Dear friends and supporters,
With this newsletter we would like to thank you for your great willingness to donate during the last year and for the Christmas campaign 2020 and report about the Christmas activities at PATRIA and in the Children’s Village Marijampole. Likewise, we look back on the Corona year 2020, which held some positive developments in our projects, and give a brief outlook on our plans for the new year 2021.
We would like tothank you for your loyal and generoussupport in 2020 and for your Christmas donation . Thanks to your help we were able to effectively support the children in the Children’s Village Marijampole and the young people in the PATRIA program last year and also to carry out our popular Christmas campaign again. On behalf of the Children’s Village and PATRIA teams as well as our association, we would like to thank you very much for all the donations with which we were able to finance the support of our projects, the renovation and equipment of the two Kaunas houses as a “Youth Meeting House” as well as the Christmas presents for the children, young people and caregivers. In total, we were pleased to receive donations for the Christmas campaign amounting to almost 11,000 euros. We are very touched by the great commitment and loyalty of our friends and supporters as well as our corporate donor cosnova to our Lithuania project. We will send the donation receipts by mail at the end of January 2021.
With this beautifully designed postcard, the PATRIA organization has thanked our association (referred to as the “Foundation”) for the “Christmas Miracles”. Our continuous support has brought about many miracles in the young people served by PATRIA such as building self-confidence and self-esteem as well as good educational advancement. We also say “Aciu” to you, dear friends and supporters, with great gratitude for your wonderful support during this extraordinary year. At the end of this newsletter you will find a description of the 2020 PATRIA Christmas celebrations.
We look back on the Corona year 2020 – everything was different, but also good. For the first time in the history of the association, there was no annual trip of the board team to Lithuania and no multi-day interactive PATRIA camp for the youth. Due to Corona, the Christmas party in the PATRIA rooms was cancelled and the two families in the Children’s Village Marijampole also celebrated separately.
Nevertheless, there were many positive developments during the Corona period:
- we included five more children in Marijampole, who live with the capable foster mother Sonata, in our sponsorship program,
- regular ZOOM meetings were set up: on the one hand for the coaching of the young people by the PATRIA supervisors, on the other hand for communication between PATRIA and the board team – this worked great,
- PATRIA was able to take over the two Kaunas houses and is now transforming them into a “Youth Meeting House” with the financial support of our association (thanks to your donations!),
- in the run-up to Christmas, the board team communicated directly with children and young people and their carers about ZOOM, which was a great pleasure for everyone involved and which will now be continued several times a year,
- our Christmas presents, cuddly blankets and candles, were distributed “unceremoniously” this year, but probably made all the recipients happy – for some they were the only gifts at Christmas…
We look optimistically into the year 2021 and have some plans: in spring the “Youth Meeting House” of the PATRIA organization shall be opened and a trip of the board team shall be carried out – we urgently want to visit all children and young people as well as our contact persons in Lithuania. Likewise, we are again planning a summer camp with many coaching and meeting opportunities for our protégés.
We look forward to continuing our exchange with you, dear friends and supporters, this year. Following our newsletter, you will find Rita Skridaite’s report on the 2020 Christmas activities of the youth in the PATRIA program. Enjoy reading!
We wish you and your families all the best for 2021 – above all, stay healthy!
With warm regards
Yours Ingrid and Otmar Debald
and the team of “Children’s Villages in Lithuania e.V.”.
Christmas 2020 at PATRIA (written by Rita Skridaite)
The Corona year 2020 was very unusual. For a long time, we could only talk to the young people from the PATRIA program at a distance. But we were allowed to realize that the relationships we had built earlier had endured, and this was felt during the Christmas season.
As every year, there were two Christmas parties for our young people from the Kitaip Center in 2020: an open party for all those who have used PATRIA’s services at some point, and one for the young people from our “assisted living”.
In the Kitaip center we had to organize the evening by video because of the Corona restrictions. Each young person had the task of preparing a simple cake in the microwave. It only took a short time with a simple recipe and the cakes were ready. And then there was the discovery: the same recipe, but the cakes had turned out quite differently for the different “bakers”! And then there was the storytelling and sharing of experiences – everyone had something that reminded them of Christmas. There were young people participating who have been coming to us for a long time and some brand new ones, so there was such a good opportunity to get to know each other.
In assisted living, Christmas preparations had already started at the beginning of December and very intensively. The youth had decided to purchase a larger (artificial) Christmas tree for themselves and future generations in assisted living. There were many discussions and two visits to the mall before the Christmas tree was finally purchased. And then the young people found that two identical parts were packed in the box. So they also learned right away the process of how to return purchased goods.
And then there was the planning for Christmas dinner, talking about herring, cutting salad and preparing chicken. The young people reflected on how Christmas can be spent with people they don’t know very well and that this is possible.
The young people were very sad that they could not spend the celebration with their family members. Quite without prompting, the table was set, the smell of fine food spread through the apartment. Then there were again many stories of waiting for Santa Claus and of Christmas presents.
And the third event was a pre-Christmas meeting with the board team of “Kinderdörfer in Litauen e.V.” via video. It is very important for our protégés to feel that adults are interested in them and their concerns and want to keep in touch with them. And the youth can see the people who contribute to their financial stability and socio-educational guidance.
Eyes sparkled when Otmar said he was proud of the young people who completed their education this year at the college or university. These moments are very touching, when the effect of these words is reflected in the faces of the young people, with pride in themselves. You hear that so rarely. This exchange between the young people, representatives of the Foundation of “Children’s Villages in Lithuania e.V.” and the employees of PATRIA was a nice meeting.