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...
Jan 22, 2013

New Year Party for Foster Children

Dear friends,
Thanks to your donations, over the last months we have been able to organize a wonderful Christmas party for 30 foster children.
The Samoilov Actors Memorial Museum hosted a wonderful performance inspired by Pushkin’s fairy tales. The event was organized by Doctors to Children for children from the Foster Family Project. Every child had an opportunity to participate in the show as one of fairy-tale characters. Of course, there are no New Year holidays without presents – the Father Frost and the Snow Maiden tried to fulfill the children’s dearest wishes.
The event culminated in the traditional tea, cakes and pies for children and their parents.
Volunteer photographers were trying to catch the most joyful and brightest moments of the show and offered the kids to take part in a real photo session.
This is due to your participation and care that we were able to organize this wonderful New Year holiday for Foster Family Project clients.
On behalf of our clients and their foster children, We thank you all once more for your generous support. Doctors to Children looks forward to sharing more news from the Foster Family Project.

Best wishes,
Doctors to Children,
The Foster Family Project team

Dec 17, 2012

MAMA+ project results

Dear friends,

We are happy to announce that the MAMA+ Project has already raised more than $10,000 on the Global Giving site. It means that we have achieved our goal: thanks to your donations we have provided support to 100 HIV-affected babies in St. Petersburg since the beginning of the year.

We are very grateful to all people for their donations and for helping us to disseminate the information! Due to your participation HIV+ women and their young children are provided with child care supplies and milk formula, as well as psychological and social support. These reduce the risk of mother-to-child HIV transmission and increase the chances for the babies to stay in their birth families.

Thanks to your support DTC runs the MAMA+ Center that provides daycare services to 15 children under three years of age. It also hosts group and individual counseling sessions for women, their partners and other relatives on HIV, child development, parenting, child nutrition and other issues. Many women supported by MAMA+ staff have made remarkable progress as witnessed by the following client story.

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Irina

Irina came to St. Petersburg from Norilsk, North Russia, shortly after finishing school. She entered the Faculty of Mathematics and Mechanics, St. Petersburg State University, and was doing well at first. Soon, she first tried drugs, and became so involved with it that she had to forget about her studies. The girl was expelled from the university. A former university student, she was convicted and imprisoned for the possession and use of drugs. In prison, Irina learned that she was HIV-positive.

Shortly after her release from prison, Irina got pregnant. When she gave birth to a child in May 2012, she found herself alone with no housing and no livelihood. In the maternity hospital, Irina was first encountered with MAMA+.

The project staff provided Irina and her little son Misha with temporary housing by placing them in a Halfway House. Due to the project support, Irina obtained an official status of a homeless person and registered for children’s allowances. MAMA+ psychologist helped her manage her drug-related problems, and she has been in remission for a long time now.

Irina began to visit the MAMA+ Counseling and Daycare Center regularly, participating in sessions of the School for Young Mothers where she obtained parenting skills and learned about the specifics of infant development. Little Misha was regularly brought to the MAMA+ Center, where he was examined by a pediatrician. MAMA+ psychologist and a recreational activities specialist engaged the boy in psychomotor developmental sessions and other activities to strengthen emotional contact between the mother and the son.

To date, Irina has found employment, which has enabled her to rent a room in a communal apartment and provide for herself and her baby. Irina and Misha continue to visit the MAMA+ Center, and the girl is making her first steps as a volunteer, assisting new MAMA+ clients to overcome difficulties and regain self-esteem.

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Due to your assistance, we hope to continue MAMA+ Project implementation next year. In 2012, we expect to raise $10,000 for supporting 100 HIV-affected children.

Please consider telling your friends and family about our project - share the link on your blogs or social networks, use the tell-a-friend feature on the project page to email your network, or just bring us up in conversation. You know your friends and family best, so use your own words - tell them why you chose our project and what it means to you.

We will keep you informed about our work, providing you with our regular reports. You will know what your donation has helped fund, what accomplishments we have achieved and what our current needs are.

 

Best wishes,

Doctors to Children,

The MAMA+ Project team

Sep 17, 2012

Helpful experience for the MAMA+ clients

Dear friends,

Another three months have passed by, and it is time to update you on the progress of the MAMA+ project in St. Petersburg. Thanks to your support, Doctors to Children has been able to provide 33 HIV-positive mothers and their babies with milk formula, child care supplies, psychosocial counseling and access to public services over the past quarter. Since the beginning of 2012, we have provided services to a total of 57 women with HIV and their children to prevent child abandonment and mother-to-child transmission of HIV. We would like to share with you some of their stories.

