The public activities of First Lady
The Valmiera Residential High School and Developmental Centre for Hearing-Impaired Children
In support of her husband’s priority of focusing on education, Mrs Lilita Zatlere has worked with children with special needs so as to accent the need for special and inclusive education in Latvia.
When accompanying the President on working visits to Latvia’s regions and to Rīga, Mrs Zatlere regularly visits educational institutions which are attended by children with special needs. She discusses major aspects of inclusive education in Latvia with teachers at such schools.
First Lady Lilita Zatlere first visited the Valmiera Boarding High School and Developmental Centre for Hearing-Impaired Children back in February 2008, when it was still an elementary school. She and President Valdis Zatlers were in Valmiera during a regional visit. Administrators at the school immediately asked Mrs Zatlers to become patroness of the school, and she was pleased to accept this offer. In July 2008, the First Lady met with the youth choir from the developmental centre shortly before the Latvian Song and Dance Festival. It was one of two choirs in Latvia to take part in the final concert and perform in sign language. Mrs Zatlere recalls that she was sincerely moved by the performance.
Since the festival, the First Lady has visited the centre several times, meeting with children and adolescents from Valmiera to come up with creative activities that encourage the kids to be proud of their talents and to develop them in support of their future hopes. Mrs Zatlere tries to provide opportunities for the children to demonstrate their talents. In December 2009, for instance, children from the Valmiera Boarding School and Development Centre for Hearing-Impaired Children and from the Strazdmuiža Boarding School for Vision-Impaired Children appeared at the Latvian National Museum of History, where the Latvian Postal Service presented its new Christmas stamp.
First Lady of Latvia Lilita Zatlere attended a ceremony at the Valmiera Dramatic Theatre on September 23, to congratulate the Valmiera Boarding School and Developmental Centre for Hearing-Impaired Children on her own behalf and that of her husband, President Valdis Zatlers, on the occasion of the facility’s 135th anniversary. “You may be very proud about the fact that you will always hold one of Latvia’s oldest schools in your hearts. Each time that we meet, I am amazed at your abilities, talents, skills and daring in surprising yourselves and others. Thank you for accepting me into your group. It is a matter of great honour for me to be together with you as patroness of the Valmiera Boarding School and Development Centre for Hearing-Impaired Children,” Mrs Zatlere told the audience.