Beslan survivors visit Slovakia

MORE than 60 children whose lives have been scarred by a horrific tragedy spent two weeks of fun and healing in Slovakia this month.
The children were injured during the massacre at Beslan School No. 1 in Russia nearly three years ago. For the first half of August, they went sightseeing, visited mountain resorts, and played sports and games at a camp in Ružomberok.

Children from Beslan holidayed in Slovakia this month.
photo: TASR

MORE than 60 children whose lives have been scarred by a horrific tragedy spent two weeks of fun and healing in Slovakia this month.

The children were injured during the massacre at Beslan School No. 1 in Russia nearly three years ago. For the first half of August, they went sightseeing, visited mountain resorts, and played sports and games at a camp in Ružomberok.

At the same time as the Beslan students were in Slovakia, 65 Slovak children from orphanages in Ružomberok, Istebné, and Liptovský Hrádok travelled to Camp Kratovo near Moscow.

"We think it's a great opportunity for these children to enjoy their summer, make new friends and get to know each other's cultures," said Ivan Molev, press attaché for the Russian embassy in Bratislava, told The Slovak Spectator.

The Beslan school was invaded by Chechen rebels on September 1, 2004. By the time the siege was over, nearly 350 people were killed, most of them children.

Since then, a charitable fund of the Centre of Russian National Glory has organised trips abroad for these children, in partnership with a children's charity called Rasprav Krilja (Spread Your Wings). The goal is to help the children recover from the trauma of the terrorist attacks, the centre's website says.

The trip to Slovakia, which lasted from August 1 to August 14, was arranged by Milan Filo, president of the Slovak Eco-Invest company, and Russian Railways president Vladimir Ivanovic Yakunin, the TASR newswire reported.

The Russian embassy also took the Beslan children on a tour of Bratislava, and the Slovak government provided one of its planes to fly the children between Bratislava and Moscow, Molev said.

The Slovak children in Russia enjoyed similar activities at the Camp Kratovo wellness camp. They also visited the Kremlin, the Moscow Circus and other sights, according to a press release from the Centre of Russian National Glory.

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