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Christkindl aus der Schuhschachtel - Auf in die Ukraine

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A Christmas help-organisation trip to Ukraine

This is a special Christmas story. Its about the idea to do something full of meaning at Christmas for poor people in the far away country Ukraine, that are still Austrians. The aid-organisation Landlerhilfe, which has a special Christmas-action called "Christkind aus der Schuhschachtel" organised this trip to Ukraine already for the 9th time. It works like this that children from Austria take a shoebox and give presents in side, like toilet-articles, unused toys or candies. The pupils and teachers of Steyr collected about 400 "Christmas-Shoe-boxes" which is an outstanding number of boxes! I want to thank everybody who acted here!
With friends from the Media-School-Hagenberg I organised the transport-trucks and we started our journey to Ukraine, where we brought over 17 thousand of those boxes from Upper Austria with other 60 transporters in a convoy to poor children and pupils in the "Theresiantal", a region, where poor former Austrians live since the time of empress Maria Theresa.
Together we went through Hungary and crossed the borders to Ukraine, after waiting for hours at the country borders and duty. The surroundings of the Carpathian mountains in Ukraine through which we moved was beautiful. Though whenever we passed villages on our way children came to ask for candies and presents and we always found something to give.

In the Austrian village Königsfeld we were welcome very warm-hearted by the population. For the next two days we gave away the travelling presents from our school to the schools in the region. We gave one headmaster of school a big box with pencils and he was very happy about that. Some pupils can't even afford neither pencils nor paper to write on. In Kindergarten little children got present boxes and it was cute to watch carry colourful boxes on the everywhere through the streets. The most emotional experience was our visit in the disabled-kids-home. These children hardly get love–casted out of the Ukraine society – so the little time we spent time with them,
played or opened presents for them maybe was the most valuable present we could give.

We made the experience that it is not just nice to give "something" - maybe a thing that a person even does not need, but if you give something then it also means something to both emotionally. This is the most real present you can give, because of the real meaning - to make somebody happy. Everybody could think if it is meaningful how people celebrate their days of peace with consuming. Most of us have almost everything they need and still we are asked to make more shopped presents. Instead I wish you to take a look around yourself and maybe you can do something helpful in your surroundings.

I wish you as well a SENSE-FULL time of peace and keep your eyes and heart open to do something good in this world to a person who might need it.
You get back something
beautiful for sure.
Thomas Haunschmid


Mag. Elisabeth Gebert


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