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Support grieving children and families in Slovakia

by Pontis Foundation
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Support grieving children and families in Slovakia
Support grieving children and families in Slovakia
Support grieving children and families in Slovakia

This year thanks to support of many people and institutions we were able to organize Therapeutic weekend for grieving families. From 27th till 29st of September, 2019 in Podkylava 14 families from all over Slovakia (24 adults and 21 children) attended weekend activities led by team of Plamienok professionals (therapists and psychologists) and trained volunteers.

Through the theme “Planets and Galaxies“ we tried to help families in their bereavement process. We prepared a program with many activities: trip to the castle, yoga, sport, music concert, sharing and talking about the loss through the topic of planets and galaxies. Families with their children could symbolically create their own planet and be part of the Universe where also other planets move. We tried to show the families that they are not alone, we can inspire each other how to move forward in life and still there is a possibility to experience nice and joyful moments in their lives.

We are pleased to be able to publish these pictures that demonstrate wisdom and inner transformation of many children and give us a lot of satisfaction.

Thank you for your support.

Yours sincerely,

MUDr. Mária Jasenková, CEO of PLAMIENOK n.o.

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This year thanks to support of many people and institutions we were able to organize 10th Therapeutic summer camp for children and young people after the loss of their close relative. From 14th till 21st of July, 2019 in Lubietová 41 children from all over Slovakia attended the camp activities led by team of ten professionals (therapists and psychologists) and trained volunteers. Through the theme "Treasure Mountain“ we tried to help children and adolescents in their bereavement process.

We have the mountain inside and treasures that enriched us and we can share with others. Games, creative activities, trips and therapeutic sharing during the camp helped children discovered their own treasure mountain. In the pictures below they decided to create for us and our donors, maybe you can find inspiration for your own life. In this way we help each other and grow together.

We are pleased to be able to publish these pictures that demonstrate wisdom and inner transformation of many children and give us a lot of satisfaction. 

This project is managed by Plamienok. Thank you for keeping up with us!

 

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Dr. Veronika with a patient
Dr. Veronika with a patient

The work of a doctor in Plamienok is a mission and a journey.
Veronika Jandová (28) decided to work as a doctor in Plamienok four years ago. Today she claims it is a job for courageous people with humility and a sense of adventure who want to work on themselves.
 
What is the work of a doctor in Plamienok like?
It's diverse. If I compare it with the work of a doctor in the hospital, which I had the opportunity to experience, working in Plamienok is much more personal and in a good way forces one to grow personally. If I look back at where I was three years ago, it's I see quite a nice journey.

Why?
If we met three years ago, our conversation would certainly look different. I would say less confidently, less thought-out, I would hardly be told of my losses and I think the first impression would be different. At Plamienok we work a lot with emotions and find ourselves in no easy situations. This leads a person to look inside himself and to look more into himself. He examines how he himself is set in life, where his priorities are, what his experience is. He certainly knows himself more and finds the resources of his power. It detects where it is going and understands what is going on around it and in it. As a result, she knows herself better and feels better about her life.

What is another work for an institution that provides children's home hospice care compared to hospital work?

It's a completely different system of work. I am more free in Plamienok and I appreciate  the length of time we visit families. We visit one family a day we can spend an hour or more. This is incomparable with a hospital where you can have twenty minutes for a child.

What are you looking forward to doing for Plamienok?

Probably just contact with people. Many people think that our work is very sad and depressing. They ask us how we can do it. They think that we are working with dying children and their families, who are desperate and all just crying ... But often it is the other way around. I perceive that the people we meet can live and be happy despite the fact that they are in a difficult situation and despite what they are waiting for. It fills me with energy, too. Also, I am more aware of the joys of life and the little things I can look forward to.

Was there anything you were not prepared for in the medical work for Plamienok? Something that was an adventure?
Certainly, you cannot be completely prepared for this kind of job. Already when a person decides to study to medicine, he or she chooses a certain mission. It is also about what their preferences. Whether they prefer more practical work in a hospital or a job where people also accompany and can help patients in ways other than medical. Surely there are doctors who are more attracted to saving lives than accompanying. But for me accompanying patients and their families is a fascinating part of this work. It is surely beautiful to bring children into the world - it is a secret to the birth of life. But the same secret is also leaving them. And perhaps I myself am also looking for answers to what will happen next ... It is perhaps about accepting one's own finality.

What makes doctor's work different from the work of other employees in the organization?

We mainly deal with health issues. We are those who are on duty 24 hours a day. We are on the phone solving the current children's health problems. But it's not just about it. There will also be unexpected, sudden events, and then creativity. The whole accompaniment is creative activity.

