Circularity Tales: A holistic approach to sustainability in Greece
ANKAA Project, co-founded by Line Didelot, integrates equitable education, employment, and sustainability. Through the ClimAccelerator programme by Impact Hub Athens, they’ve gained valuable tools and insights to offer educational programmes for vulnerable communities in Athens, positively impacting 1300 students to date.
On our next instalment of the Circularity Tales series, we had the pleasure of speaking with Line Didelot, the Co-Founder of ANKAA Project. This Luxembourgish and Greek non-profit organisation is making waves with its innovative and holistic approach to education, employment, and sustainability. In this interview, Line shares the story of ANKAA Project and sheds light on how they have seamlessly integrated circular principles into every facet of their operations.
ANKAA Project’s core mission is to provide equitable pathways to education and employment, focusing on vulnerable communities such as refugees, migrants, asylum-seekers, and individuals facing unemployment in Athens. Since its inception in 2017, ANKAA has positively impacted 1300 students by offering holistic educational programs.
But ANKAA goes beyond conventional educational initiatives. The organisation has embraced a social business model that involves creating high-quality upcycled products, including backpacks, accessories, and aprons. This model not only promotes sustainability but also advocates for fair and ethical working conditions.
In the interview, Line emphasises that circularity is not merely a trendy concept for ANKAA; it’s ingrained in the organisation’s DNA. From sourcing materials to designing products and managing business operations, circular principles are woven into every aspect of ANKAA Project.
For example, ANKAA adopts a unique approach to sourcing materials by repurposing items from the streets of Athens or refurbishing materials that would otherwise go to waste. The upcycled products themselves tell a story, using materials like boats that carried refugees to the Greek islands. Even in their tailoring classes, ANKAA ensures minimal waste by utilising old or scrap fabrics to create smaller products like earrings and keychains.
Circularity extends beyond materials to human resources, as well. The tailors employed in ANKAA’s project are often former students or trainees, creating a circular approach to education and employment. Even the kitchen waste is composted and used in their garden, completing the sustainability loop.
Like many non-profit organisations, ANKAA faces the constant challenge of fundraising to scale its activities. However, participating in the ClimAccelerator programme led by Impact Hub Athens has provided valuable support. The programme has equipped ANKAA with tools and strategic insights, helping them overcome challenges and take a more strategic approach to their social business activities.
Line Didelot envisions a future where ANKAA Project becomes the go-to partner for sustainable and ethical manufacturing in the region. The organisation aims to grow and diversify its social business activities, supporting its non-profit model and moving closer to financial sustainability.
ANKAA’s unique hybrid model, combining non-profit and social business activities, proves to be an opportunity rather than a challenge. As Line puts it, each drop in the ocean of their impact causes a ripple effect, emphasising the significance of small actions in the pursuit of a more circular and sustainable world.
ANKAA Project’s story serves as an inspiring example for other ventures, encouraging a shift in mindset and promoting the integration of circular principles into every aspect of business operations. As we face a climate crisis, Line Didelot’s words resonate: founders and ventures must lead the change and champion circular solutions for environmental and social challenges. After all, in the quest for a more circular world, every action, no matter how small, makes a difference.
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