15 February 2012
Members of the Tourism Guild at a Konotop orphanage and boarding school can look forward to the spring, with brand new hiking gear and sporting equipment donated by the Czech Embassy to Ukraine. To the children?s great delight, on 9 February 2012, Czech Ambassador Ivan Po?uch and his wife Martina Po?uchov? delivered hiking boots, tents, sleeping bags and mats, climbing ropes, carbines and backpacks for the young hikers, as well as a ping pong table and sledges for all pupils. Additionally, the Czech food manufacturer Ham? donated 200 bottles of fruit juice for children.
The Konotop Sanatorium Orphanage and Boarding School (Sumska Oblast) was one of IOM?s partner institutions under a European Union funded project to fight trafficking in children. Due to its positive experiences with the institution, IOM recommended it when approached by the Czech Embassy on a suitable beneficiary for its intended donation.
The Kotonop Sanatorium Orphanage and Boarding School is home to 200 pupils from first to ninth grade with special health needs connected to pulmonary diseases. Most of them are children from socially disadvantaged families and orphans. The institutions? Hiking Guild has existed for seven years and gives teenagers from 11 to 16 years old the chance to explore nature through hiking, climbing and other outdoor activities.
?The Czech Republic values the important work that IOM does to protect vulnerable children from human trafficking and we are happy that we can support a Ukrainian educational institution which takes this topic equally seriously,? said Ambassador Po?uch. ?Sport and tourism are favourite past times for many Czechs, and with our donation we can support young hikers and outdoor fans from the Orphanage to enjoy nature, too,? he added, explaining why the Embassy chose this specific direction for its assistance.
The high-level visit to the institution was the culmination of a Czech week, during which the students at the Konotop Sanatorium Orphanage and Boarding School learned facts about the Czech Republic and also participated in an artistic competition about the country. Ambassador Po?uch and his wife were impressed by the skilful drawings depicting Czech hockey players or Prague?s main historic sites. The Ambassador commanded the children on their talent and also took the time to talk to them about his profession as well as the country.
?Giving children past-time opportunities is crucial for their physical and psychological development as well as for making the Sanatorium and Orphanage a real home,? underlined the institution?s director Oleksander Apterman. ?Therefore we are very grateful for this donation and this important visit.?
As the children ran outside to try the new sledges in the deep snow, Ruslan Tarasenko, their Physical Education Teacher added: ?Now that our Hiking Guild has its own tents, backpacks and sleeping bags we can go outdoors whenever we want and don?t have to borrow equipment from other schools any longer?.
IOM places special emphasis on preventing trafficking in children, inter alia through cooperation with government agencies from the social and education systems, NGO partners as well as international organizations and donors.