- The Legacy of Near East Relief
Sophie Kyriakou was only four years old when her father was killed and her mother died. Young Sophie found herself in a Near East Relief orphanage in Athens, where she devoted herself to learning. Sophie graduated from the Home Economics School in Athens and joined the Near East Foundation in Greek Macedonia as a home economics instructor.
Sophie’s taught basic skills like cooking and sewing. She also educated women and girls about sanitation in the home as a way to avoid illness. Sophie was working in Greek Macedonia when the Italian army invaded Greece in 1940, sparking Greece’s involvement in World War II. Greece suffered heavy damage under Axis occupation.
The Near East Foundation organized centers called “Eagle’s Nests” to care for children from 1700 destroyed villages. The Eagle’s Nests provided food, clothing, medical care, and education. Sophie Kyriakou found her calling as the director of the Eagle’s Nest at Agrinion, where she supervised 200 children.