Many people may think that such work cannot be sustained. After all, you have contact with the suffering of children, with dying ... What is your way to relax and decompress?
It is partly about the personal setting of how one perceives suffering. I think our work makes a lot of sense. It is precisely this suffering that we are eliminating to a great extent. I'm a pretty active person. When I have a bad day, I'm going to go jogging. Nature helps me. Plus the silence and loneliness I experience there.

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505 visits to families with incurably ill children around Slovakia

During the past year (2018) thanks to our home care palliative program 26 incurable children could safely stay with their families at home. Our home care professional team (doctors, nurses, social worker) visited them regularly in their natural family environment. More life, less pain for children and families, for us and for our donors and supporters is our vision we want to achieve. During the whole year, we visited families 505 times. We also provided 24 hrs phone medical consultation for parents during the whole year in order to improve their care and comfort at home.

We comprehensively approached the families and paid attention to every member of the household. In total, we spent 462 hours with the families at home. We offered them professional medical, nursing care, psychological support and social counselling. If needed, we facilitated communication with schools, employers and other governmental authorities.

Grieving children overcome their pain thanks to you

The Centre of Grief Therapy provides professional psychological and psychotherapeutic help for children and families who suffer the loss of a loved one (father, mother, sibling, child, etc.)  We also provide social counselling. Centre offers its services to children and adolescents all around Slovakia who have lost a loved one under any circumstance, as well as to families who have lost a child. Our aim is to help bereaved children and their families to overcome feelings of isolation, pain, guilt, anxiety and other feelings which occur after the death of a loved one. We help them to cope with the loss of a loved one and rediscover colors of life. We try to create a safe space where children, adolescents and families could be free to share their feelings, memories and thoughts. In 2018 in Centre of Grief Therapy we helped 116 clients (49 children and 67 adults ) during 759 individual and family therapeutic sessions.

All services, home visits as well as all services of Centre of Grief therapy are free of charge. Professional help could be offered to incurable and bereaved children only thanks to trust and generous support of our donors.

Thank you very much for helping us! We do help together!

Words of thanks we received from a family are words they wrote also for all our donors:

We have received more than we had hoped for. I think that in the beginning, we had no expectations. We just knew that our aim was to have Ondrejko at home. As a family, we wished to be at home, together. And it is true, that we were vulnerable. We were vulnerable and we didn’t know “what”, we didn’t know “how” but the help came from you. And not only the physical help, that you came to our house, checked Ondrejko’s chest, measured his oxygen saturation, etc. You also listened to us and I always felt a little stronger when you were leaving. You showed me how to massage him so he could breath better. We arranged with your doctors to create together some kind of a carousel for him. That was not a standard medical aid. You’ve provided us with above standard services. And it was always so pleasant, I always looked forward to your visit. I don’t even know how to express it. It was very enjoyable. We were here with Hanka and Ondrejko and you were here for us. I always looked forward to meeting you so much!” Katarína K.

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We are very grateful for generosity and support you provide to our organization – PLAMIENOK, n.o. Thanks to your donations we were able to organize 9th summer therapeutic camp for children and adolescents who lost a loved one. It took place in the week of 21st to 28th of July in Cremošné. 57 children participated in the camp with a theme „Magic Garden“. They were accompanied by the team of our experts (7) and specially trained volunteers (9).

During a grieving process we may feel like being in the deserted garden. However, when we invite somebody else to this garden, something magical can happen. And this became the main narrative for the program of the camp. During one week the children could discover the magical world of gardens: they had visited and explored secret places, participated in creative workshops, talked, danced, sang, played and laughed together.

Children are grieving in the same way as adults do, but not always we are able to recognize their grief. During the camp, we tried to prepare safe environment for children and adolescents so they can open up, speak, find acceptance and understanding from other children with the similar life experience. The program of the camp offered also a lot of possibilities to have fun, to enjoy the nature and each other. We believe each child and teenager who participated in the camp brought a piece of that enjoyment and happiness from the camp to their homes and now they are sharing it with their families and loved ones.

What the camp meant for children is best captured by their own words:

„Dear Plamienok, thank you for everything – new friends, smiles at our faces....“ Beátka, 8 years

„I felt great here with you. Great activities, fun, insights. And we should support each other“. Martin, 9 years

„Wonderful memories and experiences. The best camp with the best people!“ Nicolas, 16 years

We also enclose some photos and video so you can experience the atmosphere of the summer therapeutic camp „Magic Garden“. We are glad that together with you we can bring more life and happiness into the individual „gardens of our children“. Thank you for helping us to fulfill our mission.

Video from the camp „Magic Garden“ can be found on PLAMIENOK`s n.o. You Tube in section Videos. Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gQr4WnKvnhw

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Organization Information

Pontis Foundation

Location: Bratislava, Slovakia - Slovakia
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Bratislava, Slovakia

Funded Project!

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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