Maria’s driving motivation is on spiritual level, without making daily plans. All these years, she has discovered abilities that she was not aware of. She and her husband used to live fully in materialism, until the moment they landed in India for first time. “It was a radical transformation from a material to a spiritual life”, she says. It was a miracle that helped both of them overcome personal and objective obstacles in their lives.

Knowledge & Inspiration is the work of Maria and her volunteers, who are usually busy with tasks related to the community such as food collection, education, humanitarian relief and collective cohesion. When Maria is not running community projects, she participates in colleagues’ seminars and meditates every day. “It’s my way of living”, she says.

Who benefits from Knowledge and Inspiration?

Knowledge & Inspiration is an open community without specific target groups. The audience is distributed as follows:

  1. General population who is interested in self-improvement, accomplishment and belonging to a community.

  2. Poor families of Thessaloniki coping with economic hardships.

  3. Fellow tutors of spirituality or therapeutic practitioners for mental or physical healing.

Future Plans

Maria’s personal goal and vision are to create an “Ashram” in a rural area. The inspiration for choosing the ideal location stems from the need of a place combining adult and children education on human values, a community kitchen, organic farming, connection with nature, spiritual guidance, networking with spiritual teachers and gurus, hospitality for visitors and people in need in the context of volunteerism, community service, healthcare (physical and mental) and humanitarian relief. It is an ambitious idea inspired by Sathya Sai Baba’s philanthropic action connecting in this way spirituality with selfless giving.

In Thessaloniki, Maria plans to extend the educational programs including meditation, alternative therapeutic techniques such as Reiki, all of them performed by volunteers except the active classes for self-improvement, guidance for new parents and yoga lessons.

How does it work, this mix of services?

@Kostis_Samaras thanks for telling the story. Are you yourself volunteering in this community?

I’m curious how does the group mix food provision with spiritual support, and if it is the same people who receive these two different kinds of service. Alternatively, I can imagine people who have accessed new levels of mental wellbeing are in turn more inclined to pay it forward and do humanitarian actions, like in Maria’s personal history.

Also, have you participated in the OPENandChange workshop? I’m working with Natalia, Pavlos and others here and have been watching what is happening in Thessaloniki from afar, it’s been great to see people very active on the ground!