Children of Polish origin, living in orphanages in Pabradė (in Polish: Podbrodzie) and Nemenčinė (in Polish: Niemenczyn), will spend Christmas in Poland. Their visit has been organized by the Association ‘Otwarty Dom’ (‘Open house’) in Białystok, which for over 20 years has been taking care of children from the abovementioned Lithuanian institutions. Fourteen kids have already arrived to friend families in Podlaskie Voivodeship.
The Association ‘Otwarty Dom’ cooperates with two educational care centres in Lithuania: orphanages in Pabradė and Nemenčinė. It also takes care of children from poor families living in the Bujwidze commune. Kids from Vilnius Region are invited to Poland every year for Christmas, Easter and summer holidays. During such visits, children live with families cooperating with the Association. The guests have many atractions provided and also come home with presents.
This year children spend Christmas not only with families from Podlaskie Voivodeship, but also from Warsaw, Łomianki and Pułtusk. Irena Stankiewicz, the president of the Association ‘Otwarty Dom’ claims that some children have been arriving to the same families for a few years, so they are attached to each other and, as a result, children spend Christmas among benevolent people. ‘Children develop relationships here and they do not arrive to strangers, but to friends, even family’, said Irena Stankiewicz.
Christmas and holiday visits in Poland constitute an occasion for children from Lithuania to familiarise themselves with Polish culture and Christmas tradition. Apart from spending Christmas in truly family-like atmosphere, children will also have fun while visiting tourist attractions and swimming in a pool.
Tłumaczenie by Joanna Stępińska w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Joanna Stępińska within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.