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Why Disabled Orphans Die in Ukrainian Orphanages

December 11, 2015, 19:00 4300 Author: Nikolai Kolodyazhnyi, translated by Oxana Burns deti.zp.ua Representatives of Zaporozhye and American charities have spoken about the life of disabled orphans in Ukraine and abroad

On Thursday, December 3, on the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, the representatives of the Happy Child Fund and international charities met with journalists in the Fund and the American «Maya's Hope».

Zaporozhye orphans with disabilities have a chance to find a happy life in new families. The Zaporozhye and foreign charities are ready to help them in this matter. They have already been working successfully and have done a lot. But this work could be even more successful with the help of government agencies. The representatives of the "Happy Child" Fund and the American «Maya's Hope» Fund discussed all these issues at the press conference in the "News-Inform" press center on December 3 which is the International Day of Disabled Persons.

Unfortunately, the state is not able to take into account all the needs of each individual orphan. It is not infrequent that patients of neuropsychiatric establishments are in very difficult conditions. There is not enough accommodation, skilled staff, or medical support; the housing conditions are very poor. For orphans with disabilities in the psychoneurological institutions everything abovementioned sometimes results in premature death due to lack of care, treatment, normal human attention which they lack. Sometimes it can happen because of such seemingly trivial thing as poor diet.

Adoption can be a certain way out. And in recent years, Ukraine has shown some positive trend in family placement of orphans. However, this process poorly applies to orphans with disabilities. As Albert Pavlov, the President of the Happy Child, admitted Ukrainian residents reluctantly accept disabled children into their families. Our society is still being prejudice towards people with special needs. The state doesn’t provide any guaranteed medical or financial support either. For example, when a child in a foster family is 18 years of age, the amount of financial assistance gets significantly reduced. However, if a disabled child stayed in an establishment, the state would continue to allocate more than four thousand UAH as his monthly allowance.

The attitude towards children with disabilities, as well as to persons with disabilities in general, is absolutely different abroad. Maya Rovenchak, the head of the American charity organization «Maya's Hope», spoke about it. Foreign families adopt these children willingly. In order to help disabled orphans to find new families, the "Happy Child" fund together with partners creates and distributes video profiles of children on Internet. Fortunately, there are a few happy stories among patients (now former ones) of charitable foundation. Since 2012, 19 orphans with disabilities from the Zaporozhye region have found a new family abroad. For some of them it was literally a matter of life and death, though Ukrainian doctors had given them the worst medical prognosis. Now these children live a new happy life.

Also the Happy Child fund implements such an alternative form of accommodation for children with disabilities, as "group home" (as these establishments are referred to abroad), or, "centers of social adaptation" as we call them. These are houses where a few children with disabilities live under the supervision of tutors in conditions close to family. Children learn to look after themselves and take care of the place of their accommodation. In such houses children have more opportunities to evolve, adapt, and be most useful to themselves and to society.

At the initiative of the "Happy Child" charity fund in the Zaporozhye region two such "happy houses" have been created in the territory of Chernihiv orphanage in the village of Kalinovka, where 18 children live. Two more "happy homes" are being built in the village of Ukrainka, Mikhaylovsky district. Foster families with disabled children will live there. Four neuropsychiatric orphanage leavers stay in the "house of hope" in the village of Scherbinovka, Cherkassy region, which was also created with the participation of the Fund.

A lot of good deeds for the Zaporozhye orphans with disabilities were done by the "Happy Child" together with its partner, the American charity organization «Maya's Hope». «Maya's Hope» helps orphanages in the Zaporozhye region: they pay salaries to the additional staff, arrange training of employees, procure special food, and ensure everyday necessities of life. The «Maya's Hope» has provided assistance to more than half a million hryvnias during the year of 2015.

The Happy Child Charity Fund offers Zaporozhye authorities to adopt practices of creating "group homes" for children with disabilities, and to implement them in all establishments of the Zaporozhye region. In return, the Fund is ready to share some groundwork. Orphans will benefit from implementation of such a system and it will be more economical for the budget as well.

Foundation is asking caring people for help in the construction and equipping of "happy homes" for disabled orphans. This requires a financial and material assistance - furniture, bedding, appliances, lighting, building materials and volunteers builders. Further information about needed help and how to provide it can be found at DETI.ZP.UA, or by phone +38 066 513 34 35, +38 061 701 57 57.

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