Raimonds Bulte, chairman of the Freedom Monument Restoration Fund
said that donations were still needed to achieve complete restoration
of the Freedom Monument by autumn 2001 for the "Riga 800"
celebrations. Last year the first stage of repairs renewed the
terrace, but this summer's goal is to complete work on the obelisk,
figure and the three stars as the second stage.
The monument was designed by the famous Latvian architect Karlis Zale
and constructed in 1935. It symbolizes Latvia's independence and
freedom as a nation. The bronze casting of a woman, nicknamed Milda,
holds up three golden stars in her hands. No restoration work has
been done for 65 years, and the monument is badly affected by weather
conditions causing rusting, erosion and movement of the obelisk and
water damage to the inner columns.
Bulte said he was very pleased with donors' response to date.
Between Nov. 1998 to June 30, 2000, the Fund received 201,690 lats
collected in Latvia and 203,759 lats from foreign donators in
England, America, Canada, Australia, Germany and Sweden.
However, from this total of 405,000 lats, only 185,000 lats remain to
continue the job. Bulte said they need to collect another 250,000
The Latvian Scouts and Guides Organization have offered to cover the
streets of Riga and other Latvian cities this summer with collection
boxes for donators to make contributions. Other fund-raising
activities include a Charity Ball, phone-ins and a kiosk near the
Committee members are dedicated to the task and need all the support
they can get to complete the work on schedule, because, as Bulte
said, every year the task becomes more expensive with an annual
increase of 25 percent on the estimated budget.