Category Archives: Baby House

May 2017

Hello family and friends,

Spring has sprung! The gardens are green and growing very well. Grass needs cut and weeds are being pulled. Life in Ukraine is moving forward!

Mark’s Moments

The War Continues

Traveling by train from our home in Mykolaiv to L’viv, and from there to Dobromel by bus, we saw the beauty of Ukraine’s farmland. The more we traveled west, the more peaceful everything seemed. Unfortunately, the war in Eastern Ukraine continues. It takes on a different style every so often. Before the war, Russia controlled gas for home heating, trying to weaken Ukraine. Now, coal is the energy weapon, but it is Ukraine’s own coal that Russia is trying to control.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/02/28/gunmen-east-ukraine-occupy-donetsk-stadium-amid-standoff-coal/

If you are an honest man working in the Russian government, your days are numbered. Russia has its own form of terrorism.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/03/23/russia-accused-state-terrorism-ex-mp-shot-dead-ukraine/

The ongoing conflict between Ukraine and Russia is now in the International Court of Justice. This story is a good update on the progress of the war.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/04/19/ukrainian-president-says-russia-has-attitude-problem-urges-theresa/

Veleeky Lubin Orphanage


Our bus travel from L’viv to Dobromel passes through Veleeky Lubin. We stopped to visit the orphanage and meet our massage therapist who began in January. Igor has fifteen years of experience with massage therapy. We watched as he gave two of the children massage. He connects with the children very well, calming their anxiousness about physical contact.

As with all of our massage therapists, Igor gave me a massage. This helped me understand his technique. I was impressed.

Ternava Village School

The Ternava school is located three and a half miles from Dobromel. Last year MUCH provided sewing machines to enhance the experience for the children in the sewing class. Sveta and I visited the class to see the children in action. The girl in the back showed me the phone pocket that she sewed with cloth.

I asked the boy what was interesting to him about sewing. He told me in his shy manner. I encouraged him with a story about a man in Ternopol who had a dream to have a sewing factory of his own. I told the boy that this friend of mine is very successful. I saw a light of enthusiasm in his eyes.

The war continues, but MUCH helps Ukraine fight the war with education. We provide educational tools to improve the future of Ukraine. You never know who will influence Ukraine or the world in the next generation of leaders.

Dobromel Orphanage

Last year MUCH provided a number of the items for this hair care class at the orphanage. With the help of other sponsors, the class is in full operation. Although the pupils have the skills to create designer haircuts for the boys, the director forbids it. He is very careful about what may influence the fragile lives of these children.

The new focus at this orphanage is to train the children who will not go on to trade school. If special needs children do not qualify for some type of higher education, then their ability to earn money is very limited. Developing work skills while the children are in the orphanage is a vital aspect for their future.

Sveta’s Journey

Yura, 11 years old, came to the Dobromel orphanage four years ago from the Baby House. When he arrived, he was wild and uncontrollable. His diagnosis is cerebral palsy and kyphoscoliosis. During four years, he received 14 courses of massage therapy. He became calm soon after his first course of massage therapy. Our massage therapists Natasha and Paul see good results after the massage courses. More importantly, the doctors see change in Yura’s overall physical and emotional health.

For two years, Luba, our computer teacher, used a computer tablet to teach simple skills to the less able children. She used training programs designed to teach children with disabilities. Mark and I were very surprised and impressed with how well Yura coped with the tasks! Although he says only a few words, he understands very well! We see great changes in his character, health and intellectual development. This time our hearts were so full of joy for this wonderful child. God, the Defender of orphans, has touched the hearts of an American family to adopt Yura! Soon he will be a part of a family in America!

Luba does an excellent job helping 14 children learn how to use computers and computer tablets on a daily basis. Taking into account the personality and level of development of each child, she prepares tasks for each one of them. Some educational games are more complicated. Some are simple puzzles. The higher skilled children are learning to use the key board with the goal to learning to touch type.

Two years ago, as an experiment we bought one tablet for the computer class. Teaching children to use the tablet has brought tremendous results. It helps Luba give lessons to the children more easily and in an interesting way. After amazing results last year, we bought one more computer tablet for Luba’s classroom.

