On Friday, 13 December 2019, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Mrs. Marianna V. Vardinoyannis visited the children staying at the Lyreion Children’s Institute.

Mrs Vardinoyannis visited the nearly 50 children staying at the Lyreion Children’s Institute shortly before Christmas, to wish them happy holidays.

The children had prepared a musical welcome for Mrs Vardinoyannis, singing Christmas carols from Crete and “Holy Night”, which moved everyone present.

The Vice-President of the Institute, Abbess Maria, welcomed Mrs Vardinoyannis: “It is a great joy to have Mrs Vardinoyannis visit us.  She is someone who has been there for us from the first day after the destructive fires.  Now that the children are back home, she has come to visit us and wish us happy holidays.  For her love and contribution, we thank her warmly.”

After that, Mrs Vardinoyannis wanted to share with the children one of her favourite stories, which demonstrates the value of contribution and love for our fellow human beings: The Happy Prince by Oscar Wilde.  

“I hope that these holy days of Christmas will find you healthy, smiling and strong, going on with your life.  Life is not always easy, and I promise to stand by your side.  Never stop following your dreams.  My advice to you, beyond knowledge, which is always necessary, is to always have your heart full of love.  Several of you are already students, but I am sure that this story I shared with you will touch your heart, as it did mine.  It is a story about the joy of giving, the priceless value of solidarity and friendship.  Every time I read it, I feel endless warmth fill my soul, and I would like to share this warmth with you today,” Mrs Vardinoyannis said, addressing the children, who attentively listened to the story.

With Santa Claus’ help, Mrs Vardinoyannis then handed out gifts to all the children, putting smiles of joy on their faces.  A small celebration followed, with treats and sweets for everyone.

It should be noted that MOTOR OIL undertook the reconstruction of the Lyreion Children’s Institute after the destructive fires of 2018.  Specifically, MOTOR OIL undertook the full renovation of the Zanneio Institute in Kifissia, where the children were initially accommodated.  At the same time, MOTOR OIL restored the grounds of the Institute, which had been completely devastated by the fires, while the works for restoring the buildings destroyed by the fire are expected to begin soon.  MOTOR OIL has also donated heating oil to the Institute.