St.Petersburg-based non-governmental organization 'Doctors to Children'

DTC's mission is to protect the rights of at-risk children and families, and provide them with access to quality social, psychological and medical services. DTC's goals include: (1) Forming policies and public opinion around the issues of at-risk children and families, (2) Decreasing the number of neglected and abandoned children and at-risk children and families through prevention and multidisciplinary interventions, and (3) Providing access to high-quality medical, social and psychological care to at-risk children and families. To achieve these goals, DTC employs the following strategies: (1) Advocating for the rights of at-risk children and families; (2) Providing direct comprehensive ass...
Mar 21, 2014

Latest news about MAMA+ project

Varvara with daughter
Varvara with daughter

Dear Friends,

We are pleased to tell you about improvements in the lives of our clients, which took place thanks to your participation, as well as present a new family enrolled in the MAMA+ Project in acute need of support.

Updates on our clients’ stories
We have already told you about Zhanna and her son Artyom, as well as Anastasia and her little daughter Lyuda.
Zhanna is still in the hospital, taking her treatment course. At the end of 2013, Artyom’s father obtained his parental rights, collected a package of documents and took the boy from the babies’ home.
The child is currently living with his family. Due to timely preventive treatment, Artyom was not infected with HIV. This case is another confirmation of the fact that professional support is essential for a family in a difficult life situation.

Anastasia is still facing challenges. However, the main news about her is that her little Lyuda’s health status has stabilized. The mother is trying to maintain this status through timely escorts of her daughter to the doctor, massage therapy and care. Anastasia attends biweekly medical case conferences at the MAMA+ Counseling and Daycare Center.
As we have mentioned above, a new family had enrolled in the MAMA+ Project: Varvara and her children Vera and Nikita.

Varvara, 25, is 20 weeks pregnant. She has two children: her daughter Vera one year and four months old, and her son Nikita four years old. Varvara learned about her HIV-positive status at a prenatal clinic during her third pregnancy. She was referred to the project by the AIDS Center. The woman contracted HIV from her partner after giving birth to her second child. Unaware of her HIV status, she used to breastfeed her daughter Vera. When the girl attained 18 months of age, she was tested HIV-positive and her diagnosis was confirmed. The project staff members provide support to the woman at this difficult period of her life, taking care of her daughter (they escort the woman to the AIDS Center, arrange medical examinations and tests for Vera, and provide her with special baby formula).
The woman was examined and tested to select a therapy in account of her pregnancy. Presently, Varvara visits healthcare institutions, receiving preventive therapy. The father of her expected baby (her partner) does not provide the family with any support. Varvara is currently living with her children. The family’s quality of life is unsatisfactory.
Varvara’s relatives do not support her because of her HIV status. When she was a girl, she was in care of her grandmother; her parents were deprived of their parental rights. Varvara’s grandmother lives too far from her and is unable to provide her with any support. Varvara cannot be employed as she is raising two young children and is currently pregnant. She lives in a small room of a communal apartment together with her children. She often clashes with her neighbors, with whom she is in conflict.
Presently, Varvara is in need of a bassinet, a crib, babies’ clothes and other things, babies’ formula, and other goods of prime necessity.

MAMA+ Counseling and Daycare Center
MAMA+ Counseling and Daycare Center
Dec 27, 2013

Latest news about Foster Family project


Dear friends, we would like to tell you a story of a family taken on the project supervision.

 Nina and Tanya, sisters

 At the end of 2012, Nina and Tanya were removed from their family, facing threats to their lives and health. Their mother abused alcohol. She used to come home drunk very often, accompanied by her partner. Every time it was a new partner, and every time she forced the kids to call him their dad. They had never seen their father. The sisters often stayed at home, unsupervised and underfed.

While the girls were in the orphanage, they were placed twice in host families for a short term, and the project staff hoped the girls would stay with their new parents. However, these placements were not successful to bring about long-term relationships.

