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Photo and Video Report: Special-Needs Children at a Zaporozhye Region Internat Find a “Happy Home”— reporter.zp.ua

December 13, 2011, 23:40 11610 Author: reporter.zp.ua, Photo and Video: Andrei Glushchenko, editors and translator: Albert Pavlov and David Sudermann reporter.zp.ua Today, 1 December 2011, in the village of Kalinovka (Zaporozhye Region) the first family-type home in the region was opened for nine special-needs children

Today on the campus of the Kalinovka internat for disabled children (Chernigov Children’s Home) a memorable event took place: “Happy Home” was opened. Beautifully restored, this separate dwelling will aid social adaptation by providing a more nurturing family-like environment for nine boys ages seven through seventeen. The project is unique, not only for Ukraine, but for Eastern Europe as a whole. As the internat staff told ReporterUA, the event took place under the joint sponsorship of the Zaporozhye State Administration and the charitable fund “Happy Child” from Zaporozhye and was timed to coincide with the International Day of Disabled Persons.

Currently living at the Kalinovka campus are 125 persons ages four to thirty-five, all of whom have physical and/or cognitive disabilities that require constant supervision and medical care. Among this group are seventy-nine children ages four to eighteen. And of those, four are actual orphans, that is, without parents, sixty-three are “social orphans” (legally removed from dysfunctional parents), and sixteen do have parents. 140 staff are employed at the state-run internat.

Beginning in 2007 the Kalinovka institution has developed a close working relationship with the Zaporozhye charitable organization “Happy Child”. This non-profit charity not only draws attention to the problems of the disabled children but also takes a direct part in decisions affecting them. For example, Happy Child recently led a training program for the internat’s caregivers that included seminars on up-to-date methods for providing care to special-needs children.

In addition, in the course of the internat-Happy Child collaboration, new methods were introduced for rehabilitating special-needs children. To support this partnership volunteers were welcomed from around Ukraine and from various foreign countries.

Today, 1 December 2011, the opening of “Happy Home” brings to fruition a unique project, “Home Creation for the Social Adaptation of Special-Needs Children on an Internat Campus.” The main point of restoring this house is thus to provide the appropriate equipment and nurturing living environment for nine special-needs kids that match as closely as possible those of a regular family.

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