Home Greek America Corps Karpathos 2021

Greek America Corps Karpathos 2021

by gafoundation1

Supporting Animal Welfare on Karpathos

Why this program?

From Gregory C. Pappas, President & Founder

Karpathos has an estimated 1,000 stray animals on the island that are often subject to neglect, or even abuse. The situation is worsened during the winter months when restaurants and hotels close for the season. The island’s Mayor, Yiannis Nisirios, has embraced our program from its inception. With the municipality’s support, our volunteers, led by a licensed veterinarian who specializes in high-volume spay and neuter surgeries, will visit the island to help stem the overpopulation problem. Our program will consist of a series of high-volume spay and neuter expeditions, following international best-practice protocols

Program dates:
June 2, 2021 - June 23, 2021

Important Note

The Greek America Foundation is actively monitoring COVID-19-related developments. At any given time, the foundation may adjust plans for this program depending on health guidelines and travel restrictions.

Program overview

This is a three-week Greek America Corps program aiming to support the cause of animal welfare on the small Greek island of Karpathos — and in turn raise the awareness of the local population — with full support from the local municipality. Our goal is to reduce the stray dog and cat population on Karpathos with a high-volume spay and neuter campaign. For applicants with financial need, we offer scholarships that cover lodging and program expenses such as excursions, transportation and some meals. Alternatively, if applicants do not require financial aid, they can opt to purchase the package after they have been accepted. We are seeking volunteers age 18 and older with preference to pre-veterinary/veterinary students. See below for the full program details.

Partners & location

Our program partner is Animal Welfare Karpathos, a recently founded non-profit organization with a core network of dedicated local volunteers and partners which supports animals in distress by providing food and water, removing them from danger, giving first aid or taking them for veterinary treatment. Animal Welfare Karpathos actively encourages both locals and visitors to adopt strays, spay and neuter animals and help to improve the health and well-being of all the island’s animals.Through education, local community activities and collaborative support from its international membership and partners, Animal Welfare Karpathos works to secure a better future for all animals.

Together with the organization, our volunteers will work with support from the Mayor’s Office of Karpathos, led by Mayor Yiannis Nisirios, who is legally responsible for the care of the stray animal population. Mayor Nisirios and his office have embraced our project and will enthusiastically offer not only their support but also space for us to work.

Volunteer locations will be in Karpathos town as well as numerous spots throughout the island.

Program dates & description

This program runs from June 2, 2021 to June 23, 2021. The first day of this program begins with an informal arrival, registration and check-in at our accommodation location (TBA) in the Chora of Karpathos. Volunteers MUST be present on the listed start dates for our evening orientation, followed by a welcome dinner. Each program will conclude on the final evening with a farewell dinner and participants will be responsible for their own arrangements beginning the following day — i.e. June 24, 2021.

Our program will begin with an orientation on June 3. Participants will learn each step of a successful high volume spay neuter campaign (humane trapping, pre operative preparation, surgical monitoring and assisting, post operative recovery, release). Over the course of the program, we will also learn about the history of Karpathos. 

Volunteers will work closely with and under the supervision of our two licensed veterinarians who specialize in high-volume spay and neuter surgery. Ordinarily, volunteers will work weekdays for 8-9 hours per day performing various tasks such as morning trapping of patients, preparation of patients for surgery, assisting in surgeries, assisting in patient recovery, assisting in patient release, cleaning of the medical equipment and assisting in patient release the following day.

We have planned excursions to the beaches, villages, museums and sites of Karpathos. There will be group activities such as meals, team meetings and social gatherings.

Program specifics

Accommodation will be provided at a location in Karpathos town (TBA). Daily breakfast is included. Several dinners will also be provided during each program. Participants should budget about €80 per week for extra meals that are not included in the package. Transportation to and from volunteer locations will be provided as required by the day’s activities. Excursions/activities are included in the price of the program. Airfare to Greece and Karpathos is not included; however, our staff can help with international and domestic travel arrangements, as well as domestic air or ferry details. The Greek America Foundation will purchase travel medical insurance to cover emergency and routine medical needs only for the dates of the program. Please make sure to hold your own health insurance policy as well and check whether coverage is available abroad. On-site staff will be available 24/7 to support volunteers.

Integral to the Greek America Foundation’s mission and the goals of Greek America Corps, we hope to introduce the participants to the local history and culture of our host island during the three-week program. During some free evenings and on the weekends, we will offer organized excursions to various points of interest on the island.

The group will visit some of Karpathos’ oldest and most scenic villages, including the mountainside settlement of Olympos. Known as the “Live Museum of Greece,” the ancient village is known for its rich history tracing back thousands of years. In this town, volunteers will stroll through narrow alleyways, mingle with hospitable locals dressed in colorful traditional attire — and be invited into a typical Karpathian house to learn firsthand about the island’s unique way of life tracing back generations.

Special experiences involving local foods, wine and live Greek music/dance will further immerse our team into local customs and culture. Volunteers will also visit some of the island’s most sacred churches and cathedrals featuring stunning architecture and rich history.

Program leader: Dr. Anna Katogiritis

This program will be led by Karpathos native Dr. Anna Katogiritis, who has generously offered to lead the program on a volunteer, pro-bono basis. Dr. Katogiritis, who is based in the United States, holds a degree in molecular biology from the University of Crete (Greece) and a doctorate in veterinary medicine from the Virginia Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine (US). Dr. Katogiritis has been involved in animal welfare campaigns for more than 15 years and is a co-founder and board member of our partner organization, Animal Welfare Karpathos. As an animal rights and animal welfare advocate, she has volunteered numerous times in Greece, Sierra Leone, Congo and Indonesia — among other countries — where she has assisted organizations with the rehabilitation and medical care of wildlife and domestic animals. Dr. Katogiritis currently serves as the director and co-founder of Jane Goodall’s R&S Greece, an Athens-based non-profit which is Dr. Jane Goodall’s official office in Greece. She specializes in small animal emergency medicine, wildlife conservation and rehabilitation, animal rights and animal welfare of domestic animal populations — particularly in underdeveloped regions.

