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International Christmas Charity Bazaar

Donates more than Lt160,000 to Hospitals and Schools Serving Ill and Disadvantaged Children
When the International Women’s Association of Vilnius assumed co-ordination of the International Christmas Charity Bazaar this year, two operating principles prevailed.
Firstly, the effort should be a collective contribution from the international community of Vilnius toward a deep and meaningful impact on the hardships faced by children. Secondly, responsibility for alleviating those hardships should be shared by all who call Vilnius home, including Lithuanian citizens as well as expatriates engaged in private, government and non-governmental sectors. This way, the result could be sustained.
Though Lithuania is a European Union member, the social welfare and health care systems in the country requires further attention and commitment from various stakeholders if it is to approach standards and benefits enjoyed elsewhere in the EU. One might find a visit to caregiver institutions serving physically or mentally ill or other disadvantaged social groups an astonishment when compared to the newly-acquired allure of Vilnius urban life.
In all, citizens from 26 countries, including Lithuanians, supported the Bazaar. Citizens of these countries produced handmade crafts and sought donations to present national specialties as gifts for visitors. Moreover, visitors found bestselling books in foreign languages at the Book Shop, sampled sweets in a café, took photographs with the original Santa Claus from Lapland by a decorated Christmas tree, and entered competitions to win valuable prizes in a lottery.
 
Enthusiasts. Young artists’ show
 
Enthusiasts is the name of the exhibition currently showing at ŠMC and which opened 15 December. Enthusiasts examines the notion of the debut in relation to contemporary art, pop music, and media culture. It presents more than 20 artists in a way suggestive of producing a new set of friends or a new meeting place, and for most participants it is their debut. Enthusiasts poses the question of whether the art-system should explore, or reflect upon, the star-making system: or leave it well enough alone?
This well attended opening proved popular for its highly interactive displays that engaged the public more than many of the static exhibitions that are the norm in the art world.
We recommend Vilnius residents get to ŠMC whenever possible to see the world-class exhibits and facilities they have in supporting contemporary art and artists in Lithuania. The ŠMC/CAC really is a government initiative that all Lithuanians can be proud of, and sometimes it takes an outsider to tell you that, and we were told by two Finnish artists participating in the exhibition and found out that there was more to their being here than this one exhibition.
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The order of Malta

   
 
The Order of Malta is one of the oldest institutions of Western and Christian civilization, and we were pleasantly surprised to find out that they had a chapter and an embassy here in Lithuania. The Order of Malta are heavily involved in helping the aged and less fortunate in our society, and the work is carried out by a small but active group in Lithuania.
For more information: 56b Gedimino Avenue, Tel: +370 52498604 http://www.maltieciai.lt
 
Finnish bikers bring charity to Lithuania
 
This all started when the first truck delivery of charity goods from Finland came to Lentvaris in June 2004. Following the positive feedback from the children and management of the Lentvaris Children’s Home, on 28 August 2004 a group of Finnish parliamentarians came to Lithuania on their motorcycles from Helsinki to bring more charity to Lithuania. Some Members of the Finnish Parliament’s club MP Arkadia arrived on motorcycles while others took a van and a truck to deliver charity to the children’s home in Lentvaris, near Vilnius. The Finnish parliamentarians also met with their Lithuanian colleagues to discuss transport safety in the Baltic States. The campaign is supported by Finnish Parliamentary Speaker Paavo Lipponen.
Non-MP member of MP Arkadia Mr. Vesa Kokkonen, co-owner of the Restaurant & Catering ‘Literatų svetainė’ met the bikers and led the convoy to Lentvaris. Children had prepared song and dance performances for the visitors, and coffee and cake were served. The orphans were given rides on the bikes and they were allowed to sit on them, so you can imagine the smiles, laughter and joy! It is something I will never forget and that is the best reward anyone doing charity can get.
Vesa Kokkonen is member of MP Arkadia, the Finnish Parliament’s Motorcycle Club, currently living in Vilnius, and proud owner of Honda Shadow VT 1100.
 
 
Events in Vilnius
Vilnius Congress Hall
31 December PREMIERE
19:00 New Year Concert   
Overture-fantasy ROMEO AND JULIET 
20 January
19:00 Symphonic Concert
Dedicated to the 250th birth anniversary of W.A. Mozart 
28 January
12:00 Concert for children BREMEN TOWN MUSICIANS 
Sostine Brass Quintet
   
 
CONTEMPORARY ART CENTRE
Till 15 January
CONSCIOUS, SIMPLE – CONSCIOUSLY SIMPLE
Till 15 January
SUPERNOVA
Till 15 January
PORTRAITS
Till 15 January
INVISIBLE
Special Effects of a Parallel World