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Russian Federation: A Rehabilitation Centre for Families is Opened in Beslan

© UNICEF/2006/Russia/Vano Vazagov/
A group photo of the attendees of the opening inside the centre. In the centre of the group there is one character of the human interest story forwarded to you. It is Marik, 10, who has been taken hostage. His cousin Hetag wrote a story about him. He is i

by Bela Tsugaeva

Beslan 29 March 2006: UNICEF has opened a Family Centre in Beslan jointly with the Ministry of Education and Science of North Ossetia and with the support of French, German and Italian contributions.

The Beslan tragedy had a profound psychological effect on parents and, 18 months later, it still hinders their ability to help with the rehabilitation of the children who survived. Many families are unable to provide the kind of environment these children need. The new Family Centre in Beslan will help to improve the psychological state of the families as a whole, as well as help in their reintegration into the wider community.

“The main objective of the centre is to assist families, mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles and others in Beslan to recover and to help their children,” said Carel de Rooy, UNICEF Area Representative in the Russian Federation and Belarus, during the opening ceremony. “We do hope that colleagues from other republics in the North Caucasus will come to see this experiment and learn from its successes.” he added.

The official opening ceremony of the Family Centre brought together top officials from the North Ossetian Government, H.E. Jean Cadet, the French Ambassador to Russia, and his wife, and Mme. Florence Shaal, a journalist from TF1 in France, who wrote a book about the tragedy and played an active role in mobilizing resources in France for the creation of the centre.

“I have a message to share with you on behalf of the people of France,”said Ambassador Cadet, “They asked me to express their solidarity with the people of Beslan and to tell you that they also feel deep pain and sorrow for what happened to those children, family members, friends and others who died during those tragic days.”

The Ambassador also expressed his appreciation of UNICEF: “We support and respect the work of UNICEF and welcome the creation of the Family Centre. We have good cooperation with UNICEF and joint projects worldwide and hope to have more in the future,” he said.

The delegation also met the Head of the North Ossetia Government, Mr. Mamsurov, who assured that the Government of North Ossetia would do everything possible to support the work of the Family Centre and encouraged the families of Beslan to visit it.

The dignitaries also visited the Committee of Mothers of Beslan, women who lost their children on that terrible day. One mother explained how women have been too traumatized to have further children but they welcomed the idea of the Centre and expressed their hope that it might help many young women decide to have children again.

© UNICEF/2006/Russia/Vano Vazagov/
Taken inside school #1 by Vano Vazagov, 16, a young journalist from Beslan, trained to photography by UNICEF. On the photo: French Ambassador and his wife in school #1.

The delegation also visited Beslan school number one where the tragedy took place, the cemetery of the victims of the school siege, where the Ambassador and his wife laid a wreath at the foot of the Tree of Sorrows. The wreath had a black ribbon with the words “From the people of France” inscribed on it. Then all the members of the delegation laid flowers on the graves of the children.



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