Children at the forefront of country’s most successful fund-raiser

Foto: archiv Radia Praha

Traditionally, the close of the Christmas holidays kicks off the largest and most successful fund-raiser in the country. The Three Kings Collection, organized by the Catholic charity Caritas involves thousands of volunteers, most of them children, taking to the streets dressed as the Three Wise Men, singing carols and asking people to donate money to charity. Jarmila Lomozová from Caritas, herself an enthusiastic caroller, told me more about the event which is now in its 15th year.

Photo: Ondřej Tomšů,  Radio Prague International
“Caritas revived the tradition of the Three Kings carolling. Three persons, usually children, dress up as the Three Kings and they go around towns and villages to wish people a happy and blessed new year and they ask them for a donation for people in need.”

Do you think that the success of this collection is due to the fact that it involves children and that in many small towns and villages children visit neighbours and townspeople who know them?

“Yes, that’s true, in the smaller villages people know the children who come to carol to their house. In general, I think that the fact that children are involved is very good for the collection because children evoke stronger emotions, people enjoy hearing them sing, some people join in and we sing together. I think everyone enjoys it - those who go carolling and those who donate money as well.”

How much do you collect annually?

“Last year the proceeds amounted to over 96 million Czech crowns. People are amazing, very responsive, they are clearly happy to make a contribution. I saw many people who themselves quite obviously did not have much, people with handicaps, and they all wanted to give us at least a couple of coins.”

Photo: Zdeňka Kuchyňová | Photo: Zdeňka Kuchyňová,  Radio Prague International
This charity involves a procession through Prague that is very popular. Can you explain what it is?

“Yes, there are many processions all over the country, taking place on January 6th, and in Prague we have a big procession headed by the Three Kings on camels. It is a big event, the procession passes through the historical part of town, crosses Charles Bridge and people enjoy the event very much.”