When I first time stepped into the office of "Partnership to every child" I saw lots of portraits on the walls with children faces on them. I wondered who that kids might be. Project leaders told me that there are children with special needs who are under the SHORT BREAKS program. Children in program have more than one mother. You say:" Its not possible!" But it is!Imagine young mother with three kids, one of them has cerebral palsy or Autism or Down Syndrome. Usually women having kids with special needs are bringing up their children alone. These mothers can't go for work or out to buy food, you go for vacation or to see the dentist, because child with cerebral palsy needs his mom all the time, day and night. The family lives in poverty. There is financial support but its not enough to bring up three kids. Its not so rare that mother decide to abandon child with special needs and put him into the orphanage, so she could take care of other children.
That's why this mother needs another cover-mother who could take care of children while first mother working. All cover mothers attend special school for mothers. They learn how to take care of a child with special needs: how to feed or wash him, how to communicate. Child with special needs get used to have two mothers, it expand his environment. For families this unique program is essential, because it allows them to have work or even go for short vacations. It unique program for Russia actually. And it was recognized by Russian Health Department. This is quite a achievement! Maybe in some years all children with special needs all around Russia will stay in their families and have mother one and mother two. And families will no longer live in poverty and misery.
We are so grateful that you have chosen to help Partnership for Every Childs' Short Breaks project! Your support not only allows our organisation to provide high quality, caring, professional services to families in need, it also makes all the difference in the world to our families who, without our assistance, would face critical decisions that might mean surrendering their children to the care of institutions and orphanages for a lack of alternatives. Your generous contributions keep our programme running so that our families stay together and are able to provide a stable and loving environment for their children.
Short Breaks gives parents a respite from the difficulties of raising a special needs child through matching them with professional foster families who care for the child periodically, thus giving the family the opportunity to manage household affairs or simply rest. The child benefits by socialising with others, and most importantly, the reduced stress in the home means that the family stands a greater chance of staying together instead of opting to place the child in an institution. This quarter, the Short Breaks programme served 59 families and 71 children in St. Petersburg. In total our our professionals in foster care and other social services provided 7287 hours of care to our families in the Short Breaks programme. Partnership for Every Child has a waiting list of families to receive this special respite care, so each contribution means that we can serve more and more families in need!
I would like to share with you a story about one of our families and their son, Misha, who has Cerebral Palsy. Misha has parents, but they gave him up when they understood that he has CP. He is now being raised by his elderly grandparents, who love Misha very much and spend all of their free time with him going for walks, studying and taking him to his medical appointments. Misha is very fortunate to have his grandparents to care for him, but like everyone, his grandmother and grandfather are often fatigued, and sometimes cannot manage simple tasks like going to store or running errands around the city. "Before we were accepted into the Short Breaks Programme, for two years, my wife and I were unable to do things such as visit my mother in law's grave", says Misha's grandfather. "My wife cannot drive 1.5 hours by herself, and there was no one with whom to leave our grandson. He has a difficult contrition, and we cannot ask our friends to stay with him, nor could we afford to pay a medical specialist to stay with him. Simply to call a stranger to babysit him could be dangerous!"
"Short Breaks" helps to solve problems like these for families in need. "Thanks to 'Short Breaks', my husband and I can also tend to our own health needs, or go to an occasional concert. We trust our foster family 100%. Misha loves Natalia Georgievna very much! They play together, study and go for walks. And my grandsons' circle of friends has grown. I don't know what would become of us without 'Short Breaks'!" -- Misha's grandmother.
The team and families of Partnership for Every Child are thrilled to count you among our supporters! Partnership for Every Child envisions a world in which every child lives in a safe and loving family which is supported to meet the childs' needs and develop the the childs' abilities and potential. This is our vision, but we need the support and partnership of people like you to help us achieve this!
Our Short Breaks programme matches families with children to caring temporary foster families who offer love, affection and a home at a time when their parents most need respite. Your contribution to this programme made a real difference in the lives of families and children in need. With your assistance, the Short Breaks programme services were expanded to include 123 children from 101 families, with 75 families using the Short Breaks therapeutic serivces on a regular basis. In the last month of 2012 our GlobalGiving campaign raised $5,140 USD which enabled us to expand respite care services to 20 more children in need!
We will keep you informed of our progress on a regular basis and are so pleased to count you among those who want to help families in crisis stay together!
With friendship and thanks!
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