Parliamentary speaker visits Ukrainian children in Postojna

Postojna – National Assembly Speaker Urška Klakočar Zupančič visited on Friday the children from a Luhansk orphanage who are temporarily staying in the village of Slavina near Postojna. She said she would strive for their integration and for securing additional staff to help their Ukrainian guardians.

She said she expected the new government to adopt the necessary regulation to provide more staff as soon as possible as the “people who came here with these children from Ukraine are traumatised.”

“These people have been through horrors and have been torn away from their families and their close ones, some even from their children,” she said.

She also said the government should provide the necessary financial support to the staff that will be working with the children and the necessary medical care to the children.

“It’s also important that they are immediately integrated among other children from the area. They must not be separated,” she said.

The 20 children, aged between one and six, are staying in a refurbished former school building in Slavina in the south-west of the country. They are accompanied by eight nurses, three doctors and their six children.

The orphanage they came from was in Sievierodonetsk in East Ukraine, where heavy fighting is currently under way.

Director of the orphanage Katerina Dontsova too asked for more staff while thanking the Slovenian government for accepting the orphans.

“We have ten teachers and 20 children, including some with special needs (…) Staff provides for them 24 hours a day, which is very exhausting, so the most important thing for us right now would be if Slovenia could help us by providing people, staff,” she said.

Klakočar Zupančič would also like the migration policy to change, especially regarding under-aged persons who have to stay at crowded asylum centres. “These are people who have been left with nothing and should feel free in a democratic country. And this is my task,” she said.

Dontsova said the children had been upset by the military planes flying over Slavina, which is close to Slovenia’s main training grounds Poček, as they survived several air strikes during which they needed to run to a shelter. She said they were telling them these planes did not carry bombs and were nice planes.

Sandi Curk, commander of civil protection of the Notranjska region, said that before an international military exercise started a senior army official had stopped by to warn them, so they would not be frightened.

Today’s visitors brought notebooks, coloured pencils and food for the children, who have been warmly welcomed by the local community.