Living Traditions: Sharing and Inspiring on Kimolos

In September 2023, our partnership came together on Kimolos, Greece, to learn from the island, share our experiences, and prepare for our work with young people. We had the opportunity to get to know the Kimolian characteristics associated with sustainability and the island’s cultural heritage over the course of time. Young people from Milos and Kimolos islands demonstrated through the discussions their aspirations for the islands’ future regarding environmental issues and cultural heritage through storytelling, indicating to all partners how important is for them to express themselves and retell the stories of customs and traditions including food and traditional crafts. The partners shared their common practices while comparing the youths’ ideas and responses to being active citizens in the Small Islands of Europe that constitute One Community.

During the training, partners got to know about the local challenges of young people in Kimolos, such as the environmental necessity of maintaining the island’s beaches clean and reducing the presence of plastic; how to engage young people in getting to know the traditional making of straw roofs (Kalamoplektiki or Psatha) with the collection of different types of local reeds (the 100-year-old technique applied by Nikos Ventouris). We visited the “KLIMA” area, where the craftsman of traditional Kimolian ceilings collects the reeds, and the Rema area to check on the preservation methods he follows till the reed is ready for further process.

Then Mrs. Katerina Mastradonaki welcomed us to her house with a straw roof of 200 years appearing brand new! She and her husband explained the long-term benefits of keeping their place warm in winter and cool in the summer with the use of local dry algae, the Kimolian sand, and the local Kimolian clay mineral “Kaolin”.

The youth workers from the nearby Milos island had a fruitful meeting with the partners of the other European islands. They focused on water pollution and the seas, being their point of reference as far as islands’ formation is concerned, as well as raising awareness of old crafts and local arts as a means to keep tradition alive. They valued the use of storytelling as a means to disseminate the Cycladic heritage and promote sustainability at the same time. Following our meeting at the Afentakeion Building, we shared our thoughts on implementing practices for change-making in our communities. We kept track of the needs of the young people so that participants could work with real examples and try to come up with solutions that include synergies with the locals.

The following day in Koper was a resounding one for the partners, exploring the Horio area and familiarising themselves with the wells in every house’s yard where rainwater and spring water come to the village. Thanks to the exchange of experiences and skills we developed an effective methodology comprising all the necessary training tools and techniques aimed at youth envisioning. The Kimolian youths whom we met at the Afentakeio Building, referred to the importance of food as a means to keep heritage alive and how they liked the use of traditional herbs spread everywhere on the island. We had the chance to visit Mrs Katerina Paloukou’s place where she prepared the traditional Kimolian pie “Ladenia”. The safeguarding of the Kimolian “DROUVA” was explained by the Kimolian women who had kept the woven clothes, made in the loom, for about a century and the design so Theano is the only woman who recreates and preserves the tradition for the islanders and tourists alike.

Fotis Marinakis, the inspirer of Kimolistes NGO and of the awarded Open Air cinema: Cine Kalisperitis, gave a detailed talk on the organisations’ challenges in a small community along with the obstacles and the significance of volunteerism towards the environment and culture. He presented Kimolistes’ future agenda regarding youth participation and their alignment with Cultural Heritage.


  • Partners had the opportunity to share best practices to tackle local challenges that they had already experienced in their countries.
  • All the participants increased their knowledge and understanding of local youth challenges on Kimolos Island and Milos, reflecting on the challenges that youth are facing in their local context.
  • The study visit at Klima was an awareness-raising visit on environmental sustainability and good practices of craftsmanship.
  • After these insightful perspectives, partners defined the local challenges and gave valuable feedback on how to become better influencers through different platforms (online and offline), sharing and inspiring, exchanging experiences and examples of local project activities

-Agatha Rodi, Kimolistes

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