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We are Five Years Old!

June 13, 2012, 15:30 3150 Author: Iryna Gavrysheva, translated by Anna Oliynyk www.deti.zp.ua The Happy Child Foundation has turned five! Thank you to everybody who has been with us for all these years! And thank you to those who are joining us now!

Soon it will be six years since I first opened the web-site called "Children of Zaporozhye, since I dialed Albert’s phone number… And since I connected my life with this site, with sick children, with charity in general and Happy Child Charitable Foundation in particular. And this foundation is already five years old! Usually on the dates like this people look back, analyze, make some conclusions… I am not sure that I will cope with this task… and I am not even sure that there is such a need. But still… The Happy Child has turned five and I think it will be not fair to leave this date unnoticed :).

Once there was a web-site deti.zp.ua and there was a group of people inspired with the idea of helping others. Monday to Friday they had their jobs, with evenings and weekends dedicated to children in need. “We are not some foundation! We are just a group of volunteers, people who care”, I was proudly telling people. And people believed us. Us, not foundations. Why? It still remains a secret for me. Maybe because we looked really crazy bearing our plans to save the world, and crazy people usually do not lie…

You know, being crazy is rather infectious. So, more and more people were coming to us. They wanted to help. And it was terrible, but some of them wanted us to have an official status, a current account, an office, and things like that. It was more convenient for people. It was safer for us. But… we used to be special due to the very fact that we were not an official foundation, but just a group of volunteers… So, of course we were a bit afraid that having acquired a formal status we would lose some of our donors and supporters…

As a result, it was the spring of 2007. And we, just about five of us were sitting in the kitchen of one of our volunteers and discussing our future foundation. We were still arguing if we needed all this… reluctantly agreed that we did… but we could hardly imagine how it would all work. We were long laughing when Lena, the lawyer, who helped us to have all the documents done, read out the list of positions our organization had to have. There were more positions than people in the room. We thought we would have one person taking three positions :). The two key positions – President and Chair of the Board – were decided to be divided between Albert and myself. Albert, being a true gentleman, gave me the right to choose the position I liked more. I did not care what my job title would be… the whole idea of having a job title flattered, but frightened even more… You should agree that there is a difference between being one of the volunteers and the President of a charitable foundation! That is why I finally gave the President’s position to Albert ;)

That is how the Happy Child was born in May 2007 :) Together with it a whole bunch of problems fell on our heads. Legal, accounting, organizational questions… There were hidden rocks everywhere, and while being volunteers we had no idea about them. But… we had nowhere to return, so we had to learn how to become reputable representatives of a charitable foundation. So we were learning… not always successfully, though. Something went smoothly from the very beginning. Something still causes a lot of problems. Somewhere we still have those craziness and romantic dreams of volunteers, and somewhere we have became more pragmatic and rough, which is more typical for official organizations. Our goals and priorities – they have all been significantly changed through all these years. And it happened not because we are now a charitable foundation, an official organization, but because we have been “stewing” in these problems for many years. We see them from the inside. And the better inside of those problems we get, the better we see that there is a need in deep and systematic work.

What are our achievements for these five years? I can open our reports and copy the amounts of money, which have been collected and spend for children's benefit all over this period. I can also open the sections inactive requests and children who completed their treatment and calculate the number of children who received our help. I can also write how many children took part in excursions and hiking tours or include the lists of medical equipment, medications, and consumables we have purchased for these five years. But I think this would all be wrong. As unfortunately we also do have another section: Remember, grieve, and believe. And those who are in this section… our mutual help to them was not in vain… for someone it meant several years of life… for someone – several months… for someone it relieved suffering… and for someone it was just a spark of hope… Maybe you won’t believe me, but it is all so really important!

As for our Children’s Hematology Department, doctors do not call it a hospice anymore, when talking to each other. People stopped asking question like “Is it possible that children have cancer?!” Local mass media regularly cover the issues of charity and volunteer movement. And at least for some of our citizens the word combination “Charitable Foundation” is not a synonym of the word “fraud” anymore. This is all a big achievement, and we made our contribution to it. I won’t tell you for all our employees, but as for me I am proud of it – sometimes quietly, and sometimes openly :) I remember that at that moment, five years ago, when discussing the Charter of our Foundation, we pointed out an important priority: “promoting charity”. And through all these years we tried to make people understand that helping others is not a prerogative of rich men, but an internal need of all people; that even one dollar which goes to a charity box is important; that if everybody is involved, even the smallest contribution can make a difference! And I think that after these five years many people share those beliefs.

Our Foundation is five years old! It is a rather long time, and during this time we raised a lot of bumps and conquered a lot of summits. But we are not going to rest on our laurels. Of course, we have a lot of plans: both big ones, which will take months and years to be brought into life, and small ones, which are implemented every day. I won’t wear my readers down by telling how we want to save the world… ;) I will only tell that our key principles remain unchanged: maximum transparency, priority of “smart charity”, and openness. And we really hope that both our readers and donors will stay with us. This is only because of you and because of your support that the Happy Child celebrates the fifth birthday! This is because of you that we are able to make this world a better place little by little. If we did not have you, we would not be a charitable foundation now; we would just be a group of crazy dreamers. Thank you for having believed in us! And thank you for still believing in us! THANK YOU!!!

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

They need help:
Polina Belogurova
Polina Belogurova

Cerebral palsy, spastic diplegia

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You donated in 2022

$ 957 518

Our expenses in 2022
To 162 sick children $121 860
Medical equipment: $17 402
Humanitarian help: $325 253
To disabled children: $326 475
To children's village: $18 979
To orphans and poor children: $38 389
"Helpus" - help to adults: $3 775
Service expenses: $37 620
Total sum of expenses: $893 610

$6 176 569

donated since 2007