When sixteen representatives of the Tartan Army - fans of the Scotland national football team - walked into a SOS Children's Village in Macedonia, a surprised 11-year-old Dzemo asked, “Why are they wearing skirts?” Many of the football fans were wearing traditional Scottish kilts - a rare sight for the Macedonian children.
On the occasion of the FIFA 2014 World Cup qualifier between Macedonia and Scotland, the Tartan Army donated £2000 to SOS Children's Village Skopje. “This marks the 46th consecutive donation which makes us very proud,” said Mr Neil Forbes, Vice-Chairman and Trustee of the Tartan Army Sunshine Appeal - the fans' charity. “The Tartan Army Sunshine Appeal was formed in 2003 and has since raised funds and donated to children's charities all over the world.”
The fans visited a family home in the Village, where they met SOS mother Divna, who has raised fourteen children. “What an amazing woman. You can see she has such strong connection to her children - and they are so happy,” commented the Scottish visitors.
Match of the day
There was also time for a friendly game of football on the Village playground. “Aren't they going to change? They can't possibly play in those kilts,” wondered 16-year-old Aleksandar, as he watched the Scottish fans warm up. But five minutes into the game, the Scottish team scored the first goal. “Wow, it is possible to play in those,” murmured Aleksandar, who was playing on the Macedonian team.
In retaliation the SOS Village children went strong in the offence and scored - creating a tie, which turned out to be the end result. Tension was high during the penalty shoot-out, which both teams agreed to end at 3-3, leaving everyone in high spirits.
“Our team won't go to the World Cup, and neither will theirs,” said Dzemo, a child living at the SOS Village in Skopje. “But, none of us are sad because we had so much fun and it was so great to see grown-ups in those odd skirts. When I grow up, I want to wear one too.”
SOS Children's Village Skopje opened in 2002 when the first child was welcomed. Today, the Village is home for 67 children in twelve SOS families, while 27 young people are supported in youth programmes.