Representation of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in the Republic of Belarus (UNHCR), jointly with the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Belarus, Centre for Children and Youth Evrika (CCY Evrika) with financial assistance of Priorbank, JSC opens the Exhibition of Children’s Drawings and Posters at 11.00 on 4 June 2015 at the Museum of the History of the City of Minsk. The exposition contains 110 best art works submitted to the Nationwide Children’s Competition, which is one of the events carried out on the eve of World Refugee Day celebrated on 20 June.
The competition, where the best drawings, posters and social videos are selected, is jointly carried out by UNHCR, CCY Evrika and the Ministry of Education among schoolchildren across entire Belarus for the 13th time. This year, Priorbank has joined the project by becoming a sponsor of the event for the first time. The goal of the exhibition, as well as the competition preceding to it, is to raise public awareness, particularly that of children, of the issues faced by refugees; develop tolerant public attitude towards persons of concern to UNHCR. The schoolchildren from 1st throughout 11th grades were invited to submit their drawings, social videos and/or digital posters on a refugee related theme. The 2015 leitmotif is “We All Belong Here”. The Organizing Committee received over 750 drawings, more than 50 videos and 105 digital posters from all the regions of the country.
“It is important that the Belarusian public understands the problems faced by refugees – the people who were forced to leave home in their countries and now hope to find it in Belarus, - noted Jean Yves Bouchardy, UNHCR Representative in the Republic of Belarus. – We make a lot of efforts to enhance public tolerance and awareness of the issue. We believe that these traits should be fostered from early childhood. It is educating to see how children express their vision of the issue through art. The participation in the competition makes them think about the challenges that refugee have to go through; teaches tolerance and mercy”.
The exhibition will be displayed from 4 to 21 June at the Museum of the History of the City of Minsk at 10, Revolutsionnaya street. The official opening ceremony will be attended by the representatives of UNHCR, Priorbank, the Ministry of Education, Committee on Education of the Minsk City Executive Committee, as well as the schoolchildren, whose works have been preselected, and music and dance teams of CCY Evrika. Forty laureates of the competition will be invited to Minsk, where they will take part in the gala concert and the award ceremony of the winners.
The mandate of UNHCR is to safeguard the rights and well-being of refugees, asylum-seekers and other persons of concern. Through its partner organization in the Republic of Belarus, UNHCR ensures comprehensive assistance to its persons of concern: provides legal counseling, offers financial/social/emergency assistance, facilitates social integration, and promotes tolerant public attitude towards refugees. As of 1 January 2015, there are 925 refugees and recipients of the complementary protection in the Republic of Belarus.
“In the light of the last year’s events, today’s exhibition of the children’s art works is more relevant than ever, - said Head of the Board of Priorbank Mr. Sergey Kostyuchenko. – And this issue needs to be discussed. Our State undoubtedly provides comprehensive assistance to refugees – this is enshrined in law. However, it is important that Belarusian citizens understand the issues, faced by people from other countries, and be able to offer help. I am sure that children talked to their parents, teachers and friends when preparing for this competition. The mere discussion of the issue already nurtures responsibility and spirit. Everything learnt and reflected by the children is depicted in their drawings. This is another way of upbringing children’s tolerance and solidarity”.