Anna and her husband have accumulated a lot of debts. They had to sell the apartment and move to an old dilapidated house in the countryside. Spouses have 4 children. But there is noschool or kindergarten for them nearby.
Financial problems and problems with alcohol attracted the guardianship authorities’ attention. But there was not only the crisis they saw. They also admitted a strong attachment and love between all family members. So they appealed to our fund and asked to help the family.
First of all, the fund provided clothing and grocery support. The small house was made habitable, we helped to replace the old stove, equip sleeping places for children.
Anna's husband took an active part: he assembled furniture himself, unloaded firewood, which the foundation supplied to families before the cold weather.
After it all was done fund specialists started to work with alcohol addiction. There were alsoconsultations on financial literacy, elaboration of goals and plans, etc.
Now parents are paying off debts and wishing to return from the countryside to the town.
We are sure this family will cope!
Natalia, her husband and 4 sons live in a small house in the Smolensk region. They had to move from the apartment in Smolensk due to the financial debts. Still they have financial problems. A small house they moved in needed repair. There is no kindergarten or school in the village. So their life only became more complecated. Two oldest sons are able to get to the neighboring village to get to school. But their younger brothers (2 and 4 years old) now always stay with their mom. Difficult financial situation and periodic alcohol addiction caused the guardianship authorities attention. Though they saw not only the crisis, but also saw strong affection and love between all family members. That’s why they appealed to the «Our Children» Found with a request to help. The work with the family began almost immediately because Natalia did not argue, she understood that they really needed help and support. First of all clothing and grocery assistance was provided. The fund helped to make the small house habitable, the old almost non-working stove has been replaced with a new one, sleeping places for children were equipped. Natalia's husband took an active part: he assembled furniture himself, unloaded firewood, which the fund supplied to the family before the cold weather has set in. He is very hardworking and willing to work hard to help his family. After the house was put in order and the threat of freezing in winter has disappeared the fund specialists started to work with parents alcohol addiction, make plans to get out of the crisis, set goals. They also advised parents on financial literacy. Now Natalia and her husband are planning to pay off their debts for the apartment and return to the Smolensk. So they would have more opportunities to get a job, older children will go to school not far away from home, and the youngest ones will finally go to kindergarten. The family is very supportive and hardworking on crisis overcoming. And the fund and it’s specialists are always there to help and support on their way to the well-being.
Anna is a single mother to a 10-year-old daughter, Dasha, and works as a shop cleaner. Her husband abandoned them seven years ago, and her brother went missing at the same time. Anna inherited a house from her parents, though she never formalized the ownership of this property. Furthermore, its condition was practically unsuitable for life, and there was no money for rebuilding and repairs.
Anna called the “Our Children” (Deti Nashi) Charity Fund hotline, because she understood that, on her own, she could not cope with providing her daughter with everything she needed.
After the initial visit, the specialists of the Fund concluded that in addition to financial problems, the mother was under emotional distress caused by her husband’s abandonment, the loss of those she loved and her difficult financial situation. The woman simply did not have the moral strength and resources to improve her life, as she leaned over backwards to ensure that her daughter did not feel inferior to other children, but her salary was hardly enough to pay for utilities, groceries and essential goods.
The Fund’s psychologist worked with the family. Together with Anna they worked through her emotional state, problems with trust (after the leaving of her husband, who refused to help financially and did not pay alimony, the woman was extremely depressed and had a negative attitude towards men), low vitality, fears and self-doubt.
The woman lacked support, she had got used to being alone and lost hope that her situation would improve.
Although it was Anna who sought help from the Fund, she was wary of the Fund's employees. However, over time, she started to trust our specialists, and became to communicate more frankly and openly.
With the help of the Fund’s specialists, Anna started the formalization of her ownership of the house procedure. Thanks to the advice of our social pedagogue, Anna found a new place of work, where she was offered official employment, so now she will be able to apply for child benefit. The Fund also provided the family with material assistance and brought firewood.
This year, “Our Children” (Deti Nashi) Charity Fund has helped Anna with the repair of the floors and installed a new wood burning stove. Now her living conditions have become much more comfortable. Anna has gained confidence in the future and the vigour that will help her change her life. She has begun to keep the house clean and tidy, and this year she has decided to start a small vegetable garden near the house.
Vitya is thirteen years old, Sonya is ten, and they have recently moved into their father and his new wife’s home. Now Alexander and Anna have five children! But they are not discouraged, and we are sure they will cope!
Vitya and Sonya’s mum was deprived of parental rights in May. Immediately after that, the father took the children to live with him. Realizing that his ex-wife and her new husband cannot provide the children with proper care and attention, it was he who had initiated the process of deprivation of parental rights, turned to Social Services, and then gone to court. We have worked with Alexander since this January. First we provided legal assistance and jointly prepared the lawsuit to determine the children’s place of residence. Later we provided legal assistance in court. Now we are trying to relieve Alexander of the necessity to pay child support, which is still collected from him, despite the fact that the children already reside with him.
The son had been in touch with his father before, and often visited him, but the new family is a first experience for the daughter. However, the lively and talkative Sonya is getting used to it.
The Fund’s social counselor has guided Alexander all the time and continues to advise him on all emerging issues, according to the plan for organizing a joint life with children.
