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Photo by Kostiantyn HRYSHYN, The Day
One of the pictures at the photo exhibit “Seeing With Your Heart” shows a girl of about five years of age tending her doll in a toy baby carriage like a true, loving mother. There is so much warmth and care in the heart of this child!
It was precisely for the purpose of finding the best parents for the children in the photos that Rinat Akhmetov’s Ukrainian Development Foundation, in collaboration with the journal Tvoi malysh (Your Little Kid), organized this photo exhibit at the Bottega Gallery.
Says Tetiana Trehobchuk, director of Ukrainian Development’s department for external contacts: “Project ‘No to Orphanhood!’ has been underway for one and a half years. During this time 303 children have found new families, thanks to our website with information about adoptable children. In other words, the adoption procedures have been considerably simplified: all it takes is visiting our site and dialing our hot-line number.”
There are more than 100,000 such children in Ukraine, with over 20,000 institutionalized. A poll carried out by the National Academy’s Institute of Demography and Social Studies, in collaboration with the Ukrainian Development Foundation, shows that a mere 19 percent of the respondents are prepared to adopt a child. Among the main reasons behind this restrained attitude in Ukraine are the presence of own children, a wrong age, and inadequate financial aid from the state. According to the respondents, in order to increase the number of adoptions, the living standards must be raised, and the social status of adoption and the adoptive family improved in the first place. Only four percent of respondents agree with institutionalization as a way to raise and educate the orphans.
Five photographers — Daria Pavlova, Maryna Karpii, Oleksandr Indychy, Dmytro Larin and Hanna Hordiichuk — took part in the project. They took pictures in various boarding schools and children’s homes in five Ukrainian cities: Kyiv, Kharkiv, Odesa, Donetsk, and Uzhhorod. After Kyiv (June 10), the photo exhibit will travel to these cities.
Says Maria Karpii: “I took pictures at boarding schools in Donetsk because I was born there. All the children were amazingly open-hearted, emotional, independent, and markedly individual, so I tried to convey these traits to the viewer. The good thing is that these photos don’t make you feel sorry for these children. There is no place for sorrow when there is love. In my pictures I tried to show their emotions. They were so sincere, so heartwarming. They love and help each other.”
Bottega Gallery’s owner and curator Maryna Shcherbenko notes that these photos are an excellent opportunity for adults to discover the children’s shining happy world. These children are waiting for their new parents!
#31, Tuesday, 8 June 2010
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