Feb 19, 2020

Timosha's mama thanks you for supporting her son

Timosha and his mama are in the centre
Timosha and his mama are in the centre

Timosha is a member of our St Petersburg group. Like all the children in this group, he has physical challenges that means he can only sit and stand with support. These also affect his ability to talk. Timosha doesn’t speak, but thanks to our work, that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t communicate. Far from it!

His mama tells us,

"Timosha has been coming to the project for two years. He can understand speech well, as well as pictures, photographs and a few familiar written words. This year, Timosha got a communication book, which he has been actively using at home and at sessions. He quickly understood how the book worked and now we are increasing the number of pictures and making the structure more complex. Timosha is also learning to understand rules, to take turns, and to accept other people’s choices. We are practising these skills in games and Timosha is making great progress. Most of all during the group sessions, Timosha likes the tea and biscuits, letters, playing hide and seek with little toys, and writing words with help. He uses his communication book in all his games.

Everything has changed since we joined the project two years ago. I have felt colossal support, Tim has started to change and loves going to the sessions. What’s most important is that we have concrete goals and understand where we are going. Timosha doesn’t talk, and we can’t always understand what he wants. Now, thanks to the project, we have a communication book, which Timosha can use to ask for a drink, to choose what he wants for breakfast, to tell us where he wants to go, or what he wants to play. He can even tell us what mood he is in. It’s great!

At the sessions with the physio, Tim is learning to sit at a table with a support on his legs, to stand at a support, to transfer his weight and to use his left hand. We practice all this at home when we are playing and in our daily routines. When we started coming here, Timosha couldn’t do any of this without adult help. Now he can! Timosha has also learnt to interact with other adults and children, to wait and to observe rules. Our family is very grateful to be part of the project. Thank you!"

We video some of our sessions and put them on YouTube so that professionals and families can see how we work and the progress the children can make.  You can see Timosha at work with his mama and his speech and language therapist by following the link below.  I'm sorry we haven't sub-titled the video.  You may also wish to skip the first minute of intro, especially if you don't read Russian.


Feb 5, 2020

Homeless forego New Year party to help the poor

New Year food delivery
New Year food delivery

In December we received the money for the New Year celebration kindly donated by the donors on GlobalGiving and we started our preparations with great joy. However soon we received very sad news. Those of you with long memories may remember Luka, a boy with 5 siblings, whose father died. Luka’s mother was sick and unable to work, his elder sister and brother were studying well and they couldn’t afford to work, since they had a lot of study. Luka was fast at doing his homework and had more free time, so he decided to get a little money from the street and help out his mother. This is how our assistant Jemal met him and brought him to Mkurnali. Since that time Luka has never worked on the streets again.  

Luka is 14 years old now and it turned out that he is now struggling with one of the deadliest types of cancer. When this news was broken to Mkurnali’s residents, our young people refused to celebrate New Year and instead decided to buy and share essential food products between the present and former families that Mkurnali has helped, including Luka’s family. Amongst our beneficiaries were Marina’s family (4 children, between 6 and 12 years old and 5 adults), Christina and Arthur’s family (4 children, 4-6 years old and two adults with learning disabilities) and other families. The children were keen to help us buy food and joined us on a few shopping trips.  

For us it was our way to express our sympathy to Luka and make little kids from other families happy. Thank you to every one of you for supporting us 




Dec 31, 2019

Two families your donations have helped


Over the last term we have been getting to know many new families, as well as delighting in the progress of old friends.  

Those of you with long memories may remember a family we told you about at the start of this year.  The mother used to come to our club with her son, Slava, who has a Cochlear Implant and was pregnant.  Her son, Fedya, was born safely, but screening showed that he had hearing loss.  To add to their difficulties, the mother lost her hearing following the birth of her son.

Nearly a year on, and Fedya is a lovely, confident boy of 15 months.  He has a hearing aid is is making great progress with his speech.  He can already say "mama", "papa", and "baba" and names some of his toys: "Meow" for his cat and "Moo" for his cow.

Fedya's favourite toy is the doll's bed.  He starts off by putting the dolls in, but then climbs in himself.  Sometimes he has competitors, but they manage to peacefully resolve the situation and both sit in the bed together.

Fedya and Salva's mother is also doing well.  She has had a Cochlear Implat fitted, which can replace the sensation of hearing.  Those parents whose children have a CI ask her how she hears the world around her now.  She is able to compare her current experience with what her natural hearing used to be like.  The parents are very glad to be able to get some insight into their children's experience with a CI.  Slava is three now and goes to kindergarten.

Olya is just a little older than Fedya at 18 months old and has a CI.  She joined our Club with her mother three months ago.  What a difference we have seen since that time.  Whereas before she would cling to her mother, now she actively explores our playroom and happily plays alongside other children.  She comes up to the adults, not just her mother, to show them a toy she likes or to ask for a toy.  She has also started to make lots of sounds and we are confident that soon she will say her first word.  We and her mother are so pleased with her progress. 

We wish you all a happy new year and thank you for all your support through the last twelve months.  Your generosity translates into such fantastic progress as well as the reassurance of finding friends who really understand.  Thank you!

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