The Fund’s psychologist comes every week to work with both parents and children, who still hold a grudge against their mother for not being around them. We are working on child-parent relationships so that adaptation in a large family is successful. We teach them how to express emotions in an leveraged way, without suppressing them. We also show how to resolve conflicts and misunderstandings.
What is also very important for the family is simple moral support, the notion that someone is on their side. In the village, where everything is in plain sight, people are extremely afraid of gossip and rumours. Many neighbors felt tense about the appearance of two additional children in a family of five, especially as the newcomers behave in a completely different way. As the villagers see it, the upbringing of Vitya and Sonya needs to be refined.
Alexander works a lot. His job is official, although the salary is small. During the adaptation of the children, he took some time off, sacrificed money, but spent his energy on ensuring that the children got used to the new home.
Anna, the adoptive mother of Sonya and Vitya, has her own large vegetable garden. She does not work, and has completely devoted herself to the children and the household. When talking with the Fund's employees, the woman said that before taking the children, her husband had asked her advice and sought her support, and she was not against it - children need care and love!
“Anna and Alexander are open to dialogue,” says the foundation's psychologist, Alina, “this is very important. Nevertheless, Anna is not Vitya and Sonya’s biological mother, and men in general often shut down and are not ready to talk about complex topics related to parenthood. And it is extremely important that it was Alexander’s own wish and decision to take responsibility for the children and that he turned to us for help.”
Currently they are planning preparation for school. The Fund plans to do a screening test to see if Sonya needs to be transferred to a remedial class or if she can stay for a second year and subsequently catch up with the school curriculum.
At the moment, the Charity Fund “Our Children” (“Deti nashi”) supports 100 families, with 231 children. We help children by helping parents. After all, it is only in a family that a child receives care and love, learns everyday and communication skills, and develops the habits of living in society.
The family is the most resourceful environment for a person to grow up!
Let's work together to help children never be separated from their parents!
Charity Fund ‘Our children’ began to work with the family in January 2021 at the request of the Social Services of the Demidovsky district. The official request specified that the mother had problems with alcohol, and the father was beset with health issues. It was also indicated that the father had a criminal record.
In the course of the initial visit, the Fund’s specialists found out that Yuri, 67 years old man, was raising his son Vanya (2.5 years old) alone, while the mother of the child did not maintain any contact with either her son or his father. The marriage was not officially registered. The mother drew the child’s social benefit, so the family lived on Yuri's pension.
Yuri is a pensioner, a former military man and an engineer. He received higher education, served in the army, and did military service in Afghanistan. At some time in his life, he was married and worked in Moscow, where his adult children live.
When asked about his criminal record, the man said that at work they “wanted to make him liable for their debt”, and he hit a colleague.
In relation to his health problems, he wanted to apply for disability benefits, but the procedure was too complicated. Most of his monthly pension is spent on medicines.
The house is old, but sturdy. It is warm inside, but father and son had to go to the neighbors to wash, because the bathhouse had fallen into disrepair. The child is developed according to his age. The Fund specialists noted that the father is very attentive to his son, and there is a good, friendly relationship between them.
As Yuri stated, they don't need things, as Vanya has clothes and toys. The main difficulties lie in the lack of time for housekeeping: at his age, it is not easy to look after a child and run a household simultaneously, especially considering health problems. Yuri regularly takes loans for food from microfinance organizations, but repays everything on schedule.
The man asked the Fund for help with registering as disabled and legal assistance in depriving his son’s mother of parental rights.
Our legal service specialists prepared all the necessary documents and accompanied Yuri in court. Together, they managed to deprive Vanya’s mother of parental rights. Also, our lawyer helped in reissuing of all social benefits for the child, and this ameliorated the father’s financial situation. The specialists also helped Yuri register as disabled and claim all the benefits.
The case of Yuri and Vanya has been one of the most difficult cases of the Fund. The emotional connection, the bond between the father and son is very strong, but as the dad experiences serious health problems, he regularly goes to the hospital, and there is no one to leave Vanya with during these periods.
After a year of working with the family, the Fund's specialists have noted father’s incredible willpower, the desire to live and take care of his son. Yuri has successfully registered for free subsidized medicines and is doing his best to remain in stable condition.
The social pedagogue working with the family has drawn Yuri's attention to the fact that Vanya needs to communicate with other children. It is impossible to send a boy to a kindergarten, because it is far from his place and his father's state of health prevents it. But the social pedagogue and Yuri managed to find a way out: Yuri arranged with a multi-child family from the village for his son to spend time with his peers.
The Fund is helping the family with firewood and food. In March, specialists from the Fund’s humanitarian aid service helped repair the old, non-functioning bathhouse, as due to its absence, Yuri and Vanya had to go to the neighbors to wash! We bought all necessary things: planks, bricks, construction materials, and hired the workers. In the shortest possible time, we helped the family in the restoration of the old bathhouse.
Despite impaired health, the father carried out a “general” cleaning in the house, and is planning to patch up the barn and start livestock: chickens and piglets, as well as start a garden.
At the moment, the staff of the Fund and Yuri are thinking about a substitute guest family for the boy. This decision did not come easy for the father, but he assesses the situation with his health realistically. Therefore, now the efforts of the specialists will be channeled into a new format and extended to the work which the Fund has not done before. A child should have a support adult, and it is better if he is in a family, and not in an orphanage.
This story is a living example of unquenchable love for a son, the desire to live and take care of a child.
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