From January 15 to 17, 2016 seventeen orphans from Novoselo and Berezhany orphanage boarding schools together with five volunteers of the Orphans’ Future Foundation, themselves orphan graduates, had the opportunity to visit the Christmas School in Lviv city. The Program was organized for the second time with Orphans' Future in partnership with the Lviv Charity organization, The Care Center for Orphans.
During this annual program children leave the drab conditions of the orphanage and enjoy participating in various workshops and fun activities associated with Ukrainian Christmas traditions as well as exciting excursions to some of the interesting historical sites in the beautiful city of Lviv which has long been considered the cultural center of Western Ukraine.
The journey to Lviv by bus from Berezhany orphanage boarding school took about three hours in the snow and the children were fascinated by the sights of Ukraine's winter nature beyond the orphanage and there were a few stops along the way to appreciate the sights (and throw a few snowballs).
On arrival the children experienced a warm welcome with Christmas carols from costumed characters organized by the company "Rekkitt Benckiser Ukraine". And this was just the start. During the three days, the children enthusiastically participated in various interesting workshops: making greeting cards and decorative soap, coloring sweet cakes, making delicious dumplings with potato and cheese. The children were able to later enjoy the fruits of their labors.
In addition, the children were thrilled with several fun and very interesting excursions arranged for them in Lviv including a visit to the "Pharmacy Under the Black Eagle", which is the oldest pharmacy in Lviv, operating continuously since 1735. It includes a pharmacy museum which amazed the children with over 2,000 items of antique pharmaceutical instruments and medicines of bygone eras.
Other popular excursions were to the first Ukrainian Theater for Children and Youth, where they enjoyed the performance of the stage play, "The Little Mermaid", and a trip to the movies at “Planet Cinema, (located in the busy Kings Cross shopping and entertainment area of Lviv), where the orphans were thrilled with the new experience of seeing the cartoon "The Good Dinosaur" in 3-D!!
A lively time was also spent with the volunteers enjoying some more traditional Ukrainian Christmas pastimes such as caroling and prayers and "Malanka", where children can dress up in different costumes and go house to house singing Christmas songs. The Children were also able to visit friends at the Care Center for Orphans to sing for them Christmas carols which brought plenty of smiles to the faces of our orphans as well as their friends.
The Christmas School 2016 provided some warm and lasting memories for the orphans. Not surprisingly one of the most talked about experiences was the 3-D cartoon, and many enjoyable workshops where they found they could do good things themselves. But above all many children expressed their thankfulness for the kindness and caring shown to them. Surely the true meaning of Christmas.
Team of Orphans’ Future Foundation on behalf of our children expresses sincere gratitude to all kind people who joined and organized the charity event "Christmas School 2016" and became friends of our children.