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The Netherlands

Princess Laurentien celebrates project milestone and looks to the future of children in the Ukraine war

Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands has celebrated a huge milestone for one of her most recent projects. 

The Better Time Stories has reached its 10000th request since being launched in September of 2022, and the Princess shared her feelings on the number: “It touches me.” 

Better Time Stories is an initiative launched for Ukrainian families that have been divided by the war. The project consists of two parts: an app and a book service. 

Families of Ukrainian refugees that have children with them can request a set of books; they will receive a parcel with five picture book, written in both Ukrainian and the language of their host country. 

Relatives who remained behind in Ukraine can read the books to their children via the app, and the books all deal with topics like love, comfort, optimism and family. 

The project is based on donations from the public and the patrons, which consist of Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands, and First Ladies Olena Zelenska of Ukraine, Elke Büdenbender of Germany and Doris Schmidauer of Austria. 

Requests for book sets have now reached 10000, and Her Royal Highness shared her reasons for supporting this project: “For a child growing up, hearing a familiar voice is invaluable. […] Better Time Stories shows kids that home is made up of the people who love you, wherever you are.” 

A sentiment echoed by Better Time Stories founder Andriy Shmyhelskyy: “Especially in these dark and cold winter days, hearing the voice of a family member left behind can bring a little extra light to the darkness.”

The initiative is still ongoing, with members of the public being able to make donations at this link , and with plans to expand it to more countries in the very near future, something that the royal patron is actively working on.