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At the round table

January 6, 2011, 13:00 3364 Author: Yelena Chukhriy www.deti.zp.ua The wish to help has united us once again.

On the threshold of the Saint Nicholas’s Day the Happy Child foundation gathered social and state organizations of Zaporozhye region at a round table. All of them had possibilities to share with the others information about how to help children most effectively.

At the beginning of the meeting Albert Pavlov, the director of the Happy Child foundation communicated to the participants the results of the work in 2010 and the plans for future (see the presentation). A special emphasis was placed on the ways to provide effective assistance. Unfortunately, due to a limited experience or misunderstanding of the matter of the problem people often grant their “help” to eliminate its consequence instead of the reason. On the New Year’s Eve Children’s Homes, especially those situated in large cities are “heaped up” by sweet presents; a lot of charity actions take place there. Large enterprises take Children’s Homes under their patronages as before, yearly investing up to hundred thousand UAH into the charity of this kind. But really few people ask themselves a question “why wouldn’t the Children’s Home management themselves purchase presents for orphans once a year?” (After all, from 2.5 to 9 thousand UAH are assigned each month for the children in orphanages!) Will the tenth by the count sweet present help an orphan child to get education, to adapt to the future life as a grown-up, to create a family?”

The answers to these questions are sufficiently evident: one-time money assistance in many cases does not solve the problem; on the contrary it often encourages dependence.

At the same time, few people donate to the orphans’ education, to the development of family forms of upbringing by means of increasing of the number of foster homes and family type children’s homes; by organization of children’s villages etc. Also, very little attention is paid to the support of needy families and large families having many children; incomplete and problematic families: in other words – those “social cells” which often become the sources of orphan cases.

The round table participants agreed to the fact that it’s the most problematic families that get least attention and that the task of the foundations and organizations is to draw benefactors’ attention to this direction.

“New Hope” Center representative showed a rather new and very efficient direction of assistance to orphans – granting support to the boarding school graduates. The center makes only its first steps in the work but its members have already obtained noticeable results.

“Anita” foundation is a striking example of how two people practically without finances can get assistance of village schools and kindergartens, poor families and homeless people. The main thing in this is a sincere desire to help!

Zaporozhye regional Red Cross society is one of the most experienced charitable organizations. The important point that puts Red Cross aside from all the other organizations is availability of its branches practically in all the districts of Zaporozhye region. Red Cross staff has actual information about the neediest families in their region that is why they can be of great help to everyone who wants to know the problems existing at the remote places.

A special feature of the presentation made by the “Temple” foundation representative was the emphasis put on the spiritual reason of all the society problems. This foundation’s actions are marked by bright positive coloring and they are aimed rather at making changes in the people’s conscience than only at the collection of material welfare.

A young Kamenka-Dneprovska regional charitable organization called “A bright path” was represented by its creator – Vera Savitskaya. Vera who is forced to fight her own illness has found strength to help others. At present the organization is just “getting on its feet”, so Vera needs confederates and assistants.

Orekhov foundation called “A child’s hopes” is one more example of an organization assisting children of a particular regional community. At present, parents of the sick children from Orekhov district can always turn to their local Orekhov foundation.

We are all involved in the same cause and often help the same boarding schools, children’s homes and hospitals. Inessa Nosenko, the director of the “Mazal assosiation” made an interesting proposal, that is to create an interactive map of the region on which all the institutions requiring our support and the organizations which are already providing such support would be shown. In this way “the blind spots” will be identified – the places seldom visited by the volunteers and benefactors.

By implication, such database components already exist at the www.deti.zp.ua site: there are articles connected with each boarding school and hospital speaking about the actions taking places at these institutions. The remaining task is to make the use of this database more visual for the site visitors.

The voluntary movement “A spark of kindness” consists of young people trying to provide help to the extent of their possibilities in the organization of holidays, discos and quests for the boarding houses and children’s homes’ inmates.

The staff of the Children’s fitness center provides rehabilitation exercises for the children with cerebral palsy.

It was pleasant to learn that in Melitopol two charitable funds at the same time can help children who are oncologic patients and disabled children: “Mariam” and “The Hope’s Radiance”. This increases the chances of each child that needs support to get it in proper time and in the necessary scope.

Representatives of the “Spodivannya” (meaning hopes) foundation and Zaporozhye regional branch of All-Ukrainian Charitable Community called “All-Ukrainian Community of people living with HIV/AIDS” were speaking of assistance to the children suffering from AIDS.

“Dolphin” charitable foundation is realizing charitable activities in the interests of deaf people and people with diminished hearing.

The representative of the Zaporozhye regional social organization called “Specialized Cossack Concerted Sich” made a proposal to organize a performance of a New Year fairy tale in the boarding schools of the city by force of the Cossack Sich students.

A Youth Organization called “Variant” also shared its achievements with the others. During a comparatively short period of its activity the volunteers and the staff of this organization managed to complete several actions such as: “An alternative. We are against violence”, “Start to take care of your health when young”. At present they are working at the projects called “Love without words” and “Warm up a little heart!”

“Zaporozhye Patriot” foundation that is occupied in providing charitable help to the children – oncologic patients and children suffering from severe diseases also presented the results of their work.

Representatives of the city authorities in the persons of Zaporozhye Regional State Administration service in charge of children’s affairs, city and regional center of social services, labor management and social protection of the public attached to the state administration also expressed their wishes to support the projects of the third sector organizations.

In general, the necessity to coordinate the efforts of charitable organizations was one of the main results obtained at the round table. For example, if the parents of a blind child turn to a foundation in care of children – oncologic patients it would be reasonable to send them to an organization responsible for assistance to blind people and vise versa. Unfortunately, sometimes the staffs of the foundations and state social services lack elementary contact information of the people occupied in this or that area.

During the second part of the discussion the participants shared information about the ways of involvement of resources – both financial and non-material – for implementation of the projects. This area is often defined by a western word “fundraising”. Whatever might be said, without successful fundraising a lot of our dreams about help to children will remain dreams.

Later the following things were discussed: characteristic features of interrelations with the state and mass media, the importance of the transparent reporting and so on.

As a result, all the round table participants came to the conclusion that each of the raised topics was very important and they all needed organization of separate workshops.

The round table as a whole turned out to be helpful to everyone: to the novices in the charity area the same as to the more experienced organizations. Each participant was convinced that it was no use closing up inside oneself: it is always necessary to cooperate, to gain experience and not to be afraid to share it.

The main thing now is not to put off the future actions and to eventually implement the ideas that were discussed at the round table.

Yulia Odiy, voluntary movement called “A spark of kindness (you are)”:

This round table has shown us that we are not alone; we can turn to one another for help. The volunteers of “A spark of kindness (you are)” obtained a new opportunity to organize holidays for Melitopol boarding schools. It is nice that people have learned about us and we have learned about other organizations and movements. We have understood that we are going through the stages of our formation and growth; we have seen that we have things ahead to aim at. And the main thing is that we have understood that there are people we can learn from taking such foundations as “The Happy Child” as examples.

Olga Novikova, “A Variant”

I would like to thank you for inviting me and for my participation in this round table as a result of which we have made several particular conclusions for ourselves, in particular that it is necessary to redirect activities from the boarding schools to the children from poor families and families with many children. Also, participation in activities of this kind gives us possibilities to establish new partnerships, to extend the scope of our relations and to obtain sufficient useful information. Thank you.

Happy Child foundation - effective help to the most needy children of the Zaporozhye region, Ukraine, since 2004

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