Blog Archives

2 Years Breaking our Couches!

Break The Couch team blowing its second candle on the 11th of May 2014.

All this 365 days we were working on different levels, in different projects and most of the time from different countries. Greece, UK, The Netherlands were some of the bases of our team. We did several things and we want to brag a bit about them, if it is ok with you.

It's fun to be two

In May 2013, we celebrated together the first year of Break The Couch. Having the experience of one year full of dreams and plans we entered to the second year of our life. The Second year we have to say that it was a bit more demanding but also rather fulfilling. We can say we are kinda multitasking since we end up having several projects and for some of them you are not even aware of. Most of them though, you already know them so, we can just count them: Read the rest of this entry

It is suddenly all Greek to me again

Workcamp #3, Pentalofos, Kozani, Greece.

φωτογραφία (20)Waking up in the northern part of Serbia at 5:30am and knowing that you have to drive through the whole Balkan peninsula its not what you want to do everyday. Again driving in 3 countries and now not always in highways we experienced for 13 hours a bit of the balkan nature and of course taste.

Destination was Pentalofos a small village on the most mountainous area of Greece in the middle of Pindos mountain range 84km from Kozani. Entering Greece we had very mixed feelings, it felt like we reached the end of a roadtrip from the Netherlands till Greece. However the trip was not finished since we had to drive through the mountain range for 2hours. To make ourselves more comfortable for the last part we made a stop to experience Greece. Specially for Panagiotis was kinda obligatory since he hasn’t been in Greece for 8 months. Traditional Souvlaki in a local restaurant and Iced Cappuccino (Freddo Cappuccino) gave us the strength to drive uphill without any nagging.

Arriving in Pentalofos we got really overwhelmed from the accommodation of the Youth Center and it was really what we wanted for a proper sleep.

It is the 7th time that the village is hosting a workcamp and all the locals are really familiar with the presence of international people walking with shovels and hoes early morning in the narrow streets of the village. The last 6 years volunteers are taking care of several manual works. Keeping the tradition the volunteers this time were involved in the cleaning and opening a path which is leading to a chestnut reservoir, taking part on the renovation of a historical building, living in a monastery for 3 days and assisting the monk, refreshing old works done by previous workcamps and many other big and small projects in the village and the surrounding area.

Workcamping in Greece

The group of the participants was coming from every side of the planet. Mexico, Belgium, Korea, Sweden, Germany, Spain, Czech Rep., Italy, Poland, Slovakia, France and of course Greece. During our stay there we had the chance to experience 2 very interesting evening activities. Due to one of the biggest religious celebrations in Greece on the 15th of August there was a folklore festival in the nearest village 2km away from Pentalofos. Volunteers visited the village and had the chance to listen live folklore Greek music and taught by the locals, how to dance. The second night the volunteers invited the locals in their place and they had arranged many surprises for their hosts.  They arranged a big intercultural evening where they were presenting their countries speaking in Greek! They also cooked traditional food from their countries.

By visiting this workcamp we actually finished the first half part of our filming for the Alliance Video Project and a huge roadtrip of 3000km almost came to an end. Next day early morning we drove back to Athens where we officially repatriated.

Our team is officially physically located in Athens at least for a week.
On the 23rd of August Vasilis and Spyros are flying to UK where they will film another Workcamp
On the 26th of August Panagiotis is sailing back and by car driving back to the Netherlands where he will meet Vasilis in Belgium to film in the Alliance conference and meet Spyros in the Netherlands to film the last Workcamp in Utrecht.

Our filming project is almost in the middle and we are really happy with the so far results. If you want to know more about the project stay tuned for the next workcamping experiences.

Photo album of this workcamp: http://on.fb.me/1agHk65

1 Year Anniversary!

Break The Couch team blew its first candle on the 11th of May 2013.

All this 365 days we were working on different levels, in different projects and most of the time from different countries. Greece, UK, The Netherlands were some of the bases of our team. We did several things and we want to brag a bit about them, if it is ok with you.

Fun to be oneStarting that day of May 2012 in Athens we had lots of dreams. Time show to us that we have to make small steps in order to achieve the a big step. We can say we are kinda multitasking since we end up having several projects and for some of them you are not even aware of. Most of them though, you already know them so, we can just count them:

  • By the end of 2012 we managed to finish our first documentary named “More than a Marble Path/Κάτι Περισσότερο απο Μονοπάτι”.  ( http://www.MoreThanAMarblePath.com )
  • We made our first official video clip for the composer Nicolas Livaditis on his song “Nanourisma” (Lullaby) sang from Krinthi Zira (>>click<<)
  • We present Break The Couch as an initiative in several trainings. Specifically:
    • November 2012: “Share and Promote” training (Miltenburg, Germany)
      We presented a first cut from our documentary since the training was about how to promote your voluntary work
    • February 2013: “I See Green” Youth Exchange (Ommen, The Netherlands)
      We presented on a workshop Break The Couch as a New Media initiative. How we use social media and the best practices so far.
    • April 2013: “Taking Changes!” training (Arnhem, The Netherlands)
      Break The Couch was invited from the organizers in this training for Youth Entrepreneurship along with other people 3 people working on the non-profit world to explain about Break The Couch as an informal group, what we did, how we did them and which are the future perspectives of the whole project.
  • We became partners with Olde Vechte Foundation in the Netherlands in the Youth Exchange dealing with the usage of media and a sustainable lifestyle named Levers of Change. So in August 2013 we will send 5 Greek people to attend this event.
  • We took part in the initiative Re-Think, Re-Act organized by the Citizens in Action with the support of the European Youth Foundation which focus on the Youngsters of Greece and how they deal with the financial crisis. Our initiative by itself it has been mentioned as a good example on a self-motivation and paradigmatic idea overcoming the jobless economy and being productive on a booklet. (>>click for the booklet (only in Greek)<<)

BTC1year

Apart from that we travelled in several places with our camera, even on the summit of Greece, Olympus mountain, we hitchhiked a pick up van in a Greek island, we worked several hours without a break, we consumed many bottles of wine, countless “gyros” and most of them not sitting on a couch. We mainly used a round table, some other times on Google Hangout, sometimes through WhatsApp and of course many times while doing something else but we got distracted on how to break the couch.

We hope that soon we will be back with news an updates that will signify a new prosperous year full of creation, fun and learning.

Stay tuned many surprises are coming soon!

“More Than A Marble Path” Documetary 2012

We have posted many things and media for our documentary “More Than A Marble Path” all this time like images comments and articles about the various projections. Now you can all enjoy our first documentary because it is available online for everyone to watch for free!

The movie is under this Creative Commons  License.

Description:

After 2 weeks of shooting in July of 2012 and 5 months of post-production the documentary “More than a Marble path” is ready. It is about 18 people from every corner of the planet who decided instead of holidays to travel at their own expenses in the small village of Isternia in Tinos island, Greece. Instead of spending 2 weeks on a sunbed with sunscreen they spent 2 weeks with a shovel and a rake. They wanted to join one of the hundreds of workcamps taking place each year around the world. The purpose of the program was to give life to a marble build path of unique historical importance that connects the village on the side of the hill with the sea and it was organized by the NGO Citizens in Action.

Produced by: BREAK THE COUCH team (Spyros Anastasiadis, Vasilis Dendrinos, Panagiotis Mamouzakis)
Directed by: Vasilis Dendrinos
Narrated by: George Siountas
Duration: 30′
Language: Greek-English-French
Subtitles: Greek, English
Production: Greece 2012 © BREAK THE COUCH

For all the latest News and Information don’t forget to visit the official website of the movie here.

More Than A Marble Path / Κάτι Περισσότερο Απο Μονοπάτι

Afisa gia vrysaki sait_Small_01

Great news from Break The Couch team.

Our kick start audiovisual product is ready for the big screen. After 2 weeks of shooting and 5 months of post production we are ready to screen our documentary named: “More than a Marble path / Κάτι περισσότερο απο μονοπάτι”.

Produced by: Break The Couch team (Spyros Anastasiadis, Vasilis Dendrinos, Panagiotis Mamouzakis)
Directed by: Vasilis Dendrinos
Narrated by: Giorgos Siountas
Duration: 30′
Language: Greek-English-French with Greek subtitles / other version with English subtitles
Production: Greece 2012 © Break The Couch
For the Official Trailer click >>here<<

The documentary is about 18 people from every corner of the planet who decided instead of holidays to travel at their own expenses in the small village of Isternia in Tinos island, Greece. Instead of spending 2 weeks on a sunbed with sunscreen they spent 2 weeks with a shovel and a rake. They wanted to join one of the hundreds of workcamps taking place each year around the world. The purpose of the program was to give life to a marble build path of unique historical importance that connects the village on the side of the hill with the sea and it was organized by the NGO Citizens in Action. Read the rest of this entry

Re-think Re-act Solidarity Economy

Clearly there is something not working very well in today’s society. All members of the Break The Couch team have always been concerned with such issues.

One day we got an offer to participate in a long term project created by the NGO Citizens in Action in the subject of Solidarity Economy and if this could be something that could make a difference in some of the problems we are all facing.

But what is Solidarity Economy?

solidarityeconomy

We have to admit that it took us a little bit to clearly understand it. Lets try to explain it as quick and simple as possible. Solidarity economy is a different model-type of economy based on some simple rules:

There is a democratic way of decision making. There are no stockholders or bosses. The ones who work are the ones that make the decisions. Also there is a very small percent between the minimum and the maximum wage.
The goal is not the profit. Anyone who is working gets payed correctly, all expenses are being covered and if there are any additional money they are not divided between the members but they are redistributed in the economy. This might mean creating new job positions or to helping other members of the society (ex. disadvantaged groups of people)

The above give you a only a small idea. There are many definitions and many laws which are different in each country so one should search the exact specifications in his own country.

Is Solidarity Economy something new?

Of course not! Such projects have been working efficiently at least since the 1960’s. There are many examples in many countries that can be used as examples. (Fair trade, Self-help, Co-operatives & Worker cooperatives, Open source etc).

Re-think, Re-act 01

Re-think, Re-act 02

But the real questions we should ask ourselves is none of the above. The questions are:
“Why didn’t we know about it’s existence?”  and mainly
“Now that we know what we will do about it?”