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Maria Stroumpa

2019/20 Thessaloniki

Maria was born in Komotini, Greece, and currently lives in Thessaloniki. She studied Education Sciences in Early Childhood (Democritus University of Thrace, Alexandroupolis). Since she was young she has been seriously concerned about environmental issues and how a good relationship with the natural world can be cultivated, and this is the reason she undertook postgraduate studies in Environmental Education (Aristotle University, Thessaloniki).

Maria has worked in the field of sociocultural education in many ways: from being a clown and teaching Braille to adults to being an educator in environmental NGOs. She is devoted to her vision: to raise awareness of plastic pollution and set the right example (she always carries her metal straw in her bag!). Maria seeks to inspire others to take action too!

In 2019, the START fellowship program gave her the chance to enrich her competencies and bring change to her hometown, following the motto “Think globally, act locally”. Her project Kookoonari (Greek for pinecone) is to transform a public school in Komotini into a Zero/Low Waste school by engaging not only the school but also the local community - for our ecological footprint can only be reduced through collective action! Maria is determined to make Kookoonari grow and help it flourish in more schools around Greece.

Phase I

Capacity building in Germany

Learn more about the program phases


Sep - Nov

Project Title


The project is named Kookoonari (Greek word for pinecone) because our rubbish should be like a pinecone, for it becomes soil when falling down. So, zero/low waste lifestyle could be represented by the circle of a pinecone’s life. The project will take place at a public school in the city of Komotini. Its scope is to transform a public school into a Zero/Low Waste School. This can be achieved if school members (students, families, school staff) join their forces. The implementation of this project aims to inform, raise awareness, motivate and provide tools and ideas to people for altering their everyday choices and act consciously. Specifically, the project will focus to incorporate the zero waste lifestyle into school’s material, meals and cleaning, too. Through these, we can contribute a little bit to the achievement of the 12th Goal of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development
Goals «Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns».

Host Institution

Kulturbüro Muggenhof / Kulturwerkstatt Auf AEG

The Kulturbüro Muggenhof is one of the 11 "Kulturläden", sociocultural centres in Nuremberg. It is part of the city government. It was opened in 2016 at a former industrial area and unites different cultural institutions, such as the Musikschule Nürnberg, Kinder Kunst Raum, Akademie für Schultheater und Theaterpädagogik and Centro Espanol. 

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