Today, on 7 August, representatives of the Ministry of Education and Science, the Ministry of Welfare, the charity organisation Ziedot.lv and other partners came together at the AKROPOLE Alfa shopping centre to launch the annual donation campaign “Let’s help prepare for school together!”. During the campaign, people will be invited to support low-income Latvian families and Ukrainian refugee families by donating new school supplies and financial means to prepare their children for the new school year.
Preparing for school is an emotional time for the whole family, and according to the survey inquired by AKROPOLE* more than half (52%) of the Latvian population feel anxious (37%), excited (34%) and happy (24%) about the new school year. To help the more vulnerable part of society to reduce their financial challenges and look forward to the start of autumn with a greater sense of joy and security, the shopping and entertainment centres AKROPOLE Rīga and AKROPOLE Alfa, in cooperation with the charity organisation Ziedot.lv, research agency Norstat, and the family portal Mammamuntetiem.lv, invite people from 7 to 27 August to donate stationery, new formal and athletic clothing, shoes and other school essentials, as well as money, in order to support pupils and their families before the start of the new school year.
During the event, Silvija Reinberga, Parliamentary Secretary for Education and Science, stressed that teachers, learning materials and the environment are fundamental keys to the education our children receive. “Just as a teacher cannot teach well without learning materials, a child cannot learn without them, and learning materials are vital for parents to help with homework. The Ministry of Education and Science thanks everyone who helps those in need. Your helping hand is invaluable as it warms souls, gives hope and increases children’s opportunities to participate fully in the learning process and feel better.”
In turn, Līga Āboliņa, Advisor to the Minister of Welfare on Children’s Rights Policy, pointed the need for teaching tools to develop pupils’ socialisation skills: “It is at school where children acquire skills in socialising that last a lifetime. It is therefore important that children go to school prepared, so that this experience and the joy of learning is full of positive emotions and satisfaction. I am grateful for the organisation of such events, because only together can we bring joy to children’s eyes and help those who are having the hardest time!”
Rūta Dimanta, Head of the Charity Organisation Ziedot.lv, said that this year Ziedot.lv has already been approached by dozens of families from the regions, who face a big challenge preparing their children for school. As with last year, price rises are having a huge impact on families’ ability to provide all the necessary school supplies. Large families and single-parent families have the hardest time: “We cannot forget about Latvia’s large families and families in need, for whom it is challenging to prepare their children for school every year, as well as Ukrainian families and their integration into Latvian schools. Families fleeing war come to Latvia for refuge and help; many Ukrainian children will be in their second year of school, and need support to get school supplies in order to be able to fully continue their education.”
This year, families are most in need of school bags, pencil cases, stationery items, as well as formal clothing, sportswear and school shoes. Inga Akmentiņa-Smildziņa, Head of the Parents’ Organisation Mammamuntetiem.lv, pointed out that these items are almost the same every year, but this year, due to the high price hikes, their provision is a particular concern for children’s parents: “Preparing for school is always a big expense for parents, as not only are stationery items needed, but also clothing. You cannot buy all of this once, and then live without worry – children grow up. Moreover, this school year brings along new worries, caused by the unimaginable rise in prices. This is why “Let’s help prepare for school together!” has a special meaning for families this year.”
Valdis Portnajs, Manager of AKROPOLE Rīga, pointed out that August is the month that almost all parents associate with preparing for school, so this year the AKROPOLE shopping centres will also host a donation campaign, in addition to a wide range of school goods traders, which will be complemented by an exhibition of artworks by students of the social enterprise Brāļi un māsas and the art school Kultūras Patnis, making both shopping centres a place to get ready for the new school season with joy: “For the fourth year, we and our partners are coming together with a common cause to help children from low-income families and families in need get ready for school. The goal has become even more important this year, so we are actively involved in the donation process. We invite you to support and donate again this year, so that together we can bring joy to as many young children as possible.”
Anyone can bring their donations to AKROPOLE Rīga (Maskavas street 257) and AKROPOLE Alfa (Brīvības avenue 372) or purchase them in the shopping centres and leave them at designated charity boxes with the caption “Let’s help prepare for school together!”. You can also support financially by donating via bank transfer at www.ziedot.lv, under “Let’s help prepare for school together!” or at the donation boxes in both shopping centres. The amount of the donation is voluntary.
The charity campaign will end on 27 August. Ziedot.lv will hand over all donated items and proceeds to those families who cannot provide their children with school items due to financial reasons.