The nationwide charity campaign Our Children has raised more than Br17,000 before its official launch, Yelena Simakova who is in charge of the education work and youth policy at the Belarusian Education Ministry, told reporters on 9 December, BelTA has learned.
“The traditional New Year charity campaign Our Children will run for the 25th time. Its main goal, as well as the country’s priority, is to take care of the younger generation that is the future of our nation. The campaign targets children who need help and protection the most: orphans, children with disabilities, children who are receiving treatment, and those who were removed from families for various reasons,” Yelena Simakova noted.
According to her, since the first edition of the campaign in 1995, the child protection system in Belarus has greatly changed. For example, out of 47 orphanages of the education system, only 15 remained as of 5 September 2020. Moreover, the number of orphans and children without parental care in orphanages shrank by five times to 1,121 children. Nowadays, the system is focused on the development of professional parenting (family-type children's homes). Since 1995, the number of such children’s homes soared from 11 to 286, which are raising 1,906 children.
The campaign has helped orphanages and social shelters to network with enterprises of various forms of ownership. “The campaign demonstrates how many Belarusians are ready to lend a helping hand. The Education Ministry, as the main coordinating body, has already sent more than 70 letters to various organizations. The campaign has attracted more than Br17,000 ahead of its official launch. Last year, New Year charity events across the country helped raise Br2.2 million to purchase equipment and appliances for children’s facilities. This included not only private donations. The government annually allocates funds for upgrading facilities that raise children,” Yelena Simakova said.
This year’s edition of the Our Children campaign will kick off on 10 December and will be running through 10 January 2021. The program includes concerts and youth balls. “Of course, we had to adjust the plans due to the epidemiological situation in the country. The Healthcare Ministry gave recommendations regarding the enforcement of some restrictions. The participants of the campaign have promised to ensure that every present finds its recipient. We would like all children to be healthy and happy surrounded by their close and loved ones,” Yelena Simakova added.