Last year MUCH bought three additional tablets. Oksana, the defectologist, Melany, the speech therapist, and Julia, the child psychologist each expressed a great interesting to have a tablet to enhance their progress with the children. They are very grateful for these tablets.

Oksana showed us how the children she is preparing for the first grade demonstrated good results using the tablet. Children study colors, count to ten, classify vegetables and fruits, wild and domestic animals, and much more.

Melany, is delighted with the results that children achieve through learning with the programs in the tablet. Children learn much faster and more efficiently. They are very interested in the lessons. The musical reward brings delight to the children when they complete the task correctly. This girl was so stimulated because of the tablet that she began to form sounds and speak simple words.

 

 

 

For these therapists, the computer tablets are a huge help in providing an exciting teaching technique. The children happily showed us what they had learned. They are so proud! They have the confidence that they can do it!

Our time spent with the children was so wonderful! The last evening when we said that tomorrow we will leave, some of the children cried. I remember how every day they pressed themselves with all their heart to us and hugged us. I miss them and love them.

Living my dream,

Sveta

Sveta and I are very grateful to everyone who makes our work possible. The children thank you! Your contributions to MUCH are helping change Ukraine. We are setting examples in healthcare and education. Many teachers and administrators had no hope for change. Now they dream of ways that they can do their job better, change the lives of the children they serve, and change their country, step by step.

Thank you for reading our stories and sharing them with your friends!

You can see all of our videos at our Youtube site http://www.youtube.com/user/smmuch

Blessings of love and healing,

Mark and Sveta

August 2013 Newsletter

Hello family and friends,

July brought sunny weather and many guests. It was very pleasant to visit with family and friends. The August evenings are becoming cool, but the days remain hot. I look forward to September 1, which will bring an immediate change of season, and the first day of school for the children.

Our midyear fundraiser was successful. Thanks, to the many MUCH sponsors who came to our aid. With the 500 + children that we serve, we have a big budget.

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Excursion to the Geographical
Center of Europe
This part of Ukraine is the
center of east/west Europe

What happens to the children of the orphanages during the summer months? They go to camp! There are many government-owned camps remaining from Soviet times. The children are sent to camp according to age groups. This year, Natasha, the massage therapist at the Dobromel orphanage, and her seven year old daughter went to camp with the children. It was a great time for all!

 

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Each week had a theme. One week was devoted to sports activities. Other weeks provided excursions, picnics, and climbing in the mountains of Carpathia. The children visited a shallow lake where they participated in the popular mud bath. Can’t you imagine the fun the children had smearing liquid mud over each other.

(Something that I missed in school was understanding that Russia is part of eastern Europe. The Ural Mountains, Ural River, and the Caucasus Mountains are the geographical land border of the eastern edge of Europe.)

Sveta’s Journey

Natalya B. is one of our massage therapists in Illichevsk. She uses multiple massage techniques combined with special exercises and medical equipment. Her individual approach for each child and her great love that she projects toward her little patients achieves great results.

Ivan is 2.5 years old and he has Cerebral Palsy. This child was born with a severe disability, with asphyxia and was in intensive care three months. Doctors said that the child was hopeless and advised parents to give him to the Baby House for children with severe disabilities. However, the parents did not agree with the predictions of doctors and took their child home. Up to age six months, the boy did not focus on or follow an object with his eyes. He could not roll over from back to stomach, and back again, and could not do what healthy children at this age do.

After three twenty-day courses of massage, when Ivan was one-and-a-half years old, he got up on all fours and began to crawl and to sit without support, but he still could not walk.

P1010014 - CopyA

Ivan wears the “Adele” suit

To date, after regular massage courses, Ivan has good progress: he can walk with the support of adults holding one hand, and he speaks elementary words. He is a very sociable and outgoing child. Contrary to the predictions of doctors, this child lives, grows, and develops!

Natalya B. has worked with him since he was three months old. Along with massage, she uses other devices, one which is the “Adele” suit.

 

This medical costume has adjustable elastic straps that create resistance for the muscles. This suit creates a muscular skeletal framework that holds the limbs in the correct position for movement. While wearing this medical costume, Ivan develops new reflexes and activates cells in the motor center of the brain. This improves the ability to achieve movement, coordination, and even speech. It is amazing!

