Category Archives: computer

September 2021

Hello family and friends,

Covid-19 has returned to our fair city. There are 348 new cases as of October 3. Some of the schools have closed their doors and have returned to online education until all of the teachers have received their Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. With a seven-day average of 237 new cases, I am pleased to see that our city is taking action. The bus systems are not demanding that people wear masks, but that regulation may come back, too.

Summertime showed very low statistics about the virus. Now that so many people are spending more time inside, and in large groups the statistics have risen from 3 new cases in a day to 237 new cases.
The good news is that Sveta and I received our Pfizer shots. While standing in line, we heard many stories and comments, pro and con, about people still not wanting the shots, or are sitting on the fence about the safety issues.

Mark’s Moment

While I was working in our workshop one day, I noticed that the concrete floor by the wall was cracking. Upon closer inspection, I found that the floor was breaking up by each wall. I took a small sledge hammer and broke up a piece of the floor. To my surprise, the concrete floor was only one inch thick.

Deciding to remove the whole floor, section by section, I became educated about pouring a concrete workshop floor. The broken concrete was a great substitute for gravel, and it was free! Digging down eight inches, I leveled out four inches of broken concrete and gravel, then Sveta and I mixed and poured concrete four inches thick. We have one section to complete. You can see the tools we use.
Pouring a concrete floor in sections is time consuming. Step by step, we will find the end of this project. It may not be beautiful now, but it will be fully functional.

Sveta’s Journey

A number of years ago while visiting the children at the Dobromel Orphanage, Luba, the librarian, approached Mark and introduced herself. She told Mark that there were a number of computers in the library that were not being used. Most of the children and a number of the teachers did not know how to work with computers. Luba asked if MUCH would sponsor her to teach a computer class in the library. Mark was impressed with Luba’s initiative!
In one of their conversations, they discussed expectation. What progress did MUCH sponsors need to see to value and finance the program? Mark explained that any progress would be enough to understand change in the quality of life of a child. It continues to be a long road, but Luba has used the computers to brighten the lives of the children.

Using computers to alter the education experience of children with mental disabilities opens their visual, audio, speech, and tactile communication of their minds. This is nothing new in todays fast paced world of technology. The reality in Ukraine is that computer programmers are popping up everywhere. Programs for the disabled are made available on the internet market. The problem is that the government apparently does not value the potential of children with disabilities enough to provide a computer teacher in the budget of the education system in orphanages for children with disabilities.
Our goal is find some skill that the child, may be able to use in a job situation. Higher skilled children may develop basic office skills. Lower capability children may develop hand eye coordination using the keyboard. Each child is raising his/her quality of life when they learn through the computer.

Vanya, 12 years old, comes from a large family. Of his five brothers and sisters, two who are younger also live in the Dobromel Orphanage. While his family lived in Kiev he attended a regular high school.
Even though Vanya was evaluated and determined to need special education at an early age, he was not place in a special school until just recently.
His education was limited. He never learned to read, or even understand the alphabet. Vanya was enrolled in the ninth grade, because of age rather than ability.

Vanya is easily distracted, and his memory is very weak. He has a restless character, but is not aggressive. He enjoys interacting with his classmates, listening to their conversations and opinions. Vanya wants to imitate them, but is unable to do so.
The computer class is a positive experience for Vanya. He requires repetition upon repetition to lock in a new concept. Luba uses the keyboard to connect the alphabet with the computer. Using many visual attributes of the computer, Luba has begun the long journey of teaching Vanya to read.

Luba shares her loving patience with children in two class periods of seven students per class. They are all challenged in different ways, requiring individual programs. It is a lot of work for Luba . Helping people find their passion is so exciting!

Living my dream,
Sveta

Thanks to each of you who read our stories, and share them in your conversations. Thank you sponsors and prayer warriors for making our journey possible!

Blessings of love and healing,
Mark and Sveta

You can see all of our videos at our YouTube site:
https://www.youtube.com/user/smMUCH/videos

September 2016

Hello family and friends,

Our search for God-led people to join our mission continues. We are looking for people to fill the positions of children’s ministry and tech support ministry. If you or someone that you know has a passion for children, please share our website www.muchhope.org with them. We can be contacted at [email protected]

Sveta and I traveled in September. We rode in the train for nineteen hours from Mykolaiv to Lviv, northwestern Ukraine. There, we met the director of an orphanage for children with disabilities that is located in the village of Veleeky Lubin. He and his driver took us to the orphanage to investigate their needs in respect to the philosophy of MUCH. From there we rode in a bus to Cambir where we changed buses to continue on to Dobromel, a total of two more hours. After spending five days with the children of the Dobromel Orphanage, we rode in a bus to Lviv, and then in the overnight train to Kiev. There we stayed two days with friends who coordinate the Ukraine Challenge mission. It is always good to talk with our friends and other Americans who are visiting on short term mission trips.

