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Video report: One day in the life of “The Happy Child” Charity Foundation

September 28, 2011, 19:45 3096 Author: Vladimir Krasnogolovy, translated by Yevheniya Devyatkova happychild.org.ua Morning show on a local TV channel TV-5, meeting American foundation representatives and visiting three orphanages of the Zaporozhye region — through the eyes of our volunteer

The idea of making a video report on a usual charity foundation workday came to us long ago. Surprisingly, there is a prevailing opinion that the only thing the employees of such organizations do is sit in the office and collect money from trusting benefactors all day long. Some people can easily tell this to face.

Meanwhile, this “charity” routine is in many ways just another job — sometimes working with papers, sometimes communicating with all kinds of people, from parents of sick children in desperate need for help to full and unresponsive officials.

However, there are some especially eventful days, like the day of August 3, 2011. That day I accompanied “The Happy Child” President Albert Pavlov and tried to film everything that was going on.

It all started with the morning live show on a local TV-channel, dedicated to the foundation's mobile camp for kids from single-parent and low-income families from the Zaporozhye region. This event has been covered by local mass-media.

After that “The Happy Child” received a guest from the USA, charming and nice Maya Rowencak, the leader of the charity organization “Maya's Hope”. She has, as her friends say, the biggest heart in all New York City. But I will tell you about this amazing girl later...

Together with this special guest and her friend Tamara from Kiev we visited three orphanages of the region in order to find out about their state and needs and see for ourselves, what could “Maya's Hope” and “The Happy Child” do for these institutions.

The first visit was to The Zaporozhye Orphan Asylum (For Boys with abnormality of mental development), and at once the difference in mindset and approaches became clear. One would think that the simple conseption of Maya's Hope, which works quite well for Phillippine children, is completely unrealizable in Ukrainian orphanages. The search for compromise and new methods will be a very interesting experience for the institution, “The Happy Child” foundation and Maya.

The staff of The Kirovo invalids house (Kirovo) proudly demonstrated us the handicrafts, made by girls, videotapes of celebrations and competitions, organized by the teachers for their pupils, costumes sewn specially for these occasions. Communication with the girls was indeed very touching.

The photograph shows Tamara and Maya with Olya, pupil of the Kirovo invalids house

The visit to The Children’s Home at Kalinovka was a shock. This is probably one of the most notorious orphanages not only in our region, but in the whole country. Despite the staff's selfless work and the help of the charity foundations and the state, the awful feeling of a local hell on Earth is hard to get rid of. Such a strong contrast with amazingly picturesque views around...

The problem is not only in the very peculiar contingent of the children here — they all have very serious illnesses. The problem is not in provision either — it improves yearly. It seems that the problem here goes all the way down to the very problem of existence of Ukrainian orphanages. The remoteness of Kalinovka (150 km from Zaporozhye, 45 km from Chernigovka), the society's failure to grasp the need of these children, physical incapability of the caregivers to pay attention to every special child in the institution — all this makes the problem impossible to be solved by the mere gifts for the holidays, renovations and occasional governmental financial injections. Maybe some time we will come back to this issue and try to find the answer together.

Kalinovka was our last stop on that long, eventful and psychologically exhausting day. Not only our guests from the “sunny” west, but also the Ukrainians, unspoiled by the view of prosperity, were stricken by what they saw.

The amateur videorecording resulted in this video:

It is a subjective, outside perspective. I do not understand many things that I saw and that “The Happy Child” faces on the daily basis. But I am absolutely sure that when you look at all this it is impossible to stay indifferent.

This day was very hard for me, however I do not regret having spent it this way. Have you ever participated in the charity foundations' activities? What did you think of this experience?

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

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Vitaly Yurchenko
Vitaly Yurchenko

Bilateral sensorineural deafness of the III degree

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