The Slovenia Times

Ukrainian refugees integrating through music and play

SILA-IWCL donates wooden instrument to Debeli Rtič refugee centre.
Photo: Bojan Kralj/STA

The Debeli Rtič refugee centre at the seaside has unveiled a new addition to its playground. The 28 Ukrainian children staying there will be able to pass time by playing an outdoor wooden percussion instrument donated by the International Women's Club Ljubljana (SILA IWCL).

Last year International Women's Club Ljubljana held a charity concert in Ljubljana that many foreign diplomats attended. They raised funds for Ukrainian refugees and allocated them in agreement with the Slovenian Philanthropy and the Government Office for the Support and Integration of Migrants.

They chose a musical instrument "to spread the melody of friendship everywhere," SILA IWCL president Lali S. Ilic said as the instrument was presented to the public on 17 January. The instrument has a wooden frame with many accessories that emit different sounds when tapped.

This will enrich the children's outdoor activities and help them make friends, said Vesna Krošlin Grlj from the Slovenian Philanthropy, who volunteers at the centre daily. "They will be able to make new friends when other children come for swimming at Debeli Rtič," she said.

Most days they organise games and other activities for children and prepare performances. The children also performed at the presentation of the instrument.

Krošlin Grlj is one of three volunteers who help Ukrainian children at the Ankaran primary school. She noted that the cooperation between the Slovenian Philanthropy and the government office has been perfect.

The municipality of Ankaran "opened its doors wide, not only for accommodation but also the school, kindergarten and social inclusion of the [refugee] children," said Ankaran Mayor Gregor Strmčnik. Currently, 25 children attend primary school in Ankaran, two are enrolled in kindergarten and one in high school in Koper.

With 95 refugees, 28 of which are children, the Debeli Rtič refugee centre is at full capacity. There are practically no new arrivals from Ukraine, said Katarina Štrukelj, director of the Government Office for the Support and Integration of Migrants. Some families have already returned to safe areas in their country.


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