Mark’s Moments

Veleeky Lubin
Stepan Yoceepoveech, the director of Veleeky Lubin Orphanage, showed us classrooms, their medical rooms, a fully functional dental room, and the playground. He and his wife, who is the nurse, shared a small lunch with us. Sveta’s and my goal was to see if they had needs similar to dscn3884those at the Dobromel Orphanage. It was very clear to us that they had all of the material equipment that they needed. So, how could MUCH help?

The same as the Dobromel Orphanage, they did not have additional teachers to teach computer classes. They have a beautiful computer room. It seems that the government likes to give the appearance of a fully operational orphanage, but in reality, they are not interested in committing money to the monthly cost of additional teachers for the program. They do not have a massage therapy program for the children, but they do understand the need. We are investigating different possibilities.

For MUCH to begin new programs, after they are approved by the Board of Directors, such as funding a computer teacher and/or a massage therapist, we will need more regular monthly support. The support that operated the clothing program in Marganets that we recently closed will support one massage therapist at $100 per month. We would need an additional $62 per month to support a computer teacher. If you have friends who are passionate about children, particularly children in Ukraine, please share our story with them.

Sveta will share about our time with the children at the Dobromel Orphanage in Sveta’s Journey.

dscn4150Our time in the Kiev area, north central Ukraine, was centered in Voronkiv, at a church camp. The church provides camp for three weeks in the summer for children with disabilities.

Buddy and Janada, coordinators (and much more) of Ukraine Challenge (UC), took us to visit three other churches that UC is sponsoring. These churches are in the process of being built or expanding. It was exciting to see hunger for the Gospel of Jesus Christ in these villages and small communities on the edges of cities.
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We talked about many things with Buddy and Janada. Most important to me, we talked about our purpose as missionaries in Ukraine. Their twenty-one year of service to Ukraine and our fourteen year of service to Ukraine approach the same goal. We are helping the people of Ukraine help themselves to live the Gospel of Jesus Christ through action and word. It is an honor for me to be a missionary in Ukraine, being part of this country in the midst of change.

Sveta’s Journey
The Dobromel Orphanage is my favorite place of all the places that Mark and I visit. Maybe it is because I lived in the orphanage while I gave the twenty-day massage therapy demonstration that started the program there. I always look forward to meeting with the children and our team of two massage therapists and two teachers for the computer classes. Children greet us, and every day during the week we hug them, talk with them, and take their pictures. Whenever I hug the children, I use this great opportunity to pray for them and bless them. I see in their eyes a big need for love and acceptance.

This year, the Ukrainian Ministry of Education (MOE) has finally created an official computer class and provided a teacher. The program created by the MOE teaches theory only, and is taught only two hours a week. When the teacher began her first class, she was very surprised to see what the children already knew about the practical application of computer. Because she was hired by the MOE, she is required to teach the given curriculum.

Therefore, the two computer teachers, Olga and Luba, supported by MUCH, will continue their work. Our teachers work with the children five days a week for one hour each day. It is important for these children to learn and apply their experience every day. It is so wonderful that Olga and Luba can choose the programs which are necessary for their particular group of children and also create an individual plan for the different learning style of each child.

dscn4034Olga not only teaches children computer skills, but she also encourages each child with hugs and words of encouragement. She builds nice relationships of trust with the children.
 

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Volodya continues to change. I was surprised when I saw this former fidgety, naughty, and wild boy in the computer class. During the whole lesson, Volodya was doing his work patiently and diligently. He was proud and happy to show us the text which he typed. It’s so wonderful to see such a huge change in the lives of these children!

Olga takes a short break in the middle of the lesson. With her fluency in English, she combines learning English words and sentences with physical exercise. The children surprised us with how quickly they grasped what they were taught, in spite of the mental limitations of some of the children. Olga has a great love to help the children. She takes an individual approach with each child.

Luba teaches her computer class in the library. She has a beautiful maternal love and patience for the children. She is instinctive about what programs will help them in the future. In her library, she uses older computers which sometimes lock-up. This causes the children to become upset because they cannot continue their work. They have to turn off the computer and reboot it, taking computer time away from them. When this happens, they look at their classmates with envy.
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She also works with two computer tablets provided by MUCH. Luba uses these tablets to work with non-verbal children like Misha. We wrote about him in previous newsletters. This visit he surprised us! He learned several words and began to understand some of the actions that Luba taught him! It is not so easy to teach children like Misha. It requires patience and waiting for the results. Luba has a lot of patience!

With MUCH money we acquired a printer for the library computer class. Children learn to print text and photos with great pleasure!

Olga and Luba began the first month of the school year dsc02793with a review of what they taught last year. It is common for children to forget over the summer what they learned during the previous school year. The children surprised their computer teachers with how much they remembered. It is obvious that the children want to learn how to use the computer. They are very interested in using the computer and are showing great results.

Mark and I saw many physical changes in the orphanage at Dobromel. One example is the newly remodeled adjoining rooms that were created for the massage therapy and exercise programs. A wash basin was also installed in the room for the therapists to wash their hands between massages.

The director of the orphanage always has a vision to improve the quality of life and rehabilitation for the children. The government does not always support his vision financially. With money from MUCH, we helped move some of his projects forward. In future newsletters we will talk more about these projects.

