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Carer Raisa G. organised the ball games for Olya R., Angela G. and Yulia Ch. Sasha K. from this group enjoys watching TV and listening to music on her mobile phone – this chap has learned to switch it on and he would discard phones that have no music on them. Valentina K. who was employed in the same group in June noticed that Sasha is trying to dance to upbeat music in his bed, whereas sad music makes him close his eyes. By the way, Sasha is 18 years old although he looks much younger...
Kids from Sofia S. team have been listening and singing children’s songs throughout June. Outside they have always played with the ball and skittles.
Last month Kalinovka was visited by the volunteers from the USA. Kids spent time with Amanda who had come to Kalinovka several times before and even lived there for a while; and also Daniela who had been looking forward to seeing Kalinovka children for almost a year and finally managed to visit them.
At the beginning of the month on June 2nd two volunteer music college students Alina and Oleg came to Kalinovka. They sang for the orphanage children and played guitar, flute and a tambourine. One of the children has even kept the tambourine. The main thing is that children and adults enjoyed it, also several children have a chance to play the guitar.
Many of the Kalinovka children were lucky enough to go to the seaside, and before and between the trips they were taken out to the lake. It appeared that, although some children asked to be brought to the lake, they were very afraid of water. On the other hand, others were not fearful even when they went underwater. Bogdan enjoyed water so much he would later cry when it rained outside and he wasn’t allowed to go out in his wheelchair.
On June 15th Kalinovka was visited by Tokmak doctors: a paediatrician, neuropathologist and dermatologist. They examined the children, issued the necessary prescriptions and advised a diet change for some children.
June also saw two Kalinovka orphans’ profiles appear on our website.
Last month we also managed to sell two bead trees made by Kalinovka children. Thanks to the sales we can now buy more beads. We are planning on involving adult residents of the orphanage in beading, too. Last month some more trees were put on artkalinovka.com - maybe you can find there a tree to decorate your home!
We would like to announce that crafty creations of patients of other psychoneurological orphanages will be added to the website artkalinovka.com, and we would like to ask you to support the efforts of these people who get involved mostly to express their dreams and worries and to reach out to our hearts…
One of the major events we got involved in was the June meeting on energy efficiency of psychoneurological orphanage directors and the local authorities. During this event the director of “Eco Systems Ltd” which performed energy-audit in Kalinovka, made a speech on energy efficiency in general and the ways to save energy for Kalinovka. We are very hopeful that this meeting won’t be just a formality but will result in the introduction of the money-saving initiatives. Instead of spending the budget on heating some of this money could be used to improve the medical assistance and hire more staff for the orphanages.
Speaking of staff: Kalinovka is slowly becoming an adult orphanage, and 18 children have been moved to the Velikiy Lug orphanage. Now Kalinovka has more adults and, thus, fewer staff, as it is supposed by the standards.
This is my subjective opinion but I don’t think that these standards are influenced by lack of government funding. Whilst there is enough money for government out of town residences, cars and private jets, this isn’t the country that’s lacking money for staffing the mental health orphanages.
It seems to me that the real cause is indifference. That of the authorities and of the general public, too. I urge anyone to come and see how “the others” live, the people who are shut off from the world. We don’t want to remember them. Beyond this wall of indifference there is a woman working with 25 adults with mental health issues who are often very anxious. Or two assistants caring for 44 disabled adults aged between 18 and 40. This is a disaster because how many of us would be prepared to do this difficult and risky job voluntarily? Most of the time the village dwellers work in these conditions because there are no other jobs available to them: neither women nor men…
A week ago my friend went to Switzerland for an internship at a rehabilitation school. The staffs there were complaining they were understaffed. However, they have a nurse assigned to each of the severely disabled children and sometimes 7 or 8 children are cared for by 3-5 nurses.
I have seen a similar setup at a specialized school in England. They also assign a nurse to each child if their condition demands it or they are highly anxious. At one point I even thought there were too many nurses in a group. This thought crossed my mind at an art class where there were 3 carers for 4 adult patients. That was too many but in a good way. What currently happens in Kalinovka and similar establishments is a real disaster!
English volunteers who visited Kalinovka last year told me they have seen it that bad – 20 years ago. So we have something to aspire to. Otherwise we can wait for a miracle – for us all to start protesting against the conditions that our mentally ill are kept in, both adults and children.
None of us is immune from being checked in to such an establishment. You too may have a first-hand experience of staying indoors in the same room for days, you too can learn how it feels to be tied by hand and feet for several hours, or experience others’ indifference and contempt when you understand and feel more than happens to be written in you medical file...
Kalinovka’s needs as of 03/07/2013
1. Building materials for the second building
2. Plasticine figures for craft lessons
3. CDs with natural sounds and music for children.
4. Music therapy CDs
5. Acrylic paints
6. Beading embroidery sets
7. CDs with cartoons, fairy tales, Soviet children’s movies
8. Medium and large puzzles
9. Music toys
11. PVA glue
12. Water filters
16. Folders for filing
17. “Origami” by Ritsun
18. “Early Years Applique” by Yanushko
19. “Pre-School Children Went for a Walk” by Sukhar
21. Toy cars
22. Knitting wool
23. Shorts European size 50
25. Drying rack for clothes
Thank you for the help and constant moral support you have already provided. Please remember that we are these children’s and adults’ only hope! Every dollar and a minute of your attention for children and adults with special needs is priceless. Do good!