Vasyl Futerko via Crowdrise
April 15, 2012
BENEFITING: UKRAINE SPECIAL NEEDS ORPHANAGES FUND INC
More than 20 years passed since the collapse of the Soviet Union, but the “care” system for the children at special orphanages, orphans with disabilities in Ukraine, hardly changed. Children do not live there, they exist at these orphanages, unable to self-actualization, creativity, education and communication with the outside world. Often these children can not even play with toys, which were donated by the donators, not by the state.
The absolute majority of orphans with disabilities in Ukraine, who have serious physical or mental condition, aged from 4 to 35 years live at special orphanages - children nursing homes (there are 55 in Ukraine). Often these orphanages are located in a very remote, inaccessible and sparsely populated places (villages). Such location is not random - the Soviet criminal ruling system tried to hide the disabled orphans away from people. The official position of the state concerning disabled orphans, which are educated at special orphanages, currently, remains the same – the state considers these children incapable of learning and of any form of communication. One of the main reasons is lack of funds in the state treasury to cover needs of disabled orphans. Very often only one teacher, who has none teaching or psychological education and is not qualified to work with disabled children, works at children's nursing homes with more than 50 children.
At the age of 35 years, graduates of the orphanages - young people with disabilities get into nursing homes or neuropsychiatric nursing institutions for adults with the only one way out to the cemetery. People and organizations that help these orphanages are often focused on updating the resource base - maintenance, rehabilitation equipment etc. However, often gifts that would help disabled orphans to develop, to make their life more full, rich and varied, remain unused because of the lack of knowledge and skills, the workers are incapable of using the full potential of the education and rehabilitation sessions. Often these gifts become covered with dust at some warehouses or at others enclosed places, forbidden for children and are shown only to guests to maintain a false appearance of the healthy and supported environment, where everyone is provided with everything needed.
How the project will solve the problem?
Implementation of the project will deploy to 10 out of 55 orphanages 10 community helpers - experts in the field of psychology, official representatives of the Ukrainian philanthropic network.
Each assistant during the year will:
1. Hold with groups of pupils at the orphanages special rehabilitation classes (classic art therapy, fairy tale therapy, art therapy with elements of pottery, learning to read and to write).
2. As a person who is not an orphanage employee or employee of the state agency, will serve as an independent observer – public "eyes and ears" at the orphanages. Permanent presence of public assistant at the orphanage will prevent and detect possible violations of the rights and freedoms of the disabled orphans.
3. Help volunteers to coordinate their charitable work at the orphanage, and work diligently to find new volunteers.
4. Distribute information about the needs of pupils at the orphanages in the mass media, will address potential benefactors with requests for charity.
Ukrainian philanthropic network already has experience of public assistance for more than 6 months at the Kolomiyky orphanage.
For the implementation of the project 10 most problematic and arbitrarily closed to the public children's orphanages will be selected.
Public assistant will try to attract to the charitable affairs of the orphanages as many donors as possible by convincing not just potential donators, but also ordinary Ukrainians, that everyone can help, regardless of the income or social roles.
The potential long-term effect
Work of the public assistant will achieve irreversible positive changes. Gradual positive socialization of the disabled orphans, who'll become more accustomed to the public assistant's work, will create the necessary precondition for the continuation of this work not only at the 10 selected orphanages, but also at all others.
Today the Ukrainian philanthropic network has a positive experience of public assistance at one particular orphanage, but it is not enough to have irrefutable arguments and facts, not enough to challenge existing approaches to working with disabled orphans and to propose a radically different and more efficient new one.
Work of the public assistant will detect all previously hidden or hushed issues at the specific orphanages will identify violations of rights and freedoms of the disabled orphans.
During a year the public will learn about the 10 special orphanages much more than it has learned during past few years.