Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Adolf Fredrik Children Choir from Stockholm has greeted internally displaced kids with traditional Swedish holiday – St. Lucia Day

December 16, 2015 ( UNHCR together with Embassy of Sweden and pupils from Adolf Fredrik Music School Chidren Choir in Stockholm organize winter holiday celebration for displaced children in Kyiv. The Choir made its first, much-appreciated performance on December 16 at School No 104 in Pushcha Voditsya, not far from Kyiv. This is one of the schools that have received a lot of children from families which had to flee the conflict in Eastern Ukraine and Crimea during the year. In his speech before the performance, Ambassador Andreas von Beckerath pointed out that Lucia is a tradition that gives light and hope in dark and hard times.
«Saint Lucia is first and foremost a celebration of light and hope. Lucia is a bearer of light in the cold and dark Swedish winters. We celebrate it to remind ourselves that light will overcome darkness. By celebrating Lucia here in Kiev and by having the choir singing, we hope to send the same message to the Ukrainian people. A message of hope and faith for the future, and most importantly a message of solidarity and support during these difficult times», said Ambassador of Sweden to Ukraine, Mr. Andreas von Beckerath.

The choir performed traditional Swedish Lucia songs, a tradition which is similar to St. Nicola’s Day in Ukraine. For the event in Kyiv young singers were beautifully costumed in white dresses, flower wreaths and held lightened candles. The choir sang traditional songs, which, according to the beliefs, force dark spirits to step away after the longest winter night.

The speech of the Ambassador was followed by welcome words from UNHCR Regional Representative in Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine Mr. Oldrich Andrysek:
«Especially this year, let us remember about the kids, who will not be able to celebrate these our favorite winter holidays at their homes with all the relatives and parent or will not celebrate them at all. I am talking about those children who had to flee their homes in Donbas or Crimea searching for more safe places in Ukraine for living. Here is what: let’s try to help these kids, maybe they are your classmates or you just know them, let them feel a bit happier and share our friendship and care which you receive daily from your fellows. When you grow up and become older I wish all of you to do all you can to make your country united and a real home for all who live here», commented UNHCR Regional Representative in Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine Mr. Oldrich Andrysek.In November, the Government of Sweden has supported Ukraine with EUR 4.9 million euros for humanitarian assistance and early recovery. UNCHR is grateful for the generous donation of EUR 1.6 million provided by the Embassy for the needs of internally displaced persons (IDPs) from the east of Ukraine and Crimea. This funding will help UNHCR to secure core relief items, winterization assistance, construction materials for repairs and address other immediate needs in the conflict affected areas.