The project encourages children to think and create on the topic of friendship. The event included an award ceremony honouring the best kindergartens and primary schools that took part in the project and an exhibition of the children’s artworks, as part of the contest.

The goal of Encourage Friendship, a project that sees the participation of different educational institutions, schools, and kindergartens, is to strengthen creativity and solidarity, as well as promote other positive values among children. This year, the project reached unprecedented dimensions not only in participant turnout but also in geographic scope. In 2017, the project has brought together 11,260 Slovenian children from 172 schools and kindergartens across Slovenia, while the project has also garnered interest beyond Slovenian borders. The number of participating children this year is greater than in all four previous years combined, which amounted to approximately 10,000 children. Whereas the project has so far been carried out only in Slovenia, this year marks the first participation of Slovenian children from an Italian kindergarten just across our border.

The BTC Company is aware of the importance of sustainable development and social responsibility. As partners, we support numerous projects and activities with a green and socially responsible note. We pay special attention to young people, whom we perceive as generators of future development of Slovenia. The support of the Encourage Friendship project comes as no coincidence. The extensiveness of the project speaks to the necessity and advantageousness of encouraging friendship among children, of strengthening their creativity and curiosity,” emphasised Damjan Kralj, MA, member of the BTC Management Board and Director of Sales and Marketing at BTC d. d., upon conclusion of the project.

In the scope of the project, children submitted drawings, photographs, and other artworks. The best in the kindergarten category were: Vrtec Otona Župančiča, Vrtec Mengeš, and Vrtec Kekec Grosuplje.

The first three places in the category of primary schools were taken by OŠ Roje, OŠ Brezovica pri Ljubljani, and OŠ Žiri. The best schools and kindergartens were given prizes, while all the participating children received special participation awards.

Upon closure of the event, Nada Pavšer, president of Sobivanje, pointed out: “All of us at Sobivanje are well aware that co-existence and good interpersonal relationships represent the basis for a quality life. With Encourage Friendship, we remind children about all the small experiences and adventures that enrich their lives at school, at home, and elsewhere. We want to make both children and adults aware of the significance of warmth, love, and mutual help – all inseparably connected to friendship. That is what is needed to preserve tolerance in the society.

The best works were put on public display at three spring events in all three BTC Cities in Slovenia. The first exhibition was part of an event in BTC City Murska Sobota and can be viewed until 10 May 2017. This was followed by exhibitions in BTC City Novo mesto (7 April 2017) and BTC City Ljubljana (14 April 2017). All exhibited artworks will also be published in the electronic booklet comprising works submitted to Encourage Friendship, which will be available online at 

The Encourage Friendship project is part of the wider programme School of Co-existence that joins projects from different fields of sustainable development and strives towards a fairer society and a better quality of life for all people. In the spirit of sustainable growth, socially responsible activities, and encouraging young people to help each other and be friends, the BTC Company supports Encouraging Friendship in the scope of its business pillar Mission: Green. This pillar represents the platform for numerous activities in different fields (e.g. environmentalism, science, education, healthcare, sport, culture, and humanitarianism), with which the BTC Company, in cooperation with its partners, creates opportunities for current and all future generations.

Additional information

Maja Oven, Director of the Market Communications and Public Relations Sector