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On December 1st, 2011 we were on our way back from Kalinovka village after visiting the opening ceremony of a family-type orphanage. It was a dark highway, and one could see the first winter snow. I was overwhelmed with different thoughts:"Thank you, God, that I am truly happy. Thank you for everything I have. Thank you that I did not have to wait like these 9 children, who waited such a long time for volunteers to bring them love and a home!"
I remeber the day "Kalinovka" came into our lives, the terror in Albert's voice when saying "You cannot simply imagine that. Our hematology is much better compared to Kalinovka". I remember the step we tried to take so as to provide real support and help for improving the children’s lives. The apperance of Anna Gerashchenko and Mariana Voronovich in our charitable fund contributed to the establishing of a system and rational work. I recollect the first pictures of the boarding school children. It was pleasant to see them today, 4 years later. They grew up a little bit and changed. At that time the dream of a "family home" appeared, where 9 children could live in something like home conditions where they could study and develop. We estimated the cost of such a dream and lost our minds, because we did not know who would give money to disabled ophans, whom the medical board found to be hopeless and unable to learn?! 19 months after publishing our dream in an article on the website, we made it come true. And today we visited this family home.
We had many impressions from this day: individual moments and pictures touched us greatly.
"Let there always be sun, let there always be heaven, let always be a mother, let there always be me", - sang the children, calling out the word "mother" very distincly. At that moment, tears rolled down all of our faces, even the men. How could children who never knew a mother's gentle touch, understand the word "mother"?! How could they know, whether it was important to know that mother was near?. But, in fact, nobody knows it better than them.
Children who can walk help the ones who are in wheelchairs and not able to walk. Not every "learning disabled and hopeless" child could steer a wheelchair so carefully, without getting stuck in narrow places. Sasha is especially responsible and conscientious. When you observe him put a wheelchair in a line, you think that he is a real elder brother!
Girls from the consulting firm "Bagira", which paid for a great part of the house’s repair works, are very imposing business women. You could see how happily they crawled along the carpet together with the children, assembling a construction set. How cheerfully they laughed while letting go of balloons. I observed this picture and realized that those people invested money into the house’s construction not because they wanted to show a sense of charity, but because they are not indifferent people!!! They are not indifferent about the conditions children are living in, and what future they will have. What they are indifferent about is that these children were once called "hopeless".
Lyosha Romanov is observing the cheerful bustle of other children. He speaks so indistinctly that almost nobody understands him. That is why he does not attract attention to himself, because he will not be understood by other people. But on the other hand, if you approach him and speak to him, he gets animated, showing with all his appearance that he is glad to see you and that he is happy to have attention. Our purpose is to teach Lyosha to type on a computer. Perhaps in this way he could tell us about his feelings and dreams.
Sergey is the most talkative of all the children in the house.
- Are you already going back? – the boy asks me.
- Yes, I should work – I told and stopped for a while – Children can scarcely understand what it means "to work".
- Do you work together with Albert? What do you do? – the boy is trying to find out everything in detail.
- I help children.
- Do you help other handicapped children?
- I help both handicapped children and children who are ill with different diseases.
- You have useful work. Then you should really go, - answers Sergey thoughtfully. I am looking into his eyes and asking myself: how could such a boy end up in the boarding school for children who have learning difficulties? Moreover, it is extremely bitter to realize that if Sergey had had a family, that there would have been almost no difference between him and his peers.
Lyosha Makarov, our "star", is a boy without hands and legs, who despite this fact is able to take the toys from away from the other children. He can draw, gather pyramids and many other things. While the other children are playing balloons, Lyosha is deliberately examining the contents of his fancy box. Slowly, but extraordinary dexterously, he takes the toys out of the fancy box with his teeth, puts them close to him and examines them. He gets indignant when other people try to help him: he is an independent boy and he can cope with his toys by himself.
Yura, who wanted to get into my hands, told me in an imperative tone: "Go to Valya!" (Valya is a teacher). When we came up to Valya, he told: "Valya, look, this is my mother". Then he introduced me as "mother" to all the teachers, who were in the house. He took my hands, twisted them around himself and said "Tight!”. When I took my hand off of him, he put it into the previous position and repeated: "You should embrace me tight". I embraced Yura tight and remembered the way he wanted to be embraced by me a long time ago, demanding "Tight!". The other orphan Andrey, who was treated at the hematological department, now has a caring family abroad. His new mother now embraces the boy tight and for a long time. But Yura does not have such a family and whether he will have such a family is a great question. For the last 40 years no child was adopted from Kalinovka.
Many pictures were passing through my head while I was going back home in my car along a dark highway to the city of Zaporozhye. I pondered over the particular moments and thought what I should write about this day. No, I thought HOW to write about all this: about "Kalinovka", the children, the "family house", the problems and solutions which we see. How can I write about it so that it will be heard by the readers and sponsors?! Opening a house is a great, but it’s only the first step in the project implementation of "establishing a family house". Many steps should be taken to make our great dream come true. We need teachers, rehabilitation specialists, speech therapists, development games, educational aids, a playground and many other things which cost money. It means that we need the help of kind people. Not virtual children, but real handicapped children need this help! Individual children need help! Precocious Sasha, Lyosha, inquisitive Sergey, dexterous Lyosha who plays toys without hands and legs, gentle Yura and the other four boys are in need of your help!
I went home and thought "How happy I am! I am coming back to my home, where my parents are waiting for me, who love me despite my physical challenges, and who will surely embrace me, when I get home after a difficult day! What happiness it is to have all this!". I also thought that it is a great responsibility to have such happiness, as one can be boastful of his happiness, but at the same time one can share it with others and help other people to be a little bit happier. And we decide by ourselves what to do with our happiness. Unfortunately, we don’t always decide to be sharing. When you help other people, your happiness does not get less; on the contrary it gets larger. It is really marvelous to make other people a little bit happier, to make the world a little bit happier.
BWT Group, Zaporizhzhia (Ukraine)
COMUNIDAD HUMANA, Portugal
Deb Showalter, USA
David Sudermann, USA
Eleanore Kids charity, USA
Future Youth Project, Great Britain
Irina A. Belova-Nathe, USA
Joel Smith, USA
Stephen Kish, USA
Ukraine Charity, Great Britain
Anna Zubitskaya, Kiev (Ukraine)
Inna Klimenko, Kiev (Ukraine)
Bahira Consulting Company, Moscow (Russia)
Fix Trade Limited Liability Corporation, Ukraine
Anna Oreshnikova, Odessa (Ukraine)
Pavel K., Zaporizhzhia (Ukraine)
Fedor Saplashenko, Kiev (Ukraine)
“Eva” store chain, Dnipropetrovsk (Ukraine)
“Prostor” store chain
Iryna Solop, Ukraine
Metalokeramica Dental Center, Zaporizhzhia (Ukraine)
Tatiana Shapovalova, USA
Slava and Natasha Yarmolenko, Germany
Dolgov Private Enterprise, Miksha Private Enterprise
Thank you very much!!!