Help 30 Russian kids with hearing loss communicate

by St Gregory's Foundation
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Help 30 Russian kids with hearing loss communicate
Help 30 Russian kids with hearing loss communicate
Help 30 Russian kids with hearing loss communicate
Help 30 Russian kids with hearing loss communicate
Help 30 Russian kids with hearing loss communicate
Help 30 Russian kids with hearing loss communicate
Help 30 Russian kids with hearing loss communicate
Adelia's first birthday
Adelia's first birthday

Before the summer holidays we said goodbye to all but three of our families as the children started kindergarten.  Now our popular clubs are fully subscribed and we are beginning to get to know the new children and their families.

Already, just two weeks into the new term we have celebrated a birthday.  Adelia celebrated her first birthday at our club.

It is really extraodinary how quickly most of the children make themselves at home with us.  Adelia is the youngest member of the club, but she is an excellent observer and investigator.  She has already found a favourite toy, a pussy cat, and hangs on to him for a long time.  She doesn't just watch the other children, but approaches them, climbs on our soft play blocks, throws balls, and gives her toys back when she is asked! She loves copying the other children if they clap.  We are sure that Adelia will continue to surprise us with her successes as we get to know her better.

As we get to know all our new families better we will let you know how they get on.  They are very thankful that such a club exists and we are thankful to you for making it possible.  We have a waiting list for families who would like to join us, but unfortunately we have to limit numbers so that we can pay enough attention to each child.  The positive side is that we teach our families how to learn, communicate and have fun at home, and many of them pass on what they have learnt to their friends.

Adlia with her pussy cat
Adlia with her pussy cat
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One of our special little boys
One of our special little boys

Happy New Year to you! We particularly welcome you if you are one of those wonderful people who gave for the first time recently.  Today we'd like to tell you a little about what we've been getting up to this holiday season, and also to tell you a scarcely believable story about one of the families we are helping.

This first time we met this special family, the mother was 8 months pregnant.  She came to our Club with her little boy and his grandmother.  The boy had a cochlear implant in one ear (which can allow severely deaf people to perceive sounds) and a hearing aid in the other, After this first visit, it was babushka who brought the little boy to our sessions.  We would ask her how his mama was doing, whether the baby had arrived yet. 

One Thursday evening we heard the news, which was joyful and sad at the same time.  The baby had been born, but had not passed the hearing screening test.  The family had just got over the stress of one child’s diagnosis, when they realised that their new baby would also have problems.  After lots of investigation, it was confirmed that the baby would indeed be deaf.  Incredible as it may sound, the family’s troubles didn’t end there.  The mother also lost her hearing quite suddenly.    

Now the boy comes to our Club with his babushka and we can’t help but notice how this very shy boy, who was scared of everything and clung to his babushka is growing into a wonderful child.  Every Thursday we see a quite different child in front of us! He is becoming brave: he is happy to leave his babushka, will fight over the toys like any toddler, and doesn’t need to hold on to his rucksack any more.  The little boy is a great mimic, and loves joking around with our teachers.

His mama has been given hearing aids to try out and is working with the specialists to find the optimum settings.  As to the little baby, soon he will also have hearing aids fitted and we will welcome him to our baby group later this year.  We wish this extraordinary family every success!

And now, about our New Year party, which we held at the end of December.  We decorated a tree and of course, invited Father Frost who brings presents to Russian children at New Year.  We prepared the children for this special encounter, showed them pictures of Father Frost and told them all about him.  It was still a great surprise when he arrived!  The children enjoyed playing snowball fights with him, singing and dancing together, showed him what they had learnt especially playing their percussion instruments.  Father Frost praised them all and gave them presents.

When it came to having their pictures taken with him, most of the children suddenly turned shy again.  Lev was one of the brave ones, and he had a lovely picture taken with his mama.  Lev has been coming to the club since he was nine months and now he’s nearly 2.  He can already pronounce a few words like mama, baba, and meow – kisa (meow – kitty).  Until last month he had just one cochlear implant fitted, and now he has one on both ears.  We will be helping him learn afresh how to recognise the sounds around him and we expect his speech will come on even more soon.