To see our video of these two children, click here.

P1010062 - Copy (3)AThe second child, Jan, who receives massage therapy from Natalya B. is a wonderful girl. About two years ago, Mark and I first visited the family when they moved to Illichevsk. We wrote about her in the February 2012 newsletter. Jan could not roll over or hold her head upright. Her parents do everything possible that can be done to help their child: regular massage courses with special passive exercise, stimulation training on a horse, medication, and one time they took Jan to the Dolphinarium. It takes much time and money. Her parents have a huge appreciation for your help. Thank you MUCH sponsors for your financials support. They are very grateful and gave us a video where Jan swims with dolphins.

After two year of massage treatment, Jan began to hold her head up. She can turn her head, and follows moving objects with her eyes. She responds to voice, can do some voluntary movement, and has improved posture. Jan’s parents are immensely happy seeing these results. We saw tears in her mother’s eyes when she told us about her daughter.

Again, please accept this big appreciation from the parents and from us. Mark and I are very thankful that you support us as missionaries in the Ukraine. Let God’s blessings abundantly come into your life! God bless you!

Living my dream,
Sveta

You can see all of our videos at our YouTube site

Most times that Sveta and I visit a child receiving massage at his or her home or in one of the clinics, I am overwhelmed by the hope that I see in the eyes of the parents or grandparents. Progress is slow, but the parents are so hopeful for their children. They thank you, the children thank you, and we thank you for your loving support.

Blessings of love and healing,

Mark and Sveta

November 2012 Newsletter

Hello family and friends,

The election is over and a new journey begins. Many Americans do not really understand what people in other countries think of them. I have been living in Ukraine for ten years. You cannot imagine how people would love to be in my shoes, an American citizen, the freedom that Americans have, but many take for granted. May we remember on Thanksgiving Day that as a country, we have much to be thankful for. It is because of the greatness of our country that we help those devastated in Hurricane Sandy, meet their needs, and help them rebuild their lives. The world is watching how we treat our own and how we reach out to others in distant lands.

Our 2012 Christmas Fundraiser is in full swing.

The goal of our Christmas Fundraiser is $4,550.

Boy from Baby House gets a massage
Our focus this year is to add one part-time massage therapist and one part-time computer education teacher at the orphanage in Dobromel. How the government works here in Ukraine is somewhat different from in the USA. The government of this emerging country continues to struggle, voting in laws that they do not or cannot enforce, even after 21 years. The government does understand the needs of the children whom we serve, but they are given a low or sometimes non-existent status. We began this massage program in January to prove the positive results to the director of the orphanage. He was amazed with the results. He, in turn, will share this information with the officials in the L’vov government. If we step up to the plate and open the eyes of the officials with documented evidence, they are more likely to help the children.
Please give us the tools to learn.

Computers are available, but there is not a position in the budget for a teacher. Our goal for the computer program is to provide better visual aids for teaching basic educational concepts to the children most in need. Three of the older boys have no verbal communication. The computer will open new doors for them. We visited many of the classes and have video of the children. To move these children forward, wanting to keep pace with this emerging country, we need to use computer technology to utilize the best means of communication for the educational process.

Help us change the lives of our children!

Sveta’s Journey

For six days in October, we visited the children in the orphanage and the transit home in Marganets. We communicated with them every day, and observed their lives. Mark and I have prepared games for the children to have a fun time. However, what I found out for myself is that children’s games are not so important; it is more important to communicate with them, find out their interests, their desires, and their inner world. They asked many questions, the girls were interested in my life with Mark: How did we meet? How did we interact before we married?
D. Miss Blue Eyes, chats with Mark
They very attentively watched our relationship. D. said, “I would like to find that same kind of husband as Mark for myself.” I think that Mark and I will be a small example for these children of a friendly and happy family, an example of the correct, healthy relationship between husband and wife. I rejoice when I see a positive impact on children. Boys and girls are looking forward to our visits, and with great pleasure spending time communicating with Mark. I see that for them it is very important, and the time of our visit left memories in their hearts. The time of sowing good seeds in the child’s life, which then germinate, will certainly be fruitful.
D. wants to be a hairdresser and a chef. I see that she is a girl with purpose. D. is doing it! She has no parents, she is an orphan, but she has a goal in life and it is wonderful! Mark remembers D. as a little girl and she also remembers him. During this visit, they both remembered their past meetings.

