UNIAN, Kyiv, Ukraine,
Thursday, December 22, 2005

KYIV – Austrian children have given 20 thousand presents to Zakarpattia residents. According to an UNIAN correspondent, the 40-ton humanitarian cargo arrived in Zakarpattia in 50 micro-buses. The gifts included candies, school stationery, and toys.

On the St.Nicholas Day, celebrated in Ukraine on 19 December, Austrian volunteers gave gifts to children in the villages of Tiachivski district (on the whole, in 34 schools). In these villages, there live descendants of the families, which resettled from Austria to Zakarpattia more than 200 years ago.

The action was prepared by two volunteers from Austria, who are passing a 14-months civil service in the school of Ust Chorna village. For this service, they are relieved of the liability for military service in their native Austria.

Otto Gumpinger, member of the parliament of the Higher Austria and chief of charitable action “One World – Higher Austria’s Aide to Compatriots”, who personally accompanied the humanitarian cargo, informed that more than a hundred of Austrians expressed a desire to arrive in Ukraine and distribute the presents in schools and children’s homes. According to him, this action unites many people and makes appositive contribution into the development of a single Europe.

The delegation also included the president of the Higher Austrian parliament, the Mayor of Sankt-Oswald city, school directors from the Higher Austria, and 120 Austrian volunteers. Ambassador of Ukraine to Austria Volodymyr Yelchenko helped to deliver the cargo to Ukraine.

Top deputy chairman of the Zakarpattia Oblast State Administration Mykhailo Popovych thanked on behalf of local residents to the Austrian delegation for their attention to the Zakarpattia children, and expressed readiness to broaden ties with the Higher Austria not only in the humanitarian sphere.

According to him, presently 35 joint Ukrainian-Austrian companies are operating in the Zakarpattia Oblast. During the year 2005, the turnover between these companies made up 100 million dollars. The Austrian delegation left for their motherland on 21 December. -30-

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