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					UNIVERSAL POSTAL UNION
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“Sometimes, we forget that the postal service is part of our daily
lives, yet it remains of great importance for everyone”
Young Brazilian girl crowned first-place winner of the International Letter-
Writing Competition for Young People 2006
Berne (Switzerland), 18 September 2006

Brazil’s Laura DE PAULA SILVA, aged 14, is the winner of the UPU’s 35th International
Letter-Writing Competition for Young People 2006. Her letter, underlining the importance of
the postal service for inhabitants of the Amazonian community of Chico MENDES, was
selected as the best among 64 entries submitted by UPU member countries.
Ginette Viviane OUEFA of Benin, and Rebecca KEELEY of Zambia, win the second and third
prizes respectively. Special mentions go to Akvilé KLOVAITÉ of Lithuania, Carina
PETSCHNER of Germany, and Souhila BAKIRI of Algeria.
Winners normally receive their prizes on 9 October, World Post Day, during ceremonies held
in their respective countries.
Laura’s letter was first selected at the national level from 2,770 letters written by students in
more than 1,700 schools, before going forward to the international competition. Her letter is a
perfect illustration of the theme “I am writing to you to tell you how the postal service
helps me connect with the world”.
It is the third time Brazil has won top honours since the competition was introduced in 1972.
China has won the competition four times so far. An estimated 3 million children worldwide
participate each year in the competition at a national level.
In her letter addressed to a friend, Laura DE PAULA SILVA explains how the postal service
is the only means of communication and subsistence for the community of Chico MENDES,
located in the Amazon region. “The postal service is the only way for this community to
liquidate its production and stay in touch with the world,” she writes in a composition filled
with detail and a good balance of fantasy and maturity.
“If the postal service did not exist, how would these families live? How could they sell their
products?” writes Laura, who also evokes the difficulties postal workers encounter in trying to
deliver mail to far-flung places. “Each week, here and in neighbouring communities, postal
workers overcome all sorts of obstacles to get here. As there is no post office in the closest
city, they use a truck chartered by the post office in one of the bigger cities. Then, after
travelling for one hour on the river Solimões, they arrive to our community, where they load
the boat with products sold by the people and return to where they came from.”
“Sometimes,” she continues, “we forget that the postal service is part of our daily lives, yet it
remains of great importance for people… Currently, people send e-mails or messages using
their mobile phones. But I prefer to receive letters and postcards because they show people
care and they can be kept and re-read later on.”
Second-prize winner, Ginette Viviane OUEFA, tells us how the letters she receives transport
her to the four corners of the world. “Do you remember Rachelle and Claire, who moved to
Australia and New York respectively? We write each other all the time. They tell me about
» CONTACTS
Universal Postal Union                                                            Rhéal LEBLANC
International Bureau                                                 Telephone: +41 31 350 32 51
External Communications                                              Mobile:     +41 79 272 04 28
Case postale                                                         Fax:        +41 31 350 37 11
3000 BERNE 15                                                        E-mail: rheal.leblanc@upu.int
SWITZERLAND                                                          Web site:         www.upu.int
UNIVERSAL POSTAL UNION
» PRESS RELEASE




their lives over there (…) in such a way that I have gone between Sydney and New York
several times without ever leaving home (…) Through the Post, I have been a witness to the
world.” She also describes the surprise and excitement she feels each time she receives a
letter or a parcel.
Rebecca KEELEY, third-prize winner, regularly uses the postal service to correspond with
her old friends in South Africa. After moving to Zambia, she has kept in contact with them
through the mail. In her opinion, it is the simplest way to share her thoughts, without feeling
the constraints of time or place.
The theme of the 2007 competition is: “Imagine that you are a wild animal whose habitat
is threatened by environmental or climate change. Write a letter to the inhabitants of
the world to explain what they can do to help you survive”. The theme not only
corresponds to one of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, but also coincides
with the 2007/2008 International Polar Year, which aims to create awareness of the
importance of polar regions for the world’s climate. In broader terms, this theme covers the
environment, ecosystems and human society.

The three winning letters can be read on the UPU’s website at:
!   http://www.upu.int/letter_writing/en/index.shtml

Key facts from the first 35 years:
! China has won the competition four times (1981, 1983, 1994 and 1999).
! Brazil won the very first competition in 1972. After another win in 1988, it receives top
  honours in 2006.
! Malta, Jordan, Ethiopia and Mexico have each won the title twice.
! Ireland is the only country to have received the title two consecutive years (1986 and
  1987).

About the Universal Postal Union
The UPU, a United Nations specialized agency based in Berne (Switzerland), is the primary
forum for cooperation between Posts. In addition to maintaining a genuinely universal
network that provides modern products and services, it establishes the rules for
international mail exchanges among its 191 members and makes recommendations to
stimulate mail volume growth and to improve the quality of service for customers. Each
year, five million employees process and deliver 430 billion domestic letter-post items,
some six billion international items and more than 5.4 billion ordinary parcels.




» CONTACTS
Universal Postal Union                                                           Rhéal LEBLANC
International Bureau                                                Telephone: +41 31 350 32 51
External Communications                                             Mobile:     +41 79 272 04 28
Case postale                                                        Fax:        +41 31 350 37 11
3000 BERNE 15                                                       E-mail: rheal.leblanc@upu.int
SWITZERLAND                                                         Web site:         www.upu.int