Ukrainian charity centre opens in Ljubljana

Ljubljana – A Ukrainian charity centre was inaugurated in Ljubljana’s BTC retail park on Tuesday to provide Ukrainian refugees with assistance, material aid and a place to socialise and study.

The Chervona Kalyna Centre was created in a bid to “give refugees a place to meet and learn, and feel at home,” its head Natalya Markevych said.

The centre, located on the underground floor of the Emporium store at BTC City, is where refugees from Ukraine can get clothing, footwear, school necessities, toys as well as basic information about life in Slovenia, and where they can socialise, study and take part in workshops.

Involving more than 25 volunteers from Ukraine, the centre is named after red viburnum, a berries-carrying shrub well known in Ukraine that for the refugees symbolises a link with the homeland.

The centre is the product of cooperation of the Ukrainian embassy in Slovenia, Slovenian Caritas and BTC, the company operating the retail park, which has provided the premises free of charge.

Peter Tomažič, secretary general of Slovenian Caritas, expects the centre to become a place where adults will get help and where children can socialise, learn and play.

According to Tomažič, the Catholic charity is providing material aid to more than 1,200 refugees from Ukraine. The charity has called for donations of school and sports accessories and gear and games.

“At BTC we demonstrated our sense of community and humanness and have supported Caritas’s efforts to help Ukrainian refugees who have found shelter in Slovenia,” BTC official Miha Mermal said.