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The core of our programs is a free, yearly summer camp for children and young adults coping with serious challenges, such as illness, poverty and violence. The children bond together by the Cretan Sea, improving their confidence and health. Here are some of the children we have hosted:

Belarusian Children

Belarusian Children - Crete for Life

The Chernobyl Catastrophe of 1986, feels a long time away but the consequences of the radioactive fallout still have negative effects on the health and lives of many children in Belarus. The summer camp was started to offer one month rest and recuperation to Belarussian children growing up in orphanages and foster homes.

According to international medical research, a month’s stay by the sea, away from contaminated air and food allows the children’s immune system to recover significantly, even more so between the ages of 10 and 16 which is crucial in establishing and building up a strong immune system for life.

Crete’s climate is particularly effective in improving their health. The stay in Crete helps them by giving their bodies a break from the contaminated food, their only option back in Belarus. The world-renowned Cretan diet is packed with fresh fruit and vegetables, fish, and pulses, giving them a burst of health, sun, vitamins, and minerals they lack.

Crete’s experience is also vital for their spirit as they enjoy freedom and warm hospitality, and discover a new country, new people and a positive environment that opens their horizons.

Palestinian, Syrian and Iraqi Children

Since 2017, Belarus children have been joined by Syrian, Palestinian and Iraqi teenage refugees who have acted as camp volunteers. Some of them are unaccompanied minors, living in refugee camps, temporary accommodations or on the street on mainland Greece. Under adult supervision, their responsibility is to involve and entertain the younger Belarus children in non-competitive, team-building games, following the Play For Peace© initiative. Their role as volunteers is a reversal of their own present situation.


The restorative summer camp is a win-win situation: the older refugee kids rise to the challenge and take this opportunity to act with maturity, learning new leadership and teamwork skills. The younger Belarusian thrive in the company of slightly older children, with different backgrounds but many similar interests, sharing a positive, fun time together in Crete.

The camp aims to show that no matter how you define yourself, culturally, religiously or nationally, you can always bridge differences, even more so if you create a peaceful, open and positive environment.

Greek Children

Greek Boy

Local Greek children have been included in the Summer Camp activities since the start of the program. Among others, we have hosted children from the SOS Villages and, in coordination with the University Hospital in Heraklion, we have welcomed Greek children suffering from chronic conditions such as cystic fibrosis, together with their siblings and families.

Recently we have added a “Bereavement camp” to offer families who have recently lost a parent or a child a supportive environment within which they can spend quality time together, share their experience of losing a loved one and find ways to look to the life ahead.

Crete for Life restorative summer camp is an experience that can change a life. Since 2006, we have seen hundreds of children finding physical and mental respite from growing up in difficult circumstances. Some are now married and have children of their own. Many have told us that the time spent in Crete is their happiest memory.

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