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Director of Zaporozhye Charity foundation "Happy Child" Albert Pavlov is one of those people whose life story inspires people and make them do good things. Not only did he turn a narrow circle of close relatives and friends into a children's home of family type, but also helps to save lives of the kids being complete strangers to him. Who does donates money more often - poor people or the rich ones? What are the most important challenges for the foundation? How often those in need urging for help appear to be just cheaters? These and other questions Albert Pavlov discussed with the correspondent of the "New Day."
- We live in a time of economic crisis and military conflict in Ukraine. Many people don’t have courage to have children at all, and you decided to adopt several kids. Where do you get that goodness and courage? Did you grow up in a large family yourself?
- I grew up in an ordinary family, with just two children, my older sister and me. Since my twenty years, I began to think seriously about life and its purpose, have read a lot of serious philosophy literature, made military service – all this brought me desire to do something really important to help people in distress. Together with some volunteers we began visiting orphanages, frequently took kids on a visit, and gradually came to a desire to adopt a child into our family. First we have set up a foster family, and in the summer 2015 we transformed it into the children's home of family type. Now we have nine adopted children and two biological daughters.
The Gouvernement supports adoptive families, so the financial issue is not the most important one. The main challenge is how to benefit an adoptive child, educate with wisdom and completely accept him as your own.
- In an interview to the "New Day" one volunteer shared that now people donate to the army 50 times less than two years ago. Do you see any decrease in donations to you Foundation in connection with the economic crisis?
- I can’t say that people donate less, but inflation-adjusted purchasing power of these funds falls. Fortunately, part of the donations comes from abroad, so that it can partially compensate the effects of the hryvna’s collaps.
- What is the average monthly donations income from individuals into the accounts of Charity foundation "Happy Child"?
- As per the last year data - an average of 794 thousand hryvna. Including donations and from individuals, grants, and commercial organisations, and through the donation containers.
- How many children were you able to help?
- It actually takes work of many people to help - doctors, volunteers, donors, and employees of the Foundation. Our function is to spread stories about every kid who needs help through the website deti.zp.ua and other sources, trying to get into the very heart of people who may be sensitive to help. After receiving donations we have to assure the most effectively use for them; we pay for special medical care, surgeries, expensive medicines. And finally, we report to donors on the work that has been done. Briefly, our job is to find the missing resources and use them properly. And we try to do this work as well as it’s possible.
Last year, thanks to our contributors, the Foundation has been able to assist 263 ill children for the total amount of 3,491,594 hryvna and 36 adults for the total amount of 380 790 hryvna. We were also able to purchase and offer to our partner clinics the missing medical equipment, again helping to save lives and health to our little patients.
- So, your foundation provides the accumulation of the donations and further distribution to the funds to the families and individuals in need. Why the direct transfer to sick kid’s parents’ accounts doesn’t work?
- Unfortunately sometimes a fraud from the part of the parents of sick children happens, not often, perhaps in all that time, up to 10 cases. But there are a lot of problems with managing of numerous personal accounts. It is difficult for our Foundation to account for the funds that are not received by us directly. Sometimes parents receive more than necessary funds and not always they would return the surplus. It also gets hard to report to donors whether the sent amount is perceived on the child’s personal account.
So, due to these problems with transparency it’s been already several years that we accept donations only on the Foundation’s accounts. It is also very convenient to the parents, we provide a variety of payment methods, including PayPal, our accountant takes care of all the necessary fiscal reports. So the parents don’t have to worry about set up of accounts and electronic wallets in foreign currencies. By all means, the whole amounts designated to a specific child received to the Foundations’ accounts (except for a small bank fee) are used for the treatment of this child. Our administrative costs are covered from non-specific contributions.
- What are the Charity foundation “Happy Child” most speaking difficulties as of today?
- We would be happy to find a permanent partner or beneficiary who can purposefully take care of our rent and other office expenses. Unfortunately, few people think that in order to implement those big and expensive projects, involving millions of hryvna, helping hundreds of children, we need certain resources. It takes a permanent office and constant work of accountants, designers, managers, handling requests, all this to attract donations. We try to reduce these costs, but can’t do completely without. It wouldn’t ever be possible to perform all the current volume only by means of volunteers’ work.
A common problem for all Ukrainian charity foundations is a lack of legislative support for charity projects via SMS. We also hope that PayPal system will start full-scale operations in Ukraine, which will facilitate for us the procedure of donations from abroad. We hope that transparent reporting charity foundations in Ukraine will become a standard. Unfortunately not all of them are publishing their statements openly, though our website started providing full reporting of expenses and income still in 2004.
- In your foundation reports I’ve noticed the regular donations of 50 thousand hryvna coming every month from a certain person named Yyuri. What do you think may be the reasons pushing a person to donate large sums on a permanent basis? A personal tragedy?
- Every donor has his own reasons. There can be religious or philosophical motives, or a personal tragic experience (illness or the loss of loved ones), desire to share the surplus funds, or guilt, or a joy of helping the others. Sometimes it’s a mixture different motivaztions. In this regard, I would like to mention a beautiful proverb “Helping others we don’t become heroes. We just become better”
- How often do list large amounts? And who is more likely to help - poor or rich?
- Most of the donations (80%) came from businesses and grant issuing organisms (for the amounts of 5000 UAH and more). However, it is very important for us to a support from individuals, donating 50-200 UAH monthly, or 20-100$ coming from foreing donators. We are also counting a lot on Zaporizhia community, those people whoe "tear off" from their modest budgets 50-100 hryvnas monthly to help the children in need in our region.