Thank you once again for enabling us to help all our special children and their families.

Lev, his mama, and Valentina with Father Frost
Lev, his mama, and Valentina with Father Frost
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Thank you to everyone who has contributed to our project over the last few years.  Your generosity has helped us to reach our fundraising target early.  This means that we will be able to provide support to toddlers with hearing problems and their families right through 2015.

Thanks to you, 30 todders will receive music therapy and speech therapy to help them tune into the world around them.  They will be able to play and socialise in a supportive environment, which helps them develop as rounded characters.  Their parents will have a source of information about treatments and therapies available, helping them make their own decisions about what is best for their children.  They will also gain strength and confidence from contact with other parents in similar situations.

This is our final report about the Club through Global Giving, but it isn't the only way to keep in touch. 

St Gregory's Foundation runs a range of projects to help disabled and otherwise disadvantaged children and young people in Russia and the former Soviet Union.  You can find out about the other projects we have listed on Global Giving here:

Do let me know if you would like to hear news from our Club for Hearing Impaired Toddlers through 2015 and see how your donation has helped.  My e-mail address is

Thank you once again.  I wish you all a very happy festive season.


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Camilla and her mama are members of our Club for toddlers with impaired hearing that you have generously helped to sponsor.   Some time ago she had a cochlear implant fitted and has just come back to the club.  A cochlear implant can help replace the sensation of hearing for some deaf people.  As soon as she came back we could see that Camilla had changed a lot!  She has begun to make a lot of sounds and syllables.  She can hear herself and the other children and adults.  When she's playing with the other children she is always "saying" something.  Her mama says that at home too Camilla is always trying to talk.  She shows she can hear by cupping her hand to her ear and saying "hear!".

Camilla's mama is so happy to see her success! Her papa is also very hapy, although for a long time he didn't want Camilla to have the implant.  Now he watches Camilla's progress with interest and enjoys chatting to her.

Before deciding about the implant, Camilla's mama spent a long time talking to the other parents at our Club, watching the other children with implants learning to talk.  She talked to the other children, read up on the subject and talked to our experts.  She discussed all this with her husband, and they decided to go ahead.  It's very important that this was totally their decision rather than the professionals'.  We see all our parents as partners who know their children best of all.  The parents find this very refreshing and when they trust us the results are even better.  Now we're all celebrating Camilla's progress and thank you for helping her reach this point.  

We want to help more families like Camilla and her parents and we hate having to turn families away.  So, in January, we are starting another group on Wednesday afternoons.  To make this possible, parents will make a small contribution of just 200 Roubles (the equivalent of $3.70 of £2.30).  This means that your donations this December will help double the number of children and we will be very grateful for any help you can offer.

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Our parents have always been at the heart of our club for hearing impaired toddlers and their families.  We recognise that they know their children best and influence their development far more than we can alone.  For most of our parents this is a new experience.  They are not used to being taken seriously by specialists.

During our summer break we took four of our parents to a conference organised by Hands and Voices, a US parents' group for parents with hearing impaired children.  With generous funding from the US side we were able to travel to Savannah, Georgia, and meet other parents in similar situations.  Natasha and Masha, Alla and Zoya talked to the American parents about how to support parents at different stages in their lives, how to teach hearing impaired children and other topics that interested them all.  They plan to keep in touch with their new friends as there is so much more they want to discuss.

In October this year some of the American parents will return the visit and take part in a conference taking place in St Petersburg which is centred on communication.  Our group will be presenting a paper on communicating with hearing impaired children.

Our parents have grown in confidence and are excited by the new ideas they've been introduced to.  We hope the visit will lead to new ways for all our parents to support each other and share information.

Meanwhile, our club starts up again for the autumn, and we look forward to welcoming back some old faces and meeting new families.  Thank you very much for all you have done to keep our club running.

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Organization Information

St Gregory's Foundation

Location: Hampton Wick, Surrey - United Kingdom
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @SaintGregsFound
Project Leader:
Sarah Gale
Crewe, Cheshire United Kingdom

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Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.

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