Madam Ilves, Mr. Chancellor of Justice, honoured guests, Ladies and Gentlemen.
I have been very much looking forward to my visit to Estonia and to hear and experience more about your work against bullying. For me and all of us at The Mary Foundation and Save the Children Denmark, it is with joy and satisfaction that the programme Free of Bullying is now supporting the creation of environments where children can thrive and feel save to be themselves, not only in Denmark, but here in Estonia as well.
I would like to start with a brief introduction to The Mary Foundation and how the programme Free of Bullying came about.
It is now almost 10 years ago that the Crown Prince and I got married. As a wedding gift the people of Denmark and Greenland collected one million Danish kroner and gave it to us together with the idea that it could go towards setting up my own foundation. This thoughtful gift became the first spark of inspiration to a vision from which a different kind of foundation would grow. It enabled me to fulfill a desire to give something back to society by making a difference to the many people who find themselves alone in the world.
The Mary Foundation’s vision is to fight social isolation based on the concept that “everyone has the right to belong”. Child or adult, we all have a deep and basic need for contact and relations with other people – a need to feel valued and to be an accepted part of a community. Without the chance to share our thoughts, our feelings, and our lives with other people, we simply fall apart inside.
But what is social isolation?
Social isolation goes against our very nature, because our need to belong is just as basic as our need for food, water and safety. Social isolation is often associated with other problems – such as bullying and violence – both as a cause and as an effect. One could say that social isolation is part of a vicious circle. But essentially, social isolation is about feeling completely alone.
Loe edasi siit!