Pedal-powered sewing machine
In the sewing-class, there is just one old foot-powered sewing machine. Of course, there is not time for every girl to learn to work on the sewing machine. Most of the lessons are studying the theory of cutting and sewing.

Hand crafted work of the children

It is too bad that children cannot have practice. Girls also learn to do handmade embroidery, making pictures, pillows, and cross-stitch. We have seen their work – they make very beautiful products. For children with developmental intellectual disabilities there must be an emphasis on teaching practical skills that will help them to live and establish themselves in society.

Click on YouTube in text to see performance
In the Marganets Orphanages, there are teachers who help many children who have talent, develop their gifts. Beautiful Julia has a wonderful voice. Last year, she took part in the competition between children from other orphanages. She was awarded the first place trophy and her song was put on YouTube. Her dream is to study at the School of Arts. It is wonderful that, while living at the orphanage, this girl has found a dream and a vision for her life.

When it came time to leave, and we said goodbye to the children, they did not want to let us go. We also were very sad to leave them. They said that they love us and cannot wait for our return. We told them that the most important thing to us is that they grow up and become good people. Of course, we also love them very much and will miss them!

Living my dream,
Sveta

MUCH has invested deeply in the lives of the children in Marganets during the past ten years. You have read some of the results of our work above. This Christmas Season, will you help us promote similar compassionate programs in Dobromel? You can make a donation today, online or through the post office. Please help us meet our goal of $4,550 by Christmas!

Blessings of love and healing,

Mark and Sveta

October 2012 Newsletter

Lots of computers, but no teacher to open the minds.
Hello family and friends,
September in the hills of Dobromel met Sveta and me with temperatures in the low 50s F. We traveled through light rain from L’vov to Dobromel, but had four days of crisp autumn weather to share with the children. An hour of video clips and 313 pictures captured the activities and class work of the children. Sveta will share more in her article below.
It is time, once again, for the MUCH Christmas Fundraiser. This year we will focus on two new programs in Dobromel. At the Dobromel Orphanage, our first priority is to support a computer program that will put 20 computers already in place, to use. The director has a classroom full of computers with a complete PowerPoint system, but no staff position in the budget to pay for a teacher.
A great education tool!
The government does not see the value. Our goal is to raise enough money for January through May of 2013, and the September 2013 through May 2014 school year. This will pay a teacher to educate pupils in the realm of computer skills that will directly affect the futures of the children. The total cost of this program for these fourteen months is $1750.
We saw results from the first month!
At the same orphanage, we would like to add a second part time masseuse at the orphanage. We have seen such great results in the first five month of this year; see Sveta’s Journey in the June Newsletter. MUCH bought a massage table for the orphanage massage room, and Natasha, the masseuse/exercise therapist, continues to do her job well. The application possibilities of massage for the 120 children with special needs continue to grow. A second masseuse will create additional services for as many as 20 children a year. The cost to run this program for fourteen months, the same time period as the computer program above, is $2800.
The total goal of our Christmas Fundraiser for 2012 is $4550.

Sveta’s Journey

What is surprising to me is that the government has allocated funds for the purchase of computers, and the orphanage is equipped with a computers classroom, although, the government does not provide a staff position for a teacher to conduct lessons. In the beginning of this school year, the director of the orphanage could not start the computer lessons for children because there was no teacher. The director said that he will find someone to teach, but, of course, he will need funds to pay for the work. We pointed out that MUCH is interested in sponsoring education programs, and there is a desire in our hearts to find the means to pay for this work.

With quality documentation and good results, we believe that the government will provide a teacher position and will pay for his work in the future. First, they must try out the program and create these opportunities. That is where MUCH comes in. Children with physical and mental disabilities need an initial level of education. The computer can improve the technique off teaching, and provide computer skills. There are many programs written to help special needs children learn more easily. All of this will help them to fit into society more smoothly.

