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"MIG" interview with the coordinator of the website www.deti.zp.ua

March 1, 2010, 19:00 2999 Author: Elena Ahinko, translated by Tatiana Bychak Magazine "MIG" Albert Pavlov, coordinator of www.deti.zp.ua and director of the Happy Child Foundation answered questions of journalists and readers

– Albert, how the Happy Child Foundation was created? Did you receive a grant from foreign sponsors?

- No, we didn’t receive any. Each of us joined the foundation for its own reasons, in most cases, because of a serious illness or death of relatives or loved ones. I have experienced it as well. I had enough time to consider everything and decided to devote myself to something more than just making money. Two years of volunteering were devoted for website development. For the last three years Happy Child Foundation is being my main place of work.

– How do you control the appropriate use of donations for the treatment of children?

– Now we have stricter, reporting. We do endeavor to help all children with serious illnesses. Today parents write a statement binding them to report about all financial incomes and expenditures and spend money only for traditional treatment. However, if necessary, funds may be spent for high feeding.

– You have mentioned that you always insist only on traditional treatment ...

– We were threatened by companies “practicing” alternative medicine and advertising in mass media new “effective” remedies for cancer and other serious diseases. Each day they cash in thousands of hryvnias on somebody’s grief. We discuss this topic on our website.

– How often do you face swindlers?

– Personally, I don’t call them swindlers, but sometimes people receive a substantial financial help from different charity funds, even, for example, if tumor hasn’t yet been diagnosed as malignant. Sometimes, we are faced with inadequate behavior of parents. If they receive more money than it’s necessary, they don’t return the excess of it.

– Are there any children who need an operational assistance now?

– We have a lot of seriously ill children. But we are not doctors; we can provide a financial assistance only. Two kids are in extremely difficult financial situation – Panasenko Svetlana (myeloblast leucosis)and Petrenko Sophia (lymphoblastic leukemia).

– These are huge amounts for an average-income family. And nowadays no one can feel secured against such unexpected hardship. What is the solution?

– We need reserve special-purpose funds in budgets of different levels. When it is found, we will have a short break in collection of money. But yet we have a pressing dilemma - where to find these six thousands?!

–But there is a government allowance allocated for medicine, isn’t it?

– It is. Moreover, it is allocated for surgery abroad as well. But all the information is confidential. Our volunteers addressed the Ministry of Health to find out more about the queue for operations, but their request was denied. These children have no chance to be treated in Ukraine! The second point - an amount allocated for such operations is miserable. For comparison – annually one billion hryvnias is spent for the maintenance of President Cabinet, while our Regional Children's Hospital receives miserable amounts, insufficient to complete the reconstruction.

– Is there any news about a "Hospital of Future” that became an international project and was financially supported worldwide? Are there any chances that it will be finally completed?

– I find the idea of this hospital construction very good. I regularly visit the website , Actually, it is supervised by Kateryna Yushchenko. During her visit in 2006, I brought forward a suggestion: "Maybe we should first fill a gap in financing of children’s cancer treatment and than continue the construction of the hospital?"

–Are there people who make donations regularly?

- The fund has no founders, who could finance it on regular basis. But there are people who regularly donate money. And the quantity of regular donors permanently enlarges.

- Are there any local celebrities of Zaporozhye that support your activity?

– These people do it quietly, without any publicity. They don’t want to advertise their charity.

– How do you think, why Ukrainian people donate less than people abroad? Is it caused by lack of traditions and lack of confidence?

Absolutely. We fully realize this problem and try to make our activity completely clear and transparent. On our website you may find reports on money distribution. Donors have opportunity to help a person they want, instead of donating to a "shared fund". But I should admit that we have noticed a positive change in financing situation – while at the beginning of our activity we mainly received money from abroad, today more money are received from Ukrainians.

– The Foundation is also financed from abroad. How do foreigners find out about your activity?

– Our site has an English version. Team of volunteers helps us to translate fresh information that afterwards is widespread abroad, particularly in the U.S., where 12 thousand families has adopted Ukrainian children. Abroad there is very little information about Ukraine in English but there are a lot of people willing to help orphans.

– Your Foundation has also started its activity with a help to orphans, hasn’t it?

– Yes. But since that time we have changed our approach. Now we try to dig to the roots of the problem. At boarding school, 2 500 hryvnias are allocated for a child support monthly. After adoption, foster family receives a monthly allowance of 1 500 hryvnias. And this family is not asking for gifts, diapers, etc. Thus, it turns out that boarding schools policy is ineffective. Now each time we are asked to buy gifts, we give a cross offer - let’s better spend this money to create a column “Looking for parents”. We will announce this project in mass media and find families for a lot of children. But, unfortunately, we haven’t found the supporters of our idea yet.

– How people can help children, except for money?

– Well, for example, at the moment the Casualty Department of Regional Children's Hospital needs a TV for surgery.But I would advise all volunteers to contact us directly to find out more about current possible assistance in our activity.

– New Year holidays are coming. What campaigns do you plan and what help do you need?

– We plan to organize several events in hospitals and orphanages. We have money for small gifts, but we are looking for performers - clowns, dancers, singers – in one word, talents willing to make children’s holidays brighter.

Prepared by

Elena Ahinko

Note from Albert Pavlov: unfortunately, the very interview has only partially embraced the wide range of questions, discussed with reporters. Much has been said about the accountability system, the credibility of the fund, remuneration of the staff and office expenses. More information you can get in the section «Questions and Answers»

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