Jul 5, 2019

The little superstars your donations are helping


Our club for toddlers with hearing problems has broken up for the summer now. Happily we ended the year on a really positive note for two of our families. On the face of it, our sessions are very similar every week, but for us they are full of events – little breakthroughs that mean a huge amount to parents and make a great difference to their children’s lives.

Vanya started coming to our club about a month and a half ago. His hearing problem was diagnosed very late, when he was already two. Hearing aids were recommended, and his parents got him some straight away. They come regularly to the club and also take him to other activities especially for deaf children. The problem was that Vanya just wouldn’t join in and would often cry. We advised his mother to simply join in the activities with us and the other families and not to worry. For the first few sessions, Vanya ran around, climbed on the soft play blocks, but every now and then he would look over to see what we were doing. On the fourth session Vanya decided himself to join in. Now he takes part in all the activities and even shows the other children what to do. His mother can’t believe the change. She even got his dad to come and see how he joined in without any “force” from the teachers.

Our other little boy is also two and has a cochlear implant. All our children develop at different rates, and this little boy has been slow to start speaking. His mother was getting worried. She wondered if she was doing everything right, if our club was enough for him, or whether she ought to be going to other activities. We could see, of course, that he was very observant and was trying to communicate. We tried to reassure her but it was difficult for her to see what we saw. So imagine her delight when he started to talk. Now he names quite a few different objects and actions now, can ask for things, and, most important, he calls her “Mama”.

We look forward to September when we start meeting again. We’ll see some of the same children again and will meet some new families. We hope you will continue to follow our reports so you can see how your donations are helping them all make progress.

Jun 23, 2019

Thanks for financial literacy session for orphans

Feeling confident at our workshop on finances
Feeling confident at our workshop on finances

First of all, I must apologise for the report on another project that we sent to you by mistake earlier this month.  We haven't shared your e-mail address with any other organisation and would never do so.  We're not going to bombard you with e-mails about other areas of our work.  It was a slip up that we won't make again.

Back to the work you support with orphanage leavers - we know that many young people leaving Russian orphanages struggle to manage their money. It is one of the top concerns that members of our support group like Tomash express to us. That's why last month we invited in a couple of organisations to run a workshop for our group on financial management. They made a potentially daunting subject accessible, getting our young people thinking through games. They taught them how to budget,how to save, and encouraged them to try and earn money by getting a job. We are really glad that our young people are now aware of the risks of taking out payday loans and of various scams and cons.

We back up this group work with individual help. Tomash had been coming to our group for about four years when he moved out into his own flat aged 19. Our social worker helped him open a bank account and to find out how and where to pay his rent. They worked out a plan for making essential repairs to his flat economically and to a good standard.  

Vitally, this practical help was accompanied by emotional support.  Like so many others, the first night alone in his flat was very hard for Tomash.  He said, "I arrived from the children's home, shut the door and was on my own in an empty flat. I almost wanted to kill myself, but I wrote to you."  The phone calls with is support worker and talking to other members of our group really helped.  His peers were able to reassure Tomash that they had felt like that at first, and that he wasn't alone.

Now we are so proud of Tomash. He continues his studies, has a job in a cafe, and has found an amateur dramatics group where he can express his creativity.

Thank you to our GlobalGiving community. You make it possible for us to provide this group and individual support that reaches vulnerable young people in their greatest need.

Tomash at the cafe where he works
Tomash at the cafe where he works
Jun 22, 2019

Preparing for the orphans' summer camps you fund

Taras, Dima and Kostya collect firewood.
Taras, Dima and Kostya collect firewood.

Last time we reported to you, we told you how we have been preparing our families for the intense experience that is summer camp.  It is vital that we prepare our parents emotionally and practically, by advising them on saving up for the trip and what they will need to bring.  

Since then, we have been able to visit our log cabin with a group of volunteers and start to repair the damage from 12 metres of snow and winter temperatures below 30 degrees C.  As we suspected, the roof of our eating area was damaged by the snow.  The weight of it caused roof covering to crack, which then let in the water when the snow melted.  We put in place temporary repairs.

Quite apart from this we also, painted our playground equipment, put down a wooden floor in our group work area, cut the grass, cleared rubbish from the outside areas, cut down trees and bushes that could become a fire-risk in summer and chopped firewood for our stove.  You can see we weren't idle!

All this work is so that we can host five summer camps this year.  These include the summer camps you know about and are helping fund so generously for parents who grew up in orphanages and their children.  This year we'll be running one camp for those with young children, and one for those with teenagers.  In addition we'll also be running summer camps for families who have adopted children from orphanages and need support to bond and deal with the damage caused by their child's difficult start in life as well as for young people who are about to leave, or have just left, the orphanage system.

We are very grateful to our volunteers, many of whom are also members of our programmes.  In the photo Dima's mother grew up in an orphanage and they are members of our support group.  Taras and Kostya grew up in orphanages themselves and are members of our support group for young people who are about to leave or have just left the orphanage system.  We are very proud of them for sharing the responsibility for making this year's camp a success and for working so hard.

We have very limited access to the internet over the summer months, so we will report back on our summer camps when we get back to the big city.  I am sure we will have lots of news to share.

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