Lek Sunshine Games and Funny Olympics to conclude the holidays

28. 8. 2014

Today, the centre of Maribor was filled with playful laughter of children participating at the Lek Sunshine Games and Funny Olympics to mark the end of the holidays. As a part of the so-called Holidays with Friends, as the Maribor Association of Friends of Youth (FYA) named their summer activities, 141 children from the humanitarian initiative A Wink at the Sun enjoyed free holidays financed with a help of FIHO funds and other donation campaigns by SAFY and FYA Maribor. A Wink at the Sun initiative by the Slovenian Association of Friends of Youth (SAFY), enabling free holidays for children coming from socially disadvantaged families, has been supported by Lek, a Sandoz company, for nearly 16 years.

Darja Groznik, SAFY president, stressed: »In times when an increasing number of parents struggle to offer their children holidays or active, creative leisure time activities, partners such as Lek, a Sandoz company, that has been supporting our efforts within A Wink of the Sun campaign for many years, are invaluable. This year, we raised with this humanitarian campaign 98,700 Euros and enabled 329 children to enjoy free holidays. Over the 16 years, around 10,500 children have had free holidays with the help of A Wink at the Sun charity campaign.«

Holidays are organized at SAFY holiday resorts at the seaside and in the mountains. »Propositions for the vacationing of children from socially disadvantaged families are obtained in collaboration with the Centres for Social Work and the schools advisory services. Children receive ten days of free accommodation, transport, five meals a day, an unlimited amount of non-alcoholic beverages and fruit. Holidays are overseen by educators, and groups of eight children are mentored by trained educational staff. Sports activities and an entertainment program, as well as swimming lessons, are carried out by swimming instructors and sports-social animators. In this way we also offer the children, in addition to the usual seaside delights, a diverse program in the form of various activities, workshops and animation,« added Darja Groznik.

Lek Sunshine Games which traditionally accompany the Funny Olympics ensured that the last vacation day for the Maribor children was as happy and unforgettable as possible. Lek Sunshine Games are a part of the humanitarian campaign A Wink at the Sun, with which SAFY and Lek, a Sandoz company, like to enable holidays for children from socially disadvantages families. »This year, together with SAFY, we enabled 329 children to enjoy free holidays, 46 of whom were under A Wink at the Sun campaign from Styria – 26 from Maribor, 11 from Ptuj, 4 from Slovenska Bistrica, 3 from Lenart and 2 from Ormož. Lek, a Sandoz company, has allocated over the years a total of more than 230,000 Euros for this charitable campaign. We sincerely hope, that with our support these children who would otherwise not be able to go on holidays or be involved in leisure activities, can now step into the new school year with self-confidence and pleasant summer memories,« said Mojca Pavlin, head of Corporate responsibility at Lek, a Sandoz company.

With SAFY, holidays in Maribor are always fun

Holidays with friends, activities for children and youth from Maribor, organised by FYA Maribor, started already at the Lent Festival at the end of June, with the participation in the natural science workshops at the Art camp in the city park. Later on, the workshops continued in the Center for Creativity of Youth in Maribor (DUM). At least three workshops were held every day.

From 1 July, tours and trips started. They were organized as short thematic daily tours around Maribor and the surroundings or as full-day Wednesday trips around Slovenia. Altogether, FYA Maribor organized a total of 38 trips which were very popular as on average, 40 children took part in each trip, the largest number of participants was 91.

»In total, up to the last third of August, about 3,500 children took part in the Holidays with Friends initiative (workshops, trips, events) and if we add the Lent Festival, the number is doubled. All activities, with the exception of the Wednesday tours and trips for which a surcharge was required, were free. With the help of a donation from the Večer newspaper, we took an additional 135 children from socially disadvantaged families for three one day free trips to the seaside,« explained Saša Mikić, president of FYA Maribor and added that this holiday program serves as a real life prep school encouraging children’s creativity, curiosity and motor development, independence, social skills, promotion of tolerance, patience and perseverance.

After summer, a rich autumn for SAFY follows

When the holiday period is over, then comes the time that SAFY largely devotes to educational activities. Breda Krašna, SAFY Secretary General, said: »We have training for the Children’s Parliament mentors ahead of us on the subject Education and Career Guidance – a national seminar will take place on 9 September 2014, and regional seminars in the second half of September. For October we have planned the training for history club mentors on the subject: Traces of the First World War in my home town, and in November the training for the Europe at School contest mentors.«

About the Slovenian Association of Friends of Youth
The 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 102 associations and organizations, remains unchanged – continuing to raise the quality of life of children, young people and families, to protect their respective interests, needs, and their rights. Throughout the 60 years of its operation, 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 the school children’s 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, it focuses on following crucial programmes for children and young people: the TOM telephone helpline, Children’s Parliament, Young Researchers – Young Historians, Europe in School, Safe use of the Internet, Centre for information and Advocacy on Children’s and Young Person’s Rights, Wink at the Sun, Sick of Words, Sponsorship in Slovenia, and the Reading Badge.

Contact for media purposes:
Breda Krašna, SAFY Secretary General
01/239 67 13