Portrait of a boy playing accordion in the garden...A Latvian child holding a cat
This is a story about how children from Tomilino were given the chance to enjoy sport as part of a SOS delegation in 2007:
SOS Children's Villages has been working in Russia since 1992, when construction work for the first SOS Children's Village in Russia started in Moscow's Tomilino district. The first families moved into their new houses at SOS Children's Village Tomilino in spring 1996. Up to 77 children can find a new home in the eleven family houses of the village. The SOS Youth Facility Tomilino has been operational since autumn 2002. It consists of three flats which can take in up to 38 youths. In total there are four SOS Children's Villages, three SOS Youth Facilities and three SOS Social Centres in Russia.
Children and youths from the SOS Children's Village and SOS Youth Facility Tomilino in Moscow took advantage of the fact that Russia's capital hosted the Ice Hockey World Championship 2007. They got the opportunity to watch two games.
The Sports and Entertainment Committee of the Moscow Government had provided SOS Children's Villages Russia with free tickets for the Preliminary Round game between Switzerland and Latvia on 28 April and for the Relegation Round game between Latvia and Austria on 6 May. Children and youths from the SOS Children's Village and the SOS Youth Facility Tomilino benefited from the donation in kind and spent an intense time in the ice hockey stadium.
After having witnessed Switzerland's 2-1 win over Latvia in the Arena Khodynka, 20 SOS children and youths were ecstatic. "Wow! What a cool game! And the players are tough guys!" one of the boys shouted. "This was the first time they visited an ice hockey match, and it was particularly great for them to watch a World Championship match - at the highest level," an educator who accompanied them related happily.
Although some of them have attended football matches before, the children and youths were surprised by the intenseness of emotions acted out by the spectators and especially by the players. "Watching the big screens, we were able to see the expressions on the players' faces in this or that complicated situation clearly. One could really see and feel how they struggled for victory," a boy said.
The second game attended by an 'SOS delegation' was played eight days later in the same arena. The children and youths supported the Austrian team "because Austria is the country SOS Children's Villages originates from", as one of them explained. Although they did not see their favourites win (Latvia thrashed Austria 5-1), they were happy about having had the opportunity to watch world-class ice hockey at close quarters.