End of vacation with Funny Olympics and Lek Sunshine Games
Today, on the last Friday of summer vacation, the Liberty Square in the centre of Maribor hosted the relaxed and creative Funny Olympics and Lek Sunshine Games, the last from the series of events prepared for children from Maribor by the Association of Friends of the Youth (FYA) in Maribor during the summer. 137 children from the humanitarian initiative A Wink at the Sun participated at the so-called Holidays with Friends, as referred to by the association. This initiative by the Slovenian Association of Friends of the Youth (SAFY) for carefree holidays for children coming from socially disadvantaged families has been supported by Lek, a Sandoz company, for already 15 years.
»It is hard for us to imagine, but for a lot of families vacation days are among the most stressful during the year. On account of the progressing financial crisis they cannot afford to enable their children quality holidays. Therefore here at AFY in Maribor, we have prepared a program, which we have carried out for several years now, enabling children active, interesting and creative vacation time,« stated Saša Mikič, the new president of the AFY in Maribor. As the former vice-president of the association, he replaced for the following 4 years the long-serving chairman Majda Struc, who will still remain active as a member of the association’s chairmanship. »I would like to take this opportunity to thank Majda Struc for all her efforts and selfless acts during her 23 years of working for the benefit of children. Her successful past work is of enormous importance for our organization as well as for Maribor. She was and will remain a friend of the youth, « added the chairman of the AFY in Maribor.
The holiday program prepared by the AFY in Maribor »Holidays with Friends« includes holiday activities in Maribor and holidays at the Educational and recreational center in Poreč (VIRC Poreč) as well as the House of Miloš Zidanšek in Pohorje (DMZ Pohorje). This year 1481 children spend their holidays with the AFY in Maribor. With the help of various donators and sponsors 446 children were able to go on free holidays, 137 of which under the campaign A Wink at the Sun. 207 volunteers, educational leaders and their assistants as well as healthcare workers participated in the program. In addition to sea and forest adventures, the programs also included a variety of workshops, activities, evening gatherings, and trips.
Holiday activities in Maribor which included art workshops, theme-based workshops, morning trips around Maribor and its surroundings, all day Wednesday trips and other events were visited by around 3000 participants. 20 volunteers helped at workshops and accompanied children during trips. Assistance was also offered by many institutions, institutes, organizations, societies and individuals from Maribor. The program ended with the Funny Olympics and Lek Sunshine Games where children had the opportunity to take part in funny games, enjoy sweets, receive certificates, t-shirts, and awards as well as enjoy the show by the magician Grega.
Darja Groznik, SAFY president expressed her gratitude to Lek Pharmaceuticals for their understanding of how important it is for children to spend their holidays with their peers. »A new school year is about to begin and various projects by SAFY will be held – among others the Children’s Parliament. Humanitarian initiatives will, of course, be of particular significance. In addition, it should be established, whether subsidised school meals provide sufficient guarantees that children receive not only a daily snack, but also lunch,« added Darja Groznik.
To make the last day of the summer holidays as cheerful and memorable as possible for the children in Maribor Lek, a Sandoz company, brought to town the Sunshine Games, the already traditional sports activities of the Funny Olympics. SAFY and its long-term initiative partner Lek, a Sandoz company, organise Lek’s Sunshine Games as a part of the Wink at the Sun campaign, whose goal is to enable holidays for children who due to the social marginalized position of their parents would otherwise stay at home. This year SAFY and Lek enabled 312 children to enjoy completely free holidays. Under the Wink at the Sun campaign 64 children from Styria and Carinthia enjoyed free holidays: 25 children from Maribor, 11 from Ptuj, 6 from Ravne na Koroškem, 5 from Slovenska Bistrica, 4 from Slovenske Konjice and Slovenj Gradec, and 3 from Lenart, Ormož and Radlje ob Dravi, respectively. Over the last 15 years, 10,000 children from all parts of Slovenia have had free holidays with the help of A Wink at the Sun charity campaign, Lek, however, has allocated more than 215,000 Euros for this humanitarian campaign, of which 17,000 Euros this year.
Mojca Pavlin from Lek, a Sandoz company, said: »Funny Olympics and Lek Sunshine Games are really a grand and funny way of ending the summer holidays. In Lek we are aware of how important it is for children and their development to spend their holidays in a healthy environment. That is why we have supported the efforts of SAFY for several years now in order to enable all children to spend their holidays and free-time activities during their summer holidays. We sincerely hope that our support provided holidays for those children who due to their families’ social circumstances could not afford jaunting and varied range of leisure-time activities and they will confidently start the new school year.«
About Slovenian Association of Friends of Youth
Slovenian Association of Friends of Youth (SAFY) is a non-governmental, voluntary, humanitarian and non-profit organization operating in the public interest. Since its establishment in 1953 the mission of SAFY, uniting 93 associations and organizations, remains to raise the quality of life of children, young people and families, to protect their respective interests, needs, and their rights. Since its establishment SAFY helped to develop the legislation in the field of healthcare, social affairs and education. It established the pre-school education program, took the initiative to establish school children health services and outpatient centres, as well as community nursing. SAFY coordinated the initiative to arrange school meals, organize free holidays for children and parenting education. Behind the idea of the first counselling services for children and marriage guidance counselling stands the Association, as well. Today, SAFY focuses on following crucial programmes for children and young people: TOM telephone helpline, Children’s Parliament, Young Researchers – Young Historians, Europe in School, Safe use of Internet, Centre for information and Advocacy on Children’s and Young Person’s Rights, Wink at the Sun, Sick of Words, Sponsorship in Slovenia, Reading Badge.