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THE MARY FOUNDATION SENDS BACKPACKS TO CHILDREN TAKING UP NEW CRISIS CENTRE PLACES

More children are arriving at crisis centres with their mothers during the coronavirus crisis. The Mary Foundation and LOKK (National Organisation of Crisis Centres for Women) are now sending out backpacks to these children. The backpacks contain toiletries, a teddy bear and a note from Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Mary of Denmark.

The coronavirus crisis is affecting everyone in our society. It has also triggered a marked increase in the number of women who turn to a crisis centre as a result of experiencing domestic violence. And LOKK anticipates that this number will continue to rise in the coming weeks.

That’s why 55 new emergency places are currently being established for women and their children, where needed. A few crisis centres have already expanded their facilities to include new temporary places.

The Mary Foundation is now sending backpacks to children who will be staying in these crisis centres with their mothers. The situation is often chaotic when mothers and children leave their home to move into a crisis centre, and many children arrive with few personal effects. The backpacks therefore contain toiletries, a teddy bear for the younger children, school supplies and a diary for the older children. Each bag also includes a note to the child from the Crown Princess.

“It’s cruel that the current coronavirus crisis is causing more women to feel compelled to use crisis centres. We know that stress and pressure can lead to more violence in a relationship. And when the rest of society is in lockdown, many women and children are forced to endure the violence on a continual basis. We are clearly seeing the consequence of this situation now. That’s why the establishment of emergency places to enable more women and children to escape the violence is a positive development. Our aim with the backpacks is to show the children that we care and that the violence is never their fault and can never be justified,” said HRH Crown Princess Mary of Denmark.

“The basic idea behind the backpack and its contents has always been to meet the child’s practical needs. Through the years, it’s become clear that the backpack has a deeper meaning and brings more joy than we had anticipated. Today, the backpack also helps support the important work the crisis centres carry out in helping the children to process their feelings, experiences and traumas. That’s why it’s important for us to get the backpacks out to those children who are now taking up the new emergency places with their mothers,” said Helle Østergaard, Director of The Mary Foundation.

“We know that the children are very fond of the backpacks. They are a wonderful gift at a difficult time. The crisis centres use the backpacks as part of their social and care-related work with the children. The children are not only given a backpack – it also provides an opportunity to talk about both positive and difficult issues and gives the child space to talk about what matters to them at that moment. We greatly appreciate that the children who take up the new provisional emergency places are given this gift during a chaotic time in their lives,” said Trine Lund-Jensen, Executive Secretary of LOKK.

In addition to the backpacks provided for the new emergency places, more backpacks have also been sent to other crisis centres needing backpacks.

Facts

  • Since 2008, more than 25,000 children have received a backpack.
  • The backpacks are designed to suit the child’s gender and age.
  • The backpacks are packed once a year by former LEGO employees.
  • Gyldendal sponsors the books packed in the backpacks.
  • In addition to toiletries, a teddy bear and school supplies, the backpacks also contain a note from the Crown Princess that also invites the children to send a message or picture in return. Every week, The Mary Foundation receives messages from children who write about what they like most about their new backpack.
  • The Mary Foundation has been sending backpacks to children in crisis centres in collaboration with Ole Kirk’s Foundation and LOKK (National Organisation of Crisis Centres for Women) since 2008.
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