Gabriela Telekfalvi is a Social Entrepreneur who founded KINITRO NGO. She studied Business Administration at the University of West Attica and holds an MScEdu in Pedagogy with New Technologies and Biomedical Approaches. Due to her experience in organizing voluntary events across Greece, she started dreaming of a future, where people would be given the chance to interact with each other in a safe environment, via non-formal learning methods. That vision inspired Gabriela to establish the educational project Labyrinth of Senses in 2014, a disABILITY AWAREness facilitated workshop attended by more than 25.500 participants (Children, Youth, Organizations, and Businesses in 21 countries) with the involvement of more than 2.500 trained volunteers.
In 2017, Labyrinth of Senses won the Impact Hub Athens' Social Impact Award and today is a training project endorsed by the Ministry of Education. To achieve an equity-centered education, in 2019 she established KINITRO (which in Greek means motivation) NGO providing experiential training for all without any restrictions. In 2019, ΚΙΝΙΤRO was distinguished as a good and innovative practice on disability by the United Nations and the European Commission and was honored with a Gold Award at Hellenic Responsible Business Awards for the cooperation with Vodafone Foundation, making the NGO impactful and the community full of motivation for changing the world through education. Gabriela believes that by embracing the diversity of human beings, we will find a surer way to true happiness.
What is one thing you know now about women and social entrepreneurship you wish you had known earlier in your career?
What I know now is that it is very important to have a good network of partners and a strong community. The world is very harsh with women social entrepreneurs (let alone young women social entrepreneurs), therefore we need to find ways and networks to support each other. We have to stay strong and very close to our aims and visions. This can be achieved if we are all connected and engaged with our environment and target groups.
What is the story behind ΚΙΝΙΤRΟ? How is KINITRO associated with the Labyrinth of Senses?
In 2014, while I was volunteering in a lot of organizations, I discovered that in Greece there is not any experiential approach to the topic of disabilities. That is why I created Labyrinth of Senses, to give a more optimistic and fresh view of the topic of disabilities. Therefore, Labyrinth of Senses it's an educational project. However, 3 years later, I discovered that I also have a rare syndrome which is very challenging as it's an invisible disability. That gave me a strong KINITRO (motivation in Greek) to raise awareness on the topics of diversity, acceptance, and respect, with resulted in to create of KINITRO, a non-governmental organization that works not just with topics around disability, but also with youth unemployment and empowerment,17 Sustainable Development Goals and all that concerns our community nowadays.
What are the most significant difficulties in growing an NGO? Are there any special obstacles you encountered when starting an NGO in Greece?
The most significant difficulty in founding and growing an NGO is the lack of funding and governmental support. Unfortunately, itis very difficult for an NGO in Greece to be sustainable. With the new laws that were imposed lately, the NGOs are facing and will be facing more and more difficulties that can risk their function and the volunteer's creativity and passion.
What is the impact you have achieved via the actions of your NGO?
The impact that we created consists of more than 2000 workshops attended by more than 25.500 participants (Children, Youth, Organizations, and Businesses in 21 countries) with the involvement of more than 2.500 trained volunteers. In 2017, Labyrinth of Senses won the Impact Hub Athens' Social Impact Award and today is a training project endorsed by the Ministry of Education. To achieve an equity-centered education, in 2019 I established KINITRO (which in Greek means motivation) NGO providing experiential training for all without any restrictions. In 2019, ΚΙΝΙΤRO was distinguished as a good and innovative practice on disability by the United Nations and the European Commission and was honored with a Gold Award at Hellenic Responsible Business Awards for the cooperation with Vodafone Foundation. We are always trying to have more and more innovative ideas to inspire and get inspired by others. The aim of KINITRO is to educate people in order to create an inclusive and accessible society. How challenging is this task in Greece? What are the prerequisites in order to achieve this?
At KINITRO indeed we educate children in schools, youth in youth centers, companies, and organizations trying to create an inclusive and accessible society. In Greece fortunately our target groups are really prompt to cooperate with us, as the situation in Greece.
What does an inclusive workplace mean for you?
An inclusive workplace for me is a safe place where you can learn and grow in the same rhythm as your coworkers but mostly based on your needs. Therefore, it is a working environment full of equity. Unfortunately, we need a lot of work to reach that inclusive workplace environment but there is a lot of hope for the future.
A few words about the project
We The Women is a key project under the umbrella program Women4Climate powered by IRIS Sustainable Development. Specifically, We The Women is an interview series project, holding inspiring discussions with climate actional leaders and pioneers in the social and green entrepreneurship field. Women with different backgrounds, experiences, and achievements, share their insights, know-how, opinions, and advice with the public, inspiring more people -especially young entrepreneurs and women- toward a more sustainable future.