Computers provide new ways to learn basic knowledge, develop hand eye coordination for activities such as typing skills, and bring the world to the student through the internet, opening a huge library of knowledge. These machines increase the rehabilitation of mentally challenged children to a new advanced level, expanding their social circle and ideas about the world, helping to develop cognitive abilities.

For $1750, the director can staff a computer teacher for a year and a half of school time, helping these special needs children. Will you share your Christmas giving with them? It will change their lives forever!

Almost all of the children in the orphanage need massage. Last October, the director, the nurse, and I, visited each class of children for whom I was giving massage. The director personally examined each child, having him or her raise the shirts. As he viewed their spines, he was surprised how many children have problems with their spines. The director sees a great need for a second masseuse. Unfortunately, at this time the regional authorities do not provide funding for staffing this job. The director will prepare reports on the results of massage for the children; the staff will supply evidence of the changes they see in the children after a course of massage. He will meet with a doctor who specializes in treating children with physical or mental disabilities to obtain qualified assistance in obtaining an official position for a masseur/masseuse.

For $2800, we can add a second masseuse, providing massage for a year and a half of school time for these special needs children. Will you share your Christmas giving with them? It will begin to change their lives after the first month of massage.

Some of our little freinds!
When Mark and I visited the Dobromel Orphanage, the children and the teachers were all glad to see us. We were also happy to see our little friends again and spend many days with them. This time we saw a lot of new children, first graders and older children. Among them was the child R. – a very beautiful girl (wearing the red shirt – left).
A new boy Y., came to the orphanage/boarding school after spending his first six years in a Baby House. Here is an example of a Baby House. He is an orphan. We do not know how he was raised until this time, but many of his actions express aggression. When I talked to Mark and the children on the street, he took a big stick and tried to hit us. I took it from him and hugged him, but he pulled away and hit me with his little hands. What were the conditions he lived in and how did he grow up? Surely, he did not feel love for himself and no one caressed him. This conclusion could be drawn from his aggressive behavior.
A big step up from the Baby House.
Natasha, the masseuse, gave Y. a 20-day massage. She says that he has changed a bit compared to the first days of the school. Natasha has a lot of patience and love for children. It was very difficult to massage this child; she needed time to give him some instruction.
First grade, a time for change
The atmosphere in the boarding school is full of love. I like the attitude and policy of the educators and teachers individually toward each child. The atmosphere has discipline and love! Here the child will feel and see love, and learn discipline. We saw the happy faces of the children. As you can see, they are joyful.
Of course, no one can replace a good family and good parents with an orphanage/boarding school. Although, for many children who lived in dysfunctional families, the orphanage is much better. During this visit, I saw good changes in the children – especially the youngest ones. They have become more disciplined, understanding the rules of behavior in their own community and the community at large.
We may not speak, but we want to communicate!
Mark and I have captured on video how the lessons are held in the classroom. Classes are formed by age, but in each class, there are children who have different levels of intelligence. For example, in seventh grade, three boys and one girl (right) are not able to speak well. It is difficult for them to speak and their level of understanding is very low. Teachers give these children simple tasks to write, or draw simple circles, sticks … With the computer class they could work independently with materials that are specifically for their level of intellect.
Pictures give memories for the children
We handed children photos from our previous visit (left). It was so great! The children were waiting for the new pictures, so, the next time we want to bring to each child a small photo album.
Keeping my pictures safe!
This idea came to us after R., a boy of 9 years old (right), had shown us how he stores your photos. He unbuttoned his little suit jacket and proudly showed the photos that he folded several times and “carefully” stored in the inner pocket of his jacket.
Our Dobromel masseuse, Natasha, sends to all of you, dear American friends, very much thanks for your attention and love for the children. We also express our gratitude to you and the Ukrainian people who also take part in these programs.
Living my dream,
Sveta
We are hopeful, friends, that you see the great needs of the children that we highlight for our Christmas fundraiser this year. Please consider them as you make your Christmas plans. May God bless you as the season of giving draws near.

Blessings of love and healing,

Mark and Sveta