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First Lady lights Christmas tree, starts charity event

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Prague, Dec 3 (CTK) – Czech First Lady Ivana Zemanova lit a Christmas tree at Prague Castle and started a traditional Christmas charity collection for SOS Children’s Villages Sunday.

The money collected is destined for maltreated, neglected and otherwise endangered children whom the organisation helps.

The charity event is held under the aegis of Zemanova, the wife of President Milos Zeman, for the fifth time this year.

The charity tradition was founded by Irena Svobodova, wife of president Ludvik Sovoboda, in 1968.

After the fall of the communist regime, it was resumed by the wife of president Vaclav Havel, Olga in 1992.

Havel’s second wife Dagmar followed up the tradition, as did Livia Klausova, the wife of Havel’s successor Vaclav Klaus.

The aim of the SOS Children’s Villages is to help endangered children grow up in a loving environment with their own parents or foster parents.

The tradition of children’s villages is more than 45 years old and they are the oldest NGO providing help to endangered children.

Their activities are financed from sponsorship gifts at 75 percent, according to previous information.

A 24-metre high Christmas tree was traditionally lit in Prague’s Old Town Square on Saturday.

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