“Saulute” Sends $96,300 in Aid to Lithuania in 2020

More work ahead for 2021

“Saulute” Sends $96,300 in Aid to Lithuania in 2020

published in Draugas News January 5, 2021

“Saulute” Sends $96,300 in Aid to Lithuania

Looking back at 2020, Sunlight Orphan Aid for Lithuania (“Saulute”) experienced a year like no other. Given restrictions on gatherings, many of Saulute’s normal activities were curtailed. The organization and its members were not deterred and embraced the opportunity to think of creative ways to fundraise. Saulute hosted small group cooking classes, an outdoor fall festival and a virtual Christmas bazaar. Thanks to the member’s creativity and the generosity of its supporters, Saulute was able to send $96,300 in aid to Lithuania in 2020.

This past year’s contributions supported several unique projects in Lithuania. To enable children to access remote learning, $30,000 was sent to Lithuania to purchase 71 laptops for children without computers. In addition, Saulute financed the construction of a water well for a family living with an autistic child. Moreover, $10,000 were donated to Mosedzio High School to construct a Special Education room for children with disabilities. Contributions also resulted in over 100 children being sponsored through Saulute’s Sponsor a Child program.

Saulute would like to thank Ramune Rackauskas. Ramune served as Treasurer for Saulute for over 20 years. Saulute is grateful for her years of meticulous efforts and devotion. Ramune’s role will be filled by Ale Lelis. We are grateful to both women for their work and dedication.

Saulute’s members would also like to congratulate Arturas Zilys on his new role in Lithuania and with Saulute. Arturas Zilys was previously the director to the Lithuanian World Center, the largest Lithuanian cultural center outside of Lithuania. Arturas now represents the Lithuanian American Community in the Lithuanian “Seimas” and volunteered to be Saulute’s authorized representative in Lithuania overseeing and suggesting projects for the organization to support.

In 2021, we remember that our work is not done. This year, we will continue to plan fun and unique small group fundraisers. Our intention is to further support Mosedzio High School’s Special Education Department by providing funds, instructional materials and equipment to further develop the school’s special education program.

As we look ahead to the future, we are reminded of the organization’s beginning. Saulute was founded in 1993 by Indre Tijunelis. What began as an effort to help one child, flourished into an organization that supported countless children and communities in Lithuania. Decades later, we witnessed the first generation of children supported by Sunlight Orphan Aid for Lithuania (“Saulute”) Sponsor a Child program graduate from higher education institutions, start businesses, have families of their own and even sponsor other children within the program. We thank Indre Tijunelis, Ramune Rackauskas, Raminta Marchertas, Laime Braune, Janina Nalis, Ausra Saulis and many others for their contributions to the founding of Saulute.

Those who are interested in learning more about Saulute, upcoming fundraising events, or the Sponsor a Child program please visit our website at www.sunlightorphanaid.org. In the words of Mother Teresa, “Together we can do great things.”

Daina Siliunas & Lina Smilgiene Co-Chairs

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