Holiday is when everyone has a happy and joyful childhood

President Alexander Lukashenko takes part in Our Children campaign

By Vladimir Vasiliev

President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko has visited an orphanage in Zhodino and wished the children Happy New Year.
Mr. Lukashenko talked to the children and the staff and was shown around the orphanage. The President gave each child a sweet gift and donated children’s sports equipment to the orphanage. The children handed over a self-made New Year tree and a book to the President. The Head of State saw a New Year performance staged by the children and the staff and took part in dances around a decorated New Year tree. After that the children were invited to a tea party and a sweet buffet. Mr. Lukashenko wished everyone good health, happiness and a good mood.

Director of the orphanage Tatiana Kireyeva said that, at present, the orphanage has 64 children, including children with special needs. This year 18 children have been adopted by Belarusian families, five of them were returned to their parents. According to Ms. Kireyeva, the orphanage has created an environment conducive to all-round development of orphaned children and children left without parental care.

The President of Belarus has also visited Radoshkovichi boarding school on December 30th and presented sports equipment to orphaned children and children left without parental care.  Among the gifts were skis, skates for ice hockey and figure skating, hockey sticks with pucks, football and volleyball balls and other things.

The President talked to the children in a friendly atmosphere and was shown around the boarding school. He visited a workshop for girls where he was treated to potato pancakes and cookies. The children took the President to the local lore museum and the museum of air ramming. The children are raised through the example of heroes Nikolai Gastello and Alexander Maslov. Mr. Lukashenko also saw a handicraft exhibition of the children and was given one of the handcrafted items.

The meeting concluded with a sweet buffet. The children prepared a New Year performance for the Belarusian President. Mr. Lukashenko wished the children Happy New Year and great achievements in the coming year. The Radoshkovichi boarding school is located in Molodechno District and raises 89 children.

The President of Belarus has been spending the pre-New Year days visiting children currently under the guardianship of the state and those in hospitals. “Every child will experience the holiday!” he promises. The Our Children charity campaign is being organised, involving the President, state officials, businessmen, bankers and directors. As part of the campaign, Mr. Lukashenko visited children at the National Children’s Rehabilitation Centre in Ostroshitsky Gorodok, near Minsk, where he donated 5,000 books to its library.

Children staying at the Centre are given herbal cocktails, swim in the pool and take steam treatments; boredom must be impossible, as they also play table tennis, board games and chess. Our tour passed by their play room, where the children were eagerly engaged in their games, while others were drawing. Some pictures decorate the walls, warning against bad habits.

“I’d like everyone to be happy and healthy,” smiled little Liza Melnikova, from Baranovichi, speaking to journalists.
The President arrived at the hospital with the same wishes. Moreover, he wants to see every child reading and well educated. “The Internet is everywhere. You can even forget how to read,” he jokes.

Looking at the donated books, it’s clear that they’ve been selected to suit various age groups — from early ABC and spelling books, to fairy-tales and more serious fiction. Such Belarusian writers as Kolas, Bykov and Shamyakin are present, alongside Russian classical authors: Chekhov, Lermontov and Pushkin. Foreign writers are represented by Kipling, Dumas, and J.K. Rowling — with her Harry Potter series. Also donated are I Understand the World encyclopaedias, and an edition aimed specifically at girls, entitled 12,000 Pieces of Advice. Some journalists joked that this may be too many!

On seeing the books, the children immediately began to thump through the pages of the largest and best illustrated. Mr. Lukashenko mentioned that his own library is almost as extensive and that his son Nikolay began reading at the age of three. Presumably, the toddler also began to master the Internet at the same time. On seeing a computer he immediately began surfing the Internet. Of course, journalists present asked which websites he visits and it turns out that little Kolya Lukashenko used the popular MSN site to read the football news, seeing that Tottenham had kept its place in the English Premier League.

Evidently, the world is moving from the time of Guttenberg to the civilisation of Windows. Where my generation spent its childhood with books, then gradually learnt how to use the Internet, today’s children know Google better than Kipling. By the age of ten, social networks are part of everyday life.

However, books remain a wonderful gift. The further information technologies develop, the more special each book becomes.

A New Year performance featuring Father Frost, the Snow Maiden and artists from the Belarusian State Circus was organised and, when Mr. Lukashenko appeared, the children loudly applauded.

“Everyone has one key moment in their life. Today, you’re experiencing an event which you may never happen again,” noted Head Doctor Galina Rodionova, explaining the importance of the moment to children.

“You’ll see me again!” Mr. Lukashenko assured her, explaining that his residence isn’t far from the hospital, so nothing should hinder him from coming again. Smiling, he told the youngsters, “I wish you strong health. Most importantly, keep your spirits up.”

Before the performance, the children also received individual presents: toy dragons — the symbol of 2012 — filled with sweets. Little Oleg Savchenko from Minsk delighted everyone with his spectacular song and dance. He was marvellous, having even recently won a city contest — called Small Star. I gave him my sincere wishes that he may grow to become a big star. After being featured on TV reports, his chances are sure to rise.

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