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The principal of Gymnasium #1 "Hope" Valentina Sergienko (right) is handing over the medications collected during this project to Nikolai Slavov, the principal of the Chernigov Child’s Home
Recently, "Children helping children” humanitarian social project has been completed in Berdyansk. School and personal hygiene supplies were collected for children living in the Chernigov Child’s Home, which houses children with various congenital conditions. This project was organized by the administration and students of the Gymnasium School #1 "Hope" and supported by Luke, the Archbishop of Zaporozhye and Melitopol.
Every school in the city participated in the project, as did some private businesses. Altogether, about seven thousand items of school and personal hygiene supplies were collected.
On Tuesday, October 15th, a large delegation composed of students of the Gymnasium School #1 "Hope", along with their principal Valentina Sergienko, the head of parents' committee of Gymnasium School #1 Tatyana Goryacheva, the director of the city's education department Natalya Kondratyuk, the deputy of the city council and the manager of the public organization "Our Children" Olga Boiko, and representatives of the Christian Orthodox church, visited the Kalinovka village of the Chernigov Region, to hand over the collected items.
"Having been here and having seen this place, one can no longer live uncaring," says Olga Boiko. "I am certain that the connection with this place, and with these children, will remain in the heart of everyone who is here today for a long time to come." Valentina Sergienko also shared her feelings.
Students of the "Hope" Gymnasium are loading up the boxes with the collected items into the car
"If we want this world to become better, we ourselves must become more kind," she said. "To let the pain and suffering, and happiness and joy of others into our own soul, we must ourselves share our attention, care, affection, and kindness with them, to give these things from the heart. Material goods are not everything - on the contrary, spirituality, to a large extent, determines the health of a society as a whole. Today, we brought children with us, because we are teaching them empathy and compassion, and we are happy when they help others, sincerely and freely, as they are doing today."
A prayer session for the good deed was held before the visit in the Temple of New Martyrs and Confessors of Berdyansk.
The principal of the group home Nikolai Slavov greeted the delegation and thanked them for the help provided.
"Currently, we have 125 residents, approximately half of whom are children," Nikolai Viktorovich told the visitors. "Although the government currently provides us with a great deal of help, it is still very important that there are people who support us and care about the lives of our children. We are truly happy that you are visiting us today."
One of the facts attesting to how important people's caring is for the Child’s home's residents is that during more than 50 years of its existence, only two children were adopted. And even these two were adopted by foreigners - families residing in the USA.
"One of the children who was adopted didn't have arms or legs," Nikolai Slavov told us. "Recently, the adoptive family showed us his photos, and we learned that he was fitted for prostheses and is now able to get around. The other boy was in a very serious condition, and we were not able to help him. His recent pictures showed a healthy-looking, happy child, and I asked how they were able to cure him. It turned out that he had parasites which we in Ukraine simply don't have the diagnostic tests for."
Afterwards, there was a prayer meeting, led by the Archimandrite Vladimir Rakov and the priest Eduard Kislyi, and a tour through the group home, during the course of which the visitors got acquainted with some of the Child’s home's residents.
Thanks to the help provided by charitable organizations and some private individuals, the Child’s home was able to build a family-style home, in which the most teachable children reside. Here, the delegation was also met with great enthusiasm and the students themselves conducted the tour. The role of the main tour guide was carried out by Oleg, one of the building's residents, who showed the visitors around the building, got acquainted with practically all of them, and, along with the other children, showed off his accomplishments in writing and math.
Among the near-future plans of the Chernigov Child’s home is building a chapel, a second family-style home, and a new boiler room which would run on pellet fuel.
"At this time, it costs us up to 200,000 hryvnyas (25,000 US dollars) a month to heat the home in winter," said Nikolai Slavov. "Once the new boiler room is operational, the heating should cost far less."
During the "Children helping children" project the students of Gymnasium #1 not only collected the needed supplies for the Child’s home residents but did much more - shared some of their love and affection, simply by meeting them and getting acquainted. It is not only supplies that bring joy, but simple human attention.
On October 9th, students of School #16 helped children who live in the hospice in the Kalinovka village by collecting and donating personal hygiene and laundry supplies. First and second grade students were shown a film about children who had been less fortunate in life than they. The teachers and Red Cross representatives were pleasantly surprised - the amount collected was several times more than they expected.