Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Swiss Solidarity fundraising for famine victims in Africa

The UN reports that the largest humanitarian crisis since the Second World War is unfolding in Africa. Swiss Solidarity and its partner relief organizations has launched an appeal for donations and 1m Swiss francs has already been raised. Today (11th March) Swiss Solidarity and the Swiss Broadcasting Company (SRG SSR) has organised a major fundraising 24 hour campaign to help the victims of famine in Africa.

The national fundraising day is being organized by Swiss Solidarity and the Swiss Broadcasting Company (SRG SSR) and is supported by Swiss Solidarity’s partner relief organizations, an association of private radio stations (‘Privatradios pro Gl├╝ckskette’), and other private media outlets. Numerous fundraising events have also been organized by the public.

From 6am this morning until midnight, more than 300 volunteers in four SRG SSR studios in Zurich, Chur, Lugano and Geneva will receive donation pledges via telephone.

Swiss Solidarity's partner relief organizations are already operating in Africa, but there is not enough money to continue their work in helping the local population. In South Sudan, where access to the worst hit regions is severely restricted, HEKS, Medair, Caritas Switzerland, the Swiss Red Cross and Terre des hommes – helping children worldwide are providing emergency relief to several thousand people, distributing food, water and medical aid. In Somalia, where the situation has deteriorated recently owing to a cholera epidemic, Save the Children, ADRA and Medair are providing relief. In Nigeria, Save the Children is helping large groups of refugees, using individual sums given by Swiss Solidarity.

Ways to make a donation:
  • Online at www.swiss-solidarity.org
  • Via your mobile with the Swiss Solidarity app
  • With post office account 10-15000-6 (with the text “Famine”) 
  • With Swiss Solidarity payment also available at all post offices. 
  • On Twitter you can also raise money simply by retweeting #SwissSolidarityForAfrica with a photograph.

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Join Zurich Children's Libraries for free

@PBZ Sihlcity
My 10-year-old daughter is a prolific reader, in English and German, which I am keen to encourage for as long as I can. However, she much prefers to read in English so we are constantly hunting down ways to get hold of new books she can devour. We love libraries, which thankfully still seem to be very popular here in Switzerland. Poppy has read her way through the local village library and the library at Winterthur so we needed to head somewhere new.

I thought, where will the biggest collection of books be? Surely Zurich’s main library. Boy, was I wrong. Yesterday, we visited said library – on Muhlegasse, just off Neiderdorfstrasse – which was in a beautiful old building. As we made our way in we were stopped at the door by a security lady (who was really sweet and apologetic) and told we had to put our bags in a locker downstairs, which you needed a 2fr for (fortunately there was a change machine) Then my daughters decided they needed the toilet. So after half an hour of faffing around we eventually got inside the library – to find there were no books - immediately evident anyway. There were lots of people reading and studying but the books seemed to be an afterthought. We hunted around a little, climbing many stairs up to the top floor – where we eventually found some books. However by then I felt far too conspicuous with the only two children in the library alongside me and by now we were getting a few slightly irritated looks, so I gave up and sheepishly slinked out again, with two very fed up daughters in tow, muttering about a completely wasted hour. Fortunately I spotted the information desk and asked about children’s books, to be met with an amused smile and told that perhaps the ‘Pestalozzi Bibliothek’ 200 metres down the road would be more suitable.  

So we began another half-hearted hunt – and then up popped the Pestalozzi – formally the PBZ - which is actually a library dedicated to children! And get this - it’s free to join for all children up to the age of 16. (I think there is also an adult section and adults can join for 40fr) The library was down some gorgeous wooden stairs tucked away in a corner, making it feel very secret – and then you arrive in a brightly lit, spacious underground grotto full of books, comics, CDs and films. My daughters LOVE this place. There were books galore – and if there is a particular item that you would like to borrow, you can make a purchase suggestion and the library will consider buying the item - double whammy. There are lots of events taking place throughout the year, including those I have mentioned below.

And best of all – it is one of 14 dotted around the city, including at Sihlcity and Oerlikon – and you can return your books to any one of them. This works out nicely for us as we often visit the cinema at Sihlcity. I highly recommend this place – the English language book section was small but had a good, diverse selection – and of course there are plenty of other libraries we are now able to explore. Happy reading!

Up and coming events at PBZ libraries:

Easter Story, PBZ Sihlcity Mall, Erdgeschoss
For children from 4 years
Date: 15.04.2017
Time: 14.30 und 15.30

Reading in Riesbachs Garten, PBZ Riesbach
12 – to 16 authors can present their own short stories.
Date: 24.06.2017
Time: 2 pm

Parent-Child Coding Course, PBZ Affoltern
Children, together with an adult companion can playfully discover the digital world, creating their own computer or programming a dance figure.
Date: 06.05.2017 to 10.06.2017 (on five Saturdays)
Time: 9am until 10.30am

PBZ library website