Humanitarian Mission in Favour of Children from Beslan

Project location: RUSSIAN FEDERATION, Beslan, Ossezia
Project start date: October 2004 - Project end date: November 2004
Project number: 2004-26

In 2004 the Nando Peretti Foundation awarded a grant to the "Sempre Insieme per la Pace" Association, in order to support its humanitarian operations in favour of the community of Beslan, in the Russian Federation, following the grave attack by Islamic terrorists in early September of the same year.

The Beslan school hostage crisis, as it has become known, began on 1 September 2004, when a group of armed Islamic terrorists took more than 1,100 people (including 777 children) hostage, at School Number One in the town of Beslan, North Ossetia, an autonomous republic in the North Caucasus region of the Russian Federation. On the third day of the hostage crisis, Russian security forces stormed the building, using tanks, incendiary rockets, and other heavy weapons. A series of explosions shook the school, followed by a fire which engulfed the building and a chaotic gunbattle between the hostage-takers and Russian security forces. Ultimately, at least 334 hostages were killed, including 186 children; hundreds more were injured and many were reported missing.

Immediately after this tragic episode, and thanks to the prompt NPF support, "Sempre Insieme per la Pace" started to gather humanitarian aid to be sent to Beslan, with the aim of encouraging and favouring the return to normality of the local community. In particular, the Association wanted to offer a concrete help to the children, for a fast, and positive restarting of the school year. Moreover,"Sempre Insieme per la Pace" and the Nando Peretti Foundation, sharing the same sensibility that in the past had led the two organisations help numerous people in need, found important to be near and to encourage the numerous families who had suffered because of this tragic event.

First of all the Association "Sempre Insieme per la Pace" invited its usual sponsors to offer their support to answer to this emergency at best. School equipment, educational games, winter clothes, shoes, foodstuff (especially biscuits, snacks and fruit-juices) constituted the majority of the humanitarian cargo. Other goods were also gathered for the population, with a special attention paid to the needs of the people personally involved in the tragic event.

In order to store the goods to be shipped to Beslan, an extra store was rented, as the one usually used by the Sempre Insieme per la Pace Association, was already filled with the humanitarian aid to be distributed to the Italian Institutes. It is worth nothing that all the products bought for the Beslan humanitarian mission were paid at prices decidedly lower than those charged at retail.

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