Alyona

The mother of three children, Alyona learned about her HIV status four years ago before a kidney surgery. She was hard hit by this news, but was able to cope with it successfully. Shortly before she enrolled into MAMA+ in February, Alyona had given birth to a beautiful baby girl.

Since childhood, life was not easy for Alyona. When she was young, Alyona was abused by her father and, receiving no protection or support from her mother, she ran away from home. Alyona spent some time on the street, and she currently has very little recollection of that experience. Alyona does not like talking about whom she met with during that time, or what she had to do to survive. When she finally met her future husband, Alyona moved in with him.

Alyona and her husband have always tried the best to provide for their children. The emotional climate in the family, however, has not been very healthy. Alyona is frequently exposed to violence again, and this time it is psychological violence on the part of her husband, which adversely affects her and their children. Presently, the family is facing another problem: Alyona’s husband is suffering from a severe form of TB, while Alyona’s HIV makes her particularly vulnerable to the disease. Their large family is occupying two rooms in a communal apartment.

Together with MAMA+ staff, Alyona is working to improve the family’s living conditions. The MAMA+ psychologist is helping her raise self-esteem and improve relationships with her husband. Alyona regularly visits the MAMA+ Center to take part in peer support sessions and workshops, while her little daughter receives health exams and participates in development activities.  

Alyona says she’s very grateful to the MAMA+ specialists, thanks to their support she overcame a very difficult period in her life. 

Darya

Darya grew up in a large family. She had been in good relationships with her relatives until they learned about her HIV status. Since then, Darya has had nobody to rely on. Daria is raising two sons on her own. Her older son is five, and her younger son is just several months old. Their father abuses drugs and does not care for his children. Before giving birth to her second child, Darya had a job and rented a room in St. Petersburg. After she had had the baby, Darya lost her job and housing. She currently lives in the suburbs of St. Petersburg with her relatives who are not happy with her HIV.

Darya was referred to MAMA+ by the City AIDS Center as she needed emotional support and counseling. Together with MAMA+ staff, Darya has made a lot of progress: she has accepted her own HIV status and began to care both for her boys’ and her own health. The boys attend daycare at the MAMA+ Center, where they participate in development activities together with a child psychologist. When the children are in daycare, Darya has a chance to file for children’s allowances, visit the AIDS Center, apply for government daycare, and look for a job.

Darya says, “At the MAMA+ Center, I received what my family refused to provide: warm-heartedness of the staff, their emotional support and care. This helped me believe in myself. Now I am doing my best raising my sons. The MAMA+ psychologist is helping improve our relationships with my mother. Thinking for the future, I am sure all of my dreams will come true!”

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Over the summer, MAMA+ clients also participated in two exciting events organized by DTC’s corporate partners: a vocation orientation workshop by Radisson Royal Hotel St. Petersburg, and a beauty session by M•A•C Cosmetics make-up artists.

Vocational Orientation Workshop by Radisson Royal Hotel St. Petersburg

On June 28, Radisson Royal Hotel St. Petersburg organized a vocational orientation workshop for five MAMA+ clients. The women received a tour around the hotel, while Radisson staff described the jobs in the hospitality business, and Radisson’s corporate culture. Under the supervision of hotel staff, the workshop participants had an opportunity to try themselves in the roles of housemaids making a bed, cleaning a room and preparing coffee. The housekeeping staff described their responsibilities, challenges and advantages of working at Radisson.

At the end of the workshop, participants met with the hotel’s General Manager John Lozasso. Mr. Lozasso invited the women to apply for open positions at Radisson when they become available, and expressed his support to continuing collaboration with Doctors to Children.

Beauty Session by M•A•C Cosmetics Make-Up Artists

On July 4, four make-up artists from M•A•C Cosmetics paid their traditional visit to MAMA+. This time they visited with 12 clients at the MAMA+ Center.  The beauticians advised the women on make-up and skin care for different skin types during pregnancy and after delivery, and shared secrets of effective home-made facial masks. Then M•A•C staff conducted a professional make-up session meeting individual women’s needs, from an evening party to casual everyday make-up. The day finished with a tea party and fruit, which are also essential for healthy-looking skin. MAMA+ participants were very glad to receive little presents of professional M•A•C products.

M•A•C Cosmetics, which is part of Estee Lauder Companies, has been a long-time supporter of DTC projects for women and children affected by HIV. In addition to the financial support through the M•A•C AIDS Fund, M•A•C staff have been regularly volunteering their time to provide beauty sessions to clients at the MAMA+ Halfway House and Daycare center.

 

On behalf of MAMA+ clients and their babies, I thank you again for your generous support. Doctors to Children looks forward to sharing more news from MAMA+.

 

Roman Yorick, MD, MPH

Board Chairman

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