In early August 2013, an experienced foster family supervised by the project learned about the sisters. By that time, Elena and Igor, a married couple, had raised two children on their own, graduated form the School for Foster Parents run by Doctors to Children, and were bringing up two foster children – brothers, 7 and 15 years old respectively.

At the end of the month, Nina and Tanya were placed in this family. On September 1, Nina went to the new school. She enrolled in her new brother’s class to repeat the first-grade program, as she did not attend school regularly in the previous year and missed a lot. At first, her younger sister Tanya found it hard to go to a kindergarten, refusing to stay without her foster parents for several hours a day. Presently, she is happy to attend the kindergarten where she has found a lot of friends. Nina and Tanya enjoy doing everything together with their new mother and father: playing, cooking and reading before going to bed. Also, it is so wonderful to dance all together!

The sisters’ adaptation in their new home is going on well, with the family provided with the regular Foster Family Project assistance. The first priority issue for the foster parents is Nina’s and Tanya’s health status: the girls need serious medical examinations and treatment.

 New Year party for Foster Family Project clients

On December 22, clients of the Foster Family Project participated in a real New Year celebration party. This time the event was hosted by Radisson Hotel. Within the walls of the ancient building located in the heart of St. Petersburg, the organization Plyaskin Group showed a beautiful dance performance for children. Experienced and recently formed foster families were invited for this holiday.

All the children were given long-awaited presents from Father Frost.

The cultural program culminated in the traditional tea, cakes and sweets for children and their parents.

Such events are very important for families raising foster children. This New Year celebration was not only a holiday, but also an opportunity for the families to share their successes, their children’s achievements, and have their work recognized by their peers.

We are grateful to everybody who helped us organize such a wonderful party for children. 

School for Foster Parents

 On December 24, the final session of the winter School for Foster Parents training cycle was conducted by the project staff. A total of 12 persons (10 families) were provided with certificates of completing SFP training and made a decision to take a child to their family.

 In October 2013, a large foster family supervised by Doctors to Children fostered one more girl. Previously, the girl was placed in a babies’ home and needed regular medical monitoring. Kristina, two and a half years old, was happy to find new parents, new brothers and sisters, as well as her full five-year-old sister previously fostered by this family.

 In November 2013, graduates of the spring School for Foster Parents became happy parents of a two-year-old girl from a babies’ home of the City of Vologda.

New Year Party for Foster Children
New Year Party for Foster Children
Dec 23, 2013

Positive mama

I heard about MAMA+ center but I knew nothing about it before coming to "Doctors to children" organization. And I realize that this center is the only place, the only home you can go when you diagnosed with HIV and your life is ruined.

Imagine, you are a young woman, pregnant and left by your boyfriend. And accidentally you were diagnosed with HIV... What you should do? Where you should go? Who would you tell about your diagnose? Usually young women think their life is over and the only thing they can do is to abandon the child and leave him in orphanage. It is because medication from HIV is very expensive, because HIV means no job, no husband, no family, no life... In the world and in Russia particularly there still exist strong ban of people living with HIV, fear and stigma. Person HIV + is still abandoned by government and community. Imagine that situation when you have a baby... In other hand there are centers like MAMA+ for women HIV positive where they can get support and care, where they can be understands and helped. 

In St.Petersburg there are several centers MAMA+ under care of "Doctors to children" organization. Its unique place for those who were abandoned and turned out in difficult life situation. MAMA+ has psychologists, social workers, qualified volunteers and facilities like kindergarden and social dormitory. Women can attend HIV school  for mothers and learn how to take care of a baby being HIV+. The major thing of these groups is to help woman understand that she can be a mother no matter of her diagnose. To abandon the child and leave him in orphanage is not the right way. Its very important especially for Russia.

Nowadays MAMA+ centers work together with maternity welfare centeres in policlinics and hospitals to identify HIV+ women in difficult life situations and help them.

This experience is successfully replicated in another big city like Ekaterinburg. 

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