Bertrand Vial, former Usam, at the origin of this action to help Ukrainians in Slovakia, the country where he now lives and which is facing a massive influx of refugees.
On Saturday March 26, the handball derby at Parnasse between Nîmes and Montpellier (8 p.m.) will be placed under the sign of peace and solidarity. On that day, in fact, spectators are invited to participate in a large collection of basic necessities that will be sent to a camp where about 300 Ukrainian refugees live who left their country at war. It is located in Zilina, in the north of Slovakia.
At Usam from 1990 to 2007, he taught in Slovakia
We owe this initiative to Bertrand Vial to which David Tebib, the president of Nîmes joined immediately. Aged 48, “Bibi” wore the colors of Usam from 1990 to 2007. He kept in him all the ideas that make up the DNA of the only club he knew.
Since September 2021, he has been a teacher in a French high school in Bratislava which has 350 students from kindergarten to terminale, more specifically in charge of CE2. In recent weeks, he has seen children arriving in the establishment from Ukraine.
More generally, the whole country where he now lives mainly hosts women and children fleeing the war. Bertrand Vial himself hosted refugees in his home for a night on their way to Western Europe.
Big mobilization in Slovakia
“At least 250,000 people have arrived in Slovakia. For some, it’s just a crossing point. There is a big mobilization in the country,” he said. “People make their apartments, their houses available and my children have new Ukrainian classmates at school,” adds Teodor Paul, the Slovak goalkeeper of Usam whose small family has remained in the country.
Over there, the memory is still vivid for those who knew Czechoslovakia invaded in 1968 by the troops of the Warsaw Pact because the USSR perceived the policy carried out in the country as a threat to its hegemony over this part of Europe.
400 km from Bratislava, the Zilina camp is managed by the Slovak Red Cross. Bertrand Vial has already been there once, to deliver the fruit of a collection carried out in his establishment. “It’s the first time I’ve been confronted with such a tragedy. When you’re a father, seeing children and mothers without the men who have stayed in the country to fight, I can tell you that it takes your guts out.”
The products requested
Here are precisely by theme the products that spectators will be invited to drop off at Parnassus on March 26.
Medical material : dressings, thermometers, antigen tests, respiratory masks, disposable gloves, vitamins.
Food : canned fish, pasta, buckwheat, semolina, soups, peanuts, shelf stable pastries, unsalted crisps for children, packaged baby food, infant milk, food for vegetarians, coffee, tea, cereals, muesli, jam, honey, milk powder, chocolate powder.
Pharmacy and hygiene: disinfectant gel, garbage bags, wipes for hygiene, lip balms, deodorants, sanitary napkins or tampons, paper towels, toilet paper, detergents, dry or microfiber cloths, toothbrushes, cutlery and disposable towels.