Desired qualities in a volunteer

The Greek America Foundation seeks volunteers who are able to handle quickly changing environments, encountering people from different cultures and the emotional ups and downs that come with working in challenging conditions. Our volunteer work may at times be physically demanding: summer temperatures in Greece can reach 100 degrees and we will be outside at times engaging in physical activity. Please note that we will always be mindful of putting everyone’s health first during hot weather. Staff from the Greek America Foundation and our partner organization will be on hand at all times. We encourage all volunteers to take down time, practice self-care and use their own coping strategies while engaged in this work. Having strong boundaries, knowing your limits and when to take a break are important skills while volunteering.

Volunteer requirements

For this program we encourage pre-veterinary, veterinary and engineering students to apply. Participants must be able to learn the basic steps of a successful high volume spay/neuter campaign. Each of the volunteers will learn how to: humanely trap stray animals, perform physical examinations, administer medications, prepare patients for surgery, assist during surgery, monitor anesthesia, and safely recover the patients following the procedure. 

Education requirements:

  • Pre-veterinary (undergraduate) students with a strong interest in veterinary medicine and animal welfare 
  • Veterinary students in accredited American veterinary colleges.


Past volunteer experiences in animal welfare or spay/neuter campaigns is preferred but not required as you will be taught all the necessary steps of a high volume spay/neuter campaign. Animal handling experience is preferred. Past experience in veterinary clinics is preferred.


Volunteers will be required to have up-to-date vaccinations for hepatitis B and tetanus/diphtheria and provide proof of these vaccinations. Though Karpathos island does not have documented cases of rabies, when working with animals current rabies vaccination is strongly encouraged. If you have proof of a rabies vaccination please include it in your application.


Two reference letters are required for your application. The references can be from current professors or veterinarians with whom you have worked.

Preparation for the campaign:

Once selected, all volunteers will be required to study the material that Dr. Katogiritis will provide and participate in three online sessions prior to the campaign. During the online sessions, Dr. Katogiritis will introduce the steps of the high volume spay/neuter campaign and basic medical facts in detail.

Scholarships/program fees

If you need financial aid, you may opt for a full scholarship covering all program fees mentioned above. Airfare to Greece is not covered by scholarship funds. You can also opt to pay for the program if you do not need financial aid. The cost for participation is $3,799.00 (plus airfare to Greece). The cost includes accommodations, multiple meals and all cultural activities/excursions. It is not necessary for you to complete a separate application to receive a scholarship; instead, you will specify this detail in your application by selecting “Paid” or “Scholarship” when prompted.

College credit

For an additional fee, participants have the option to accrue college credit that can be applied to their studies at their home institution via our partnership with the Hellenic American University, a U.S.-accredited institution of higher education in Athens. Students are responsible for checking with their home institutions about transfer of credits. A counselor at Hellenic American University will be made available to assist, as will a curriculum and coursework. Please mention in your application if you wish to receive this credit. 


The Greek America Foundation staff is actively monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic both globally and in Greece. Our program will adhere to all guidelines as specified by US, Canadian and Greek health officials. At any given time, the foundation may adjust plans for this program depending on health guidelines and travel restrictions.

Greek America Corps


Click here to submit your application. DEADLINE: FEBRUARY 14, 2021.
Late submissions (no more than one week) will be accepted under special circumstances. If you’d like to request an extension, please contact our program director, Eleni Anagnostopoulos, via email.

Watch the wrap-up from our 2020 program

Frequently asked questions

Is it safe to travel during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Our program will adhere to all guidelines as specified by relevant health authorities. Applicants are solely responsible for determining whether or not they feel comfortable to travel.

How will we enter Greece if U.S. citizens are still banned from entering the EU?

The Greek America Foundation will make special arrangements for our volunteers to enter Greece as humanitarian volunteers, which are exempt from the EU’s restrictions.

Is it safe to be on the island of Karpathos?

The Greek America Foundation vets all volunteer locations for safety and suitability for our volunteers. Likewise, NGO partners are also vetted for accountability and ability to manage our volunteer group. The island of Karpathos is very safe. Reasonable precautions will be taken to ensure safety at all times. Volunteers will receive safety training and guidance on behavior best practices for a variety of contexts.

I’d like to attend another program/conference/family celebration. Can I join the program late or leave at any time?

Participants are expected to be present for the duration of the program as detailed above and not attend other events.

What’s a typical day like?

NOTE: Times subject to change. A detailed schedule will be provided closer to the start of the program.

– Morning breakfast

– 8:00-8:30am: Meeting at the spay/neuter center to review the plan of the day

– 8:30am-9am: Teams will assess the patients that received surgery the day prior. 

– 9am-12pm: Release of the spayed/neutered patients and trapping of new patients

– 12pm-1pm: Lunch

– 1pm-5pm: Surgical procedures will be ongoing as the stray cats/dogs arrive

– 5pm-6pm: Cleaning of medical supplies in preparation for the next day.

– 6pm-6:30pm: Volunteer meeting – a quick recap of the day.

Do I need to speak Greek to participate?

English and Greek will be the main languages spoken in the volunteer program. Knowledge of Greek is not required, but knowledge of the language is a definite plus for our volunteers. Interpreters will be available at times.

Is your question not included above?

Please email our program director, Eleni Anagnostopoulos, to receive further information.