Help for victims of natural disasters

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After the Tsunami we decided to try and raise some money to help the children who were aff ected. A traditional way of raising money in countries like Great Britain and America is to hold a spelling competition, sometimes it is called a ”spelling bee“ or a spell-a-thon.
The children of AKCENT International House Prague were all given a list of English words to learn. Then they went and got sponsorship for the number of words they could spell correctly. A week or so later they took the test and then collected the money. We were very pleased with their eff ort and the amount of money they raised. It was fantastic!

Recently, AKCENT IH Prague contributed to the Tsunami relief fund a total of 34, 944 Czech Koruna which together with an equal contribution from the students totaled 69,888 CZK.

On Friday December 24th 2004, a new kindergarten in the village of Kamala in Phuket, Thailand was opened with great celebration.. At the time the school was being opened with the ceremonial cutting of the tape in the presence of local representatives, Buddhist priests and a Moslem Imam, no one suspected that the first day of school would also be the last. One hundred and sixty-seven pupils at the kindergarten would sit down on their little chairs only once. The following Sunday, a huge, destructive wave leveled the new school situated about thirty meters from the seashore. In Kamala, 97 people lost their lives of which 2 were kindergarten pupils. In was a matter of good luck that the tsunami struck on a Sunday as the school was not occupied that day. An employee of ADRA, Czech Republic made a visit to the area as early as January 4th, 2005 to monitor reconstruction. He was surprised to see that the two remaining schools were very busy with people working to rebuild. ADRA’s representative met with the director of the school and representatives of the local authority who were in charge of the building’s reconstruction and offered financial assistance in rebuilding the kindergarten. At that time, no one was sure that a new kindergarten would be built in the same location. Many local people were against constructing a new school so close to the shoreline. It was considered too dangerous and most people, especially the mothers of the children, were naturally concerned about a repeat event. In the end, it was the voices of the mothers who most influenced the decision of the local authorities to build a new kindergarten at a higher level just beyond the village.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Cyril Svoboda, visited Kamala in March and went to see the chosen site. He saw that life was becoming normal again. The area outside the makeshift but inadequate kindergarten was throbbing with life. The construction of the new children’s school according to the new plans began at full strength in June. A rough construction of the new building that will include 10 classrooms should be ready in the autumn. The total cost is estimated to be less than three million Czech Crowns. Everyone is preparing for a gala opening and director Preecha Puenrak said that thanks to the help of ADRA, the pupils will know more about the Czech Republic than just the names of its football players. Mr. Puenrak continued that the name of the Czech Republic had become a synonym of the word ‘help’. ” We appreciate your help” he said.

ADRA Czech Republic thinks very highly of the assistance provided by Czech citizens. With the trust and financial support for the reconstruction  of these devastated areas, the local citizens of Kamala have a new kindergarten.

Jan Bárta
Executive Director ADRA Czech Republic 

We cooperate with Committee of Good Will – The Olga Havel Foundation

Acknowledgements from Committee of Good Will – The Olga Havel Foundation [JPG, 75 kB] 

Report: Children from children’s homes were learning foreign languages during their holiday.

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Committee of Good Will – The Olga Havel Foundation cooperated with AKCENT International House Prague on organizing 3rd summer school of English and German for children from children’s homes during holiday. Financial backing for the project called Stříbrný groš was raised by ČSOB. Instead of having their Christmas cards printed, they sent via electronic mail to their clients children’s drawings and they donated the difference to the foundation

50 children, who were between 13 and 15 years old, participated in the course in Prague, other 8 younger children are going to the summer camp in the Orlicke mountains.

AKCENT International House Prague can understand children. Its teachers, both Czech and native, are open to them. They use interactive teaching methods and they provide children with practical knowledge of language very fast. „I have learnt in this course what I haven’t learnt at school in 7 years.“, one participant commented the standard of teaching.

The children come from all over the country: Boršov nad Vltavou, Česka Kamenice, Česka Lípy, Dubé-Deštné, Hory Sv. Kateřiny, Karvina, Kašperskýe Hory, Liptál, Litoměřice, Mašťova Mikulov, Most, Nepomuk, Olomouc, Ostrov, Písek, Potštejn, Příbor, Radenín, Senožaty, Solenice, Uhersky Ostroh, Ústí nad Labem a Vranova.

Committee of Good Will – The Olga Havel Foundation sent dictionaries and small presents to the children that were not chosen to participate in the project.

„It is one of the best projects that our foundation supports, “ says Jarmila Vernerová, the coordinator of the project Stříbrný groš. „Language education helps the children from children’s home improve their self-confidence and attitude “.

Report given by:

MUDr. Milena Černá
Director of Committee of Good Will – The Olga Havel Foundation

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Report: Children from Children’s Homes are going to Germany and Britain

Committee of Good Will – The Olga Havel Foundation  – would like to inform you that in July 2007   11 children  from Children’s Homes took part in a summer German language course in Freiburg and 11 children left in August for the British Torquay to study English. This was sponsored by Spolek přátel a podporovatelů VDV in Berlin (The Association of Friends and Supporters of DVD in Berlin), Nadace ČEZ (ČEZ Foundation), AKCENT International House Prague and ČSOB.

An important prerequisite of the choice of children was their interest in the language study. Children stay with families to be able to get to know their peers´ background in Germany and in Britain for at least two weeks. Letní škola jazyků (The Summer School of Languages) has been organized by Committee of Good Will – The Olga Havel Foundation along with AKCENT International House Prague language school for the third time this year and for the first time for children studying German. It is important for these children to initiate conversation of understanding and cooperation for their future trips to European Union countries.
The report is given by: Pavla Kovářová, Committee of Good Will – The Olga Havel Foundation  coordinator

We have adopted a giant tortoise in Prague’s ZOO

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The tortoise that we have adopted is called Tony, it’s a male. He was probably born around 1960: when he came to Köln am Rein in 1972 it could be estimated by his weight and size that he was about 10 years old. He has been in the ZOO in Prague since 1995.
Normally weighing between 70 and 75 kg, he is the lightest tortoise in Prague’s ZOO.
Tony is interesting because he belongs to species of giant tortoises with so called “saddle” type of shell. These animals live in the Galapagos Islands on relatively small islands or in low dry parts of bigger ones. As their environment is dry and there are not many plants on the ground, the shell formed behind the head. This helps them, together with their smaller weight, eat lower parts of tree-like cactuses, which form the main part of their diet. They can reach as high as 150 cm. Wetter areas of the islands are inhabited by tortoises with a round type of shell. These find their food on the ground. The tortoise with “saddle” shell is usually rarer, because they have been more vulnerable to human hunters. Dr. Pritchard, the greatest living expert on tortoises from the Galapagos speculates that Tony is one of last two surviving males of the tortoise’s population from the island Pinta. Their Latin name is Geochelone abingdonii.

Petr Velenský
Reptile curator Prague’s ZOO