Bear Hugs - One Peaceful World: Empowering Youth Internationally to Work Locally

July 18, 2016

EVENT: One Peaceful World: Empowering Youth Internationally to Work Locally
EVENT DATE: SEP 01, 2016

In partnership with Living Peace

Living Peace

When asked to participate with the Bear Hugs project, 1000 Romanian students from "Nicolae Iorga" were more than happy to help. The following story was written by a local reporter and translated for this campaign page. YOU can create a similar event where you live! Contact us or contribute.

"For me it is a great joy to see the reaction of the children who were very open. I had children bring me five or six teddy bears, often their own favorite one. One of them told me, 'This is the bear that I love so very much,' and then I told her that if she loves him so much, she does not have to give away that one and can instead buy one. The child came the next day and said, 'You know, I think I will give this one because he has a soul. A purchased teddy has no soul in it while mine has my soul in it. How can you give a teddy who is soulless?"

This activity has a huge impact on the children who give as it does for the children who receive. It teaches them the joys of giving," shares Rodica Pop. "It teaches them, 'I am because you exist!"

The big break school yard was filled with children taking teddy bears in one hand. Along with teachers, they were arranged in concentric circles, and, in the center, there was a poster and four baskets of white doves, the symbol of peace.

Written on the poster in English was "May peace on Earth PREVAIL - May peace PREVAIL in Syria" (n.r.- Let peace prevail on earth - Let peace prevail in Syria), surrounded by paper poppies made by students. While children and teachers chanting solidarity messages, 45 white doves were launched skyward.

The innocence and joy of children was felt throughout the event. They all lifted plush teddies into the air, happy that they will be reaching another child.

"The toy itself is not important. The toy is a symbol, a bond. I really wanted to stress the idea: 'I exist because you exist.' The lesson that the children have learned today is perhaps the most important of the whole school year. What they did is the crowning for everything they have been taught so far. That's the lesson of the year," concluded Rodica Pop.

1,000 bears for children will be sent to Syrian refugee camps this summer. The action undertaken in the School "Nicolae Iorga" as part of a global initiative.  Other teams around the world are being formed including in Brazil.

If you would like to contribute to the Bear Hugs Fundraiser: click here

If you would like to learn more and start your own Bear Hugs campaign: click here


Want more News from COE? Subscribe to the COE Newsletter: