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The dream can come true: children from Ukraine have participated in summer camp in Latvia

21 child and 3 adults from Nizhyn municipality in Ukraine has had an opportunity to spend unforgettable days in summer camp in Latvia, which has taken place from 27 June until 6 July at the place right near to the sea – Abragciems.

This was the initiative of Preili municipality, who is cooperating with Nizhyn municipality already for several years. The summer camp was organised by the Children’s Foundation in Latvia, however the support in providing logistics for group to arrive to Latvia was ensured through the successful cooperation among Preili municipality, the Latvian Association of Local and Regional Governments, Viduslatgale Municipal Foundation, the Association of Ukrainian Cities, Nizhyn municipality and 179 citizens from Latvia and abroad, who have supported the initiative.

The title of the camp was “Sunflower”, which was chosen, because the sunflower is associated with Ukraine all over the world and also in Latvia. The main aim of this camp is to let children, who have seen war, to enjoy at least for a while Latvian sun, feeling loved, safe and cared for.

The children, who have participated in the summer camp, were at the age from 8 to 16 years. The children were selected on the basis of three criteria: orphaned children; children who helped as volunteers during the war and distributed humanitarian aid to the population; talented children (young artists). The group included children whose parents participated in the battles during the defense of Nizhyn, including two children whose father, an Armenian, has lost both legs in the battles. The children were accompanied by three adults: Ms Tamara Stratilat, the Head of Nizhyn volunteer headquarters, joined by Ms Angela Timchenko, the Director of the Nizhyn Youth Center, and Ms Galina Bianka, the Head of the volunteer organization “Time for us”.

During the summer camp children have participated in different activities, as well as they were provided with physiotherapy and classes with the possibility of using kinesiological taping and soft tissue techniques.  and there are also talks with a psychologist. Taking into consideration the specific circumstances, the conversations with a psychologist were especially important. Children not only enjoyed sunny weather and seaside, but also participated in various outdoor sports activities, cultural and musical events, as well as excursions to discover Latvia, its nature and people. For example, they visited Rundāle Castle and walked through the labyrinths of its  beautiful park, enjoyed the magic and attractions of Tervete park, as well as participated at the expedition along the sea coast. They have left Latvia back home taking with them not only nice memories, but also different drawings and self-made souvenirs.

Preili municipality has cooperated with Nizhyn municipality already for several years, mainly organizing joint activities in the creative fields, involving children and young people. For several years both municipalities have also actively participated in the European Days of Local Solidarity and development education activities organised by the Latvian Association of Local and Regional Governments and Platforma. The cooperation has not been put on a break even during the COVID-19 times, when children from Nizhyn together with children from Latvian and Georgia have participated in creation of the Music and art video, and not even the war times.

We hope that this initiative has not even brought joy into the lives of Nizhyn’s children and their parents, but would also serve as an inspiration for others to continue the cooperation, even during the times, when it is not so easy to be done!