Swiss children living abroad have been given their very own website to keep them in touch with life in their homeland.
The launch of the internet platform coincided with the opening of the annual Organisation of the Swiss Abroad (OSA) congress on Friday.
“The launch of ‘swisskids’ responds to a need expressed by a number of parents,” explained Gabrielle Keller, editor of “Swiss Review”, a magazine for expatriate Swiss.
“We wanted to give the children a present to mark the 30th anniversary of Swiss Review.”
swisskids is the first website about Switzerland specifically targeted at Swiss children living abroad.
It can be accessed via the Swiss Review website (see Related Sites) and is available in English, German, French and Spanish.
Its aim is to inform them about Switzerland in an entertaining way and enable them to contact children in Switzerland and other parts of the world.
The OSA has traditionally laid on a variety of activities for children in the past. For many years its youth wing has arranged holidays in Switzerland, including sports camps in winter and summer, language exchanges or participation in the annual youth parliament.
These trips are often the only contact with their homeland for many children abroad. Hence the need for an informative website, says Swiss Review.
Learn about Switzerland
Keller told swissinfo that swisskids would offer a range of information suitable for children between the ages of eight and 16. It will also feature reports from holiday camps and the current programme of youth packages.
“It being an interactive platform, boys and girls are encouraged not only to take in the content, but also take part,” she said.
“They will be able to find features on the history of chocolate, information about farm animals or the favourite dishes of Swiss children,” she added.
Quizzes will help to test and improve their knowledge of Switzerland, and they will also be able to post photos of themselves in a special gallery.
“Professor Emmi Taler” will be on hand to answer any questions about their homeland.
The website will not have a “chatroom”, because of the difficulties in ensuring it is not abused by paedophiles, said Keller.
Like Swiss Review, swisskids is published in collaboration with the Swiss foreign ministry.
swissinfo with agencies
"Swiss Review", which has a print run of 360,000, is published in English, German, French and Spanish. An Italian version is also published called the "Swiss Gazette".
swisskids is the first internet platform for Swiss children abroad in English, German, French and Spanish. Italian is planned in the near future.