ChildAid provides 100% of funding for a room in the Children’s Hospital in Dneprodzerzhinsk, Ukraine, in which babies and children who are orphaned through parental abandonment and neglect can be treated for their medical needs, cared for and loved.
This story illustrates the plight of the children our partners have cared for:
Anton was only one year and one month old when he came into our care. His parents were extremely young, both recently having themselves left an orphanage and possessing no parenting skills. The boy could not do anything normally expected of a child of this age and was undernourished. While in hospital he put on 5kgs in weight. In the meantime the parents were legally deprived of their parental rights and the child sent to the Baby Home.
Your support for this area of ChildAid’s work means that we can bring loving compassion into all these situations and at the nearby Baby Home too where we continue to supply much needed food and nappies.
ChildAid has for many years supported one nurse in the children’s hospital caring for babies without mothers.
Another charity had worked with Abandoned Babies for 9 years, and for a wide variety of reasons, decided to cease this aspect of their ministry. This, quite obviously, created gaps in the care of neonates and young babies which could not be allowed to continue and, accordingly, ChildAid has recently expanded its work to fill them.
So we now support an additional three specialist staff working in a Baby Home in Ukraine, one of whom is a physiotherapist. The advantage of doing this, despite the attendant additional costs, is that it enables us to provide a seamless and structured system of care from abandonment to sickness and so on, providing among many other things, health hygiene, creams, food, medication, nappies and additional help for those who live with disability.
The Baby Home is very small but currently cares for 53 children, all of whom are aged from 0-4 years. 11 are under one year old. 6 live with disabilities and 36 have been abandoned because their parents are simply unable to cope with them – often for financial reasons.
Aolina was unable to hold her own head up and could not walk. Her eyes continually reversed into their sockets. Otherwise she cried and was a disturbed child. After 2 years intensive treatment by our partners which included mental and physical stimuli and play in a shallow paddling pool Aolina is now able to walk very carefully and slowly. She smiles and understands when people speak to her but cannot (yet?) respond. Aolina is 4 years old.
Another child weighed only 600gm, or 1.3 pounds, at birth and was, of course, extremely unlikely to survive more than a short time. Our partners made a quick and emergency medical intervention to ensure that life could be sustained and feeding take place through a series of tubes. Today this child is able to walk and play with bricks, draw and hold spoons and begin to eat properly.
2 other children were born to mothers who had been drug users during pregnancy with the consequence that the babies were addicted too and are now having to undergo “withdrawal treatment”. 4 more children were born to alcoholic mothers. These infants are very nervous, unstable and constantly rock back and forth; our partners have taken charge of their therapy and recovery.
During quieter summer months our Nurse has worked with 17 children all of whom have been directly abandoned or whose parents have had their parental rights removed as a result of legal proceedings against them. Almost all the young children have been abandoned because they live with differing forms of disability or are HIV+. Our nurse has, of course, given them the medical help they need and has also provided nappies, medicine and baby food which is not otherwise available on the ward. She plays an essential role in showing the loving care and support which these young children lack.
This is best illustrated by three recent examples: When Bogdan came into the ward he was only 13 months old. He was extremely unsettled and constantly banged his head against the side of his cot. He had never been shown any love or affection. He refused it to the point that every time our nurse touched him, picked him up to care for him or conduct a procedure he simply cried and cried. Gradually, and by giving him constant care and love he began to be calm and even able to smile.
Ira is three months old and was removed from her alcohol addicted parents at 3 am. Although Ira had been breast fed she was extremely ill, in much pain and often vomited violently. Our nurse discovered that little Ira was also poisoned by alcohol. With good food and medical care Ira is now doing well and is as baby of her age should be. We have also cared for a boy who is two and a half years old and HIV+ whose parents are in prison. He is extremely ill and weak. With the determined work of our nurse his condition is now stable.
ChildAid has recently replaced the old and dilapidated windows in the baby ward and purchased a double action air-conditioning unit which will maintain a good ambient temperature, keeping the babies cool in summer and warm in winter. We have also increased our funding for Love Ukraine whose work takes place in the Baby Home in the city to which most of the children go after leaving our ward in the hospital.
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