I am glad that we have succeeded in bringing Syrian children, orphans, to forget at least for a short time the Syrian hell in which they have been living for eight years, said Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović after she received a gift that these Syrian children sent her as a sign of gratitude. In June, 34 children and five adults from various parts of Syria stayed at the Red Cross resort in Novi Vinodolski in Croatia, reports Večernji List on November 19, 2018.
The children have managed to collect enough money from their allowances to buy a unique handmade jewellery box made of high-quality oak wood. A box of this size takes at least 15 days of handwork because all the engravings are made manually. In most of the Arab world, giving such a box shows great respect and gratitude.
The president emphasized she hoped that next year she would be able to again bring children from Syria and other countries tormented by war horrors. The person who did the most to bring them to Croatia is Đurđa Adlešić, the president of the Croatia Helps association, who worked on the project for two years.
In addition to President Grabar-Kitarović, the project was supported by Prime Minister Andrej Plenković as well, who sent his spokesperson Marko Milić to visit the children while they were in Novi Vinodolski. President’s advisor Mate Granić also visited them.
Prior to returning to Syria, the children were received at the government building by Zvonimir Frka-Petešić, the prime minister’s chief of staff, who presented them with small gifts and wished them happiness and peace in their country.
“We want to live in peace just like people in Croatia live. Instead of grenades and shootings, we want to listen to birds. Instead of tears and sadness, we want laughter, dancing and singing,” said the youngest member of the group, the 10-year-old Hanin who lost her father and brother in the war, adding that she would never forget Croatia and her new friends whom she will invite to her country as soon as the war is over.
For more on Croatia’s relations with Syria, click here.
Translated from Večernji List (reported by Hassan Haidar Diab).