The House of Aunt Nelly

Earlier last March, “The Smile of The Child”, a Greek non-profit organisation aiming to protect children’s rights, inaugurated “The House of Aunt Nelly.” It is a wonderful manor house at Akrotiri Taxiarhes village of Lesvos, donated by the late Kornilia Binou.

The house was renovated under the International Organisation of Migration Programme “Multi-sectoral assistance to and protection of migrants and refugees stranded in Greece” funded by the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations General Direction (DG ECHO). The Greeks of Canada offered their valuable contribution through the Canadian Initiative for Lesvos-CIL.

The CIL representative, businessman John Georgoudes, traveled from Montreal to Greece in order to participate in the event. He offered a painting that was painted by the students of our school “Socrates-Démosthène”, as a present to “The House of Aunt Nelly.”

A note from John Georgoudes


 I had once read that an important piece of art had the capacity to appease the unbearable chattering of the mind and boost the spirit. The essence of this saying was destined to be realized for me when I found myself standing dumbfounded at the heart of the brand new house of the “Smile of the Child” in Lesvos. Thanks to the financial assistance of Greeks abroad, it will have the capacity from now on to accommodate and care for countless miserable and innocent children’s souls.

Completing the official inauguration and blessing, and all the heartfelt display of gratitude of the island’s good-natured residents, the organizers urged me to decorate one of the central white walls of the house with the picture painted by our own little angels from “Socrates-Démosthène”, the school of our proud Diaspora here in Montreal, Canada.

Holding the painting in my hands with respect and affection, I felt my cheeks get wet. I had not realized that my crying eyes had betrayed me revealing what my mind was unable to grasp. The past was combining with the present in between the palm of my hands. In a split second I found myself back to “Socrates”, at the desk where my childish dreams were living. And here I am now, some generations later, me, one of that school’s pupils, carrying the soul of its contemporary students to this island house.

With unreserved pride, with love and care, I fixed on the wall the painting, our children’s drawings, giving it the exhortation to be a protector of all those children that fate brought here to shelter their pained soul.

It was once well said by Picasso, eventually a painting is nothing else than a simple diary.

John Georgoudes