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    Open Day for 2,000 children from poor backgrounds at Pairi Daiza

    © Belga

    Two thousand children from poor backgrounds will roam the pathways of the Pairi Daiza free of charge on Saturday, thanks to a partnership between the park and the Association Arc-en-Ciel, which has been striving since 1954 to provide children in difficulty with access to leisure activities.

    Access to leisure activities, despite their importance for a child’s development, is far from guaranteed for all young people. “Many parents from poor backgrounds find it impossible to pay for leisure activities for their children, a problem also faced by institutions where children are placed in residential care,” said Arc-en-ciel Coordinator Thibaut de Radiguès, stressing that access to leisure activities is a fundamental right.

    The children will make acquaintance with the park’s many gorillas, pandas, giraffes and orangutans,  risk jumping in surprise at the roars of the lions or the trumpeting of the elephants, and will be able to play a game requiring them to answer a series of questions on the animals throughout the day.

    A show involving birds of prey is scheduled for the afternoon.

    The initiative, which comes from Arc-en-ciel , is the fruit of years of collaboration with the Pairi Daiza Park: “a generous gesture that brings pleasure to the daily lives of these youths and has a very positive impact on their development,” the non-profit organisation, which links close to 370 youth associations catering for over 25,000 children, said on Friday in a press release.

    In addition to the Open Day at Pairi Daiza, the Association also organises the collection of food, toys and school material, stayover trips, leisure days and training for facilitators.

    Oscar Schneider
    The Brussels Times