Since the beginning of the pandemic and all that has followed, I believe I have quoted Fred Rogers a few times.

Here I am, with my trusty Fred Rogers quotation once again:

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster,’ I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realising that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.”

At the time of writing, the war in Ukraine has run over for over one week. Some of you may have heard about it at home, others at school, and some of you may have seen or read, or watched footage of it on social media. Living where we do, in Europe, this war seems very close to home for many of us for a number of reasons. After a mentally and physically exhausting pandemic, the outbreak of war in Europe is not really something that any of us envisioned. Your feelings of confusion are valid and your questions deserve answers. I hope that you will reach out to the grown-ups in your life and that you will be able to talk to them about all of this and much, much more.

The war is affecting children. For example, you might have read about the 11-year-old boy who has travelled 1000 KM through Ukraine, alone, with just a letter from his mother and a phone number on his hand. He crossed over safely to Slovakia.

At times like this, it is easy to feel helpless. This is when we must not only look to the helpers but strive to be a helper ourselves.

How can we help? We can look for charities that are bringing aid to those affected by war and conflict globally. Here are some links for you to visit:

In March, it is conventional to say that we march towards spring. And we do. So, deep breaths and best foot forward! There’s Easter, Holi, and Ramadan right around the corner, along with Baishaki and more. Alongside these well-known festivals, there is also another festival which – right now – lies waiting.

Have you heard of Novruz? Novruz is a celebration of the Persian New Year. It means ‘New Day’. It falls on the Spring Equinox. Both India and Switzerland have a small but strong Parsi community for whom Novruz is an important day. The celebrations begin about a month before the day of Novruz itself. Each one of the Tuesdays before Novruz is particularly special because a different element (fire, water etc) is celebrated.

In our March issue, we bring to you once again a motley collection of our young community’s vibrant talents. Ishaan Parameshwar continues to write about the adventures of Grimcodile. Anvika Chatterji has spun yarn, as has Abhigyan Bhattacharya. Arisha Dhar, Ojas and Anvi Vyavahare have shared their Sportsferien art activities with us while Advay Mangal has shared his art gallery with us too. As always, it is a pleasure to curate your talents, and once again, I am delighted to share your work with a wider audience.
Please keep creating and sharing. You never know who you might be helping and inspiring. I am grateful to you.

Let me conclude by saying that I am also very grateful for this space. Namaste Switzerland completes 5 years this month. It has been a pleasure to wait and write in the wings and watch this endeavor – launched five years ago on the occasion of International Women’s Day – grow from strength to strength.

A wordy toast:

Here’s to strong women!
May we know them
May we be them
May we raise them!

– Nayana Chakrabarti

Disclaimer: Namaste Switzerland does not undertake any financial, reputational, legal, misrepresentational or other obligation or liability which may arise from the content of this article.