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You can save a child. Particularly you. Right now

April 12, 2007, 4:10 3703 Author: Kseniya Sokulskaya (translated from Ukrainian by Yulia Mirnaya for www.deti.zp.ua) "Without censorship" ("Bez cenzuri") Ukrainian newspaper How can a person help other people once he decides to do that? Should he just go on a street and ask who needs money? Should he open his wallet every time he sees a box with “Donations” sign on it? Or maybe should he visit the website and choose from the list of children that need help one kid who can be saved

How can a person help other people once he decides to do that? Should he just go on a street and ask who needs money? Should he open his wallet every time he sees a box with “Donations” sign on it? Or maybe should he visit the website and choose from the list of children that need help one kid who can be saved. By you. Right now.

Perhaps to someone the way you do a good deed may remind choosing something from a catalogue: click on description, look at the picture, read… But all your “entertaining” similarities disappear when you see WHAT you read. “Educational programs” section – orphanages need: clothes and linens, toys and sports goods, computers and multimedia encyclopedia CDs… “Save children” section: Vova Schkryabko, 9 years old, brain cancer… Danylko Gavryushenko, 8 months old, neuroblastoma… Danylko Pshenychnyi, 2 years old, aplastic anemia… Kurdyukova Christinka, 8 years old, brain tumor… Are you still asking who needs help?..

Hundreds, thousands of children need help these days. Orphans that live in orphanages funding of which is a really big issue. A fair amount of money is needed to support seriously sick children’s lives, huge money – to renew their health. Hospitals and clinics that do not have needed equipment or it’s just outdated and worn-out… If you want to find out more about your fellow creatures you just need to type this address in your Internet browser «www.deti.zp.ua» and press “Enter”.

According to Albert Pavlov, the founder of this website, it was designed to make search for help, or its objects, easier. The project was based on support of several orphanages of Zaporozhye and region: volunteers joint by the website gather money, clothes, toys, books, implement educational programs (for example, teach kids how to use a computer), organize field trips, take kids to their homes on weekends… The try to make orphans’ lives brighter and closer to lives of usual kids from “full” families as much as possible.

Later on, another project emerged – to help seriously sick (mostly with blood cancer diseases) children and beginning summer 2006 we keep the list of names, ages, diagnoses, and needs of little patients of hematology department of the regional hospital. During a short period of time we could do something: collect money to purchase four infusomats, coordinate donations for particular children, and the main thing is that volunteers tried to shake the «virtuous slough»: they took part in press-conferences of charity organizations, tried to attract attention to hospitals’ needs, arranged fundraisings for orphanages… And one more thing – an act that does not have any equivalents on the local level – “Let’s save Danylko”, i.e. construction of light-boxes in the center of the city at the expense of the promotional act the purpose of which was to attract attention of citizens to problems of Danylko Pshenychnyi, a two-year old boy who lives from one blood transfusion to another one, and only spinal cord transplantation can save him. “More money, almost unreal for us amount of money is needed for Danylko – 65 thousand dollars” says Albert Pavlov. Comparing to money raised for the Hospital of the Future it doesn’t seem too much. But it’s not businessmen and big financial funds that sponsor the website, but just some individual people. Mostly the ones who immigrated to the USA or Europe, they try to support the volunteers regularly or just provide one-time help… This help can vary: some people give money put aside for vacation, some sell their old car… The amounts also depend: “Americans” can transfer a couple thousands of dollars, our citizens – a couple of hundreds of hryvnas or goods. Unexpected deeds also happen: one programmer collected money with his “fellow hackers” and bought two computers for the orphanage… Some visitors of «http://www.deti.zp.ua/» turn to volunteers who consult them as to who requires the help at the most right now and what kind of help. Expense reports as to “general funds” are published monthly on the website: how much, from whom and for what they have been spent… Other well-doers keep in touch with parents of little patients, pages devoted to each of them contain addresses, contact phones of parents and account information, the ones in Ukrainian hryvnas and US dollars. But it’s really hard without a centralized help… So that they could raise a little bit more than two thousand dollars for Danylko. Serious sponsors, where are you?

Serious sponsors seek “serious” approach even to charity. At least when they bother themselves with charity… In the vast expanses of Zaporozhye the main figures of good deeds are large manufacturing companies and representatives of significant (on the regional scale) business. To tell the truth, almost all “spots” are already occupied: plants repair schools, give toys to kindergartens, support seniors… But mostly they do it to their “own ones” in the range of the geographical region where they’re located.

Their own “infrastructure” also exists around important businessmen: one helps the veterans, another one – the orphanage… Of course, it’s not possible to make everyone happy, but it’s not even easy to expand that range. Or at least arrange them a big publicity. Although, nothing here is that easy. Out of three Zaporozhye TV channels, the regional state TB channel demonstrates how municipal administration representatives or regional council representatives cut the ribbons (well, this is their job, TV personnel’s and officials’), and the other two show how officials of huge plants managements give presents… Yes, every channel broadcasts our own plant.

But there is another way to sponsor’s heart – large-scale charitable events. In mid December in Zaporozhye, “Mayor’s Ball” took place – a charitable one, of course. But after the success of a particular TV show, the word “ball” obscured the “charitable” epithet: first of all, people have come to present themselves and to look at the other ones, and only, secondly, they have come to share their money… if only secondly… and if they have anything to share. Because mostly you could find among the present were district officials (mayor was not present), middle and formerly upper-scale businessmen and representatives of civil organizations who do not mind finding sponsors themselves. The results were quite decent – almost 50 thousand hryvnas, from which 10 thousand will be transferred to the regional hematology department, another ten – to the Hospital of the Future (organizers of event are from “advanced” public), and the rest – to help orphans. Was it possible to raise more money? Who knows, could more money has been collected? Who knows, but among the ball participants there were no that many well-off residents of Zaporozzhe, and local deputies were not in sight, although, it is hard to say whether there are any steam ship owners among them, but owners of factories and newspapers – for sure. However, factories, they for the most part have supported the Hospital of the Future – perhaps, the budget item has been depleted. Hope that money for local children will be found is living, because the situation when factories are by themselves, environment is by itself, and sharp increase in number of patients with cancer in the regional center is altogether somewhere aside, makes one think about who can rescue the situation…

Perhaps only partial people, such as organizers of deti.zp.ua web-site. They too have many problems, but, at least, they are trying to do something about it. Among the plans: devote a specialized web-site donor.zp.ua to young hematology patients, organize help to children with disabilities, create civic organization that would have its own account for money accumulation and centralized distribution. Make, in the long run, deti.zp.ua a well-known social brand, so that anybody who is willing to help, can visit it and choose who to help… However, at the moment, volunteers themselves need help. Efforts of several enthusiasts are not physically sufficient to support several sites – they need managers, web-programmers, journalists. Foreigners actively help our children, therefore, one of the main tasks is to create versions of all materials in foreign languages – translators are needed. Teachers are needed, who would arrange sections in boarding schools, and people are needed to collect donations. People are needed who are capable to work zealously not expecting to be paid for the good… And last but not least money is needed for all this, and children are the ones who need it most…

Giving help is not scary and not painful. Those people who you can help feel fear and pain. Particularly you. Right now.

Kseniya Sokulskaya

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

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