Living my dream,
Sveta

We thank all of you who make our mission a reality! Without your prayers and financial help we could not carry on with our work.

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

March 2016

 

Hello family and friends,P1010003 (2)

In Mid March we had snow flurries! The freezing temperatures come and go, but spring in Ukraine is just around the corner. My friend from Louisiana told me that he plants according to ground temperature, so we are thinking in that direction.DSCN3001

 

 

Our tomatoes are planted and growing toward the sunshine. I knew that those toilet paper rolls would be good for something. — Sveta planted the onions outside yesterday.

 

 

Mark’s Moments

May of 2002, I boarded a plane set for Ukraine. Everything that I owned was packed in two suitcases and a hanging bag. I was moving to Ukraine for the rest of my life, although I was unsure of many things. I was certain of one thing. My faith in God would be tested more than it ever had been. I knew one person in Ukraine and I knew that I would help children. Everything else came to me a day at a time.

It happened that the father of this one person would lead me to Marganets. He would become my manager there. I had money from an American organization that I was to deliver to a church in a city call Illichevsk, wherever that was. July 7 I would begin CDTS (missionary school) in Ternopol, Ukraine for 5 months.

My faith would now be put to a test of time. I settled in Illichevsk in April 2003. By that time I had grown spiritually by leaps and bounds. Even though I was involved in the food program in Illichevsk and my clothing program in Marganets, I had much free time. The American work ethic would not let go. Eight months of waiting for God’s next step for me left me in one big knot of stress. And that led me to the development of the massage therapy program for children with disabilities in March of 2004.

The next twelve years tested my faith in many ways. God was my provider, and I was constantly challenged not to forget that fact. I was introduced to people most unrelated to my mission. Surprisingly, they would unknowingly lead me to a new outreach for the mission. Along the way, there was much down time. Thanks to the missionary school, I learned to hear the voice of God. I developed that relationship, and continue to practice listening for His voice.

Sveta and I met in 2010 and were married in 2011. Together, we look to God for provision. We love the children of MUCH, grow in faith in our church, and grow closer together as “one body, one spirit, one ministry, in Jesus Christ.” (Ephesians 4:4)

Sveta’s Journey

Dobromel and Marganets have facilities that we commonly call orphanages. Technically, the term is ‘internat’. The children who live in the facility may be:
– true orphans,
– children whose parents have lost parental rights,
– children who had to leave their homes because of alcohol, drug abuse, or immorality in the family
– children from difficult homes
– children who live in such poverty that the parents are not able to care for them

In addition to these situations, all of the children in the two orphanages that we help have some type of physical or mental disability

The children at the orphanages who do have families, seldom go home or are visited by their parents during the school year. Some do go home for the summer, and sometimes on holidays. For most children, the orphanage is more of a home than any other experience in theirs lives.

The children at the Dobromel and Marganets orphanages require more time to learn what other pupils learn in less time in regular schools. Although education is very important for these children, that which is most important is the care and protection of the children.

DSCN0180Luba is the librarian and also one of the MUCH computer teachers at the Dobromel orphanage. She works very well with the children. She has wonderful compassion for the needs of the children. Her patience is remarkable! She projects her enthusiasm and love to the children.

Normally, Luba teaches five children. Because of her kindness, she has accepted five additional children. Two children must share a chair and a computer, but their hunger to learn about the computer eliminates their comfort zones.

These children need individual instruction. Luba has devised a plan to meet this need. She works with two children at a time who are on the same or similar skill levels. During this time, the other students are paired, a better student with one in need of help. They review the previous lesson and practice.

The children are very excited about learning new computer skills quickly. Luba considers their memory skills and different levels of learning. Some need to repeat and practice to maintain their new skills. It is a challenge for Luba to encourage the children to repeat the process over and over until they grasp the concept. Others have difficulty grasping the concept and putting it into practice.

Last year, we purchased one computer tablet for children in Luba’s class who can not speak. We wanted to see how it would result in contrast to the physical keyboard and monitor computer. We spoke with Luba recently, and she said that the kids really like the touch screen, and they tend to prefer the tablet. But it is too early to acquire more tablets because she must be close to the pupils to control their actions. Many of the children are unpredictable.

Of the 120 children at the Dobromel Orphanage, only 5% of those who have families, have computers at home. The children really like studying computer lessons. Luba uses interesting and easy-to-play games so that children with intellectual and communication disabilities can learn to use the mouse, keyboard, and examine other simple things on the computer. This is a great opportunity for children to learn to use the computer in this boarding school/orphanage. We believe that many of them, even with learning disabilities, will make great progress.

Living my dream,
Sveta

Sveta and I thank you for your interest in our work with the children. They are so very grateful. Their lives are changing in amazing ways. Better health, better education, and new experiences are making their world grow day by day. You are changing their futures. We all thank you for your prayers and support.

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

July 2013 Newsletter

Hello family and friends,

We Urgently Need Your Help!

It has been six trying years since the 2008 financial crisis. MUCH sponsors have dug deep during those years to keep MUCH alive and serving the children. It was a challenge each year, but this year we are facing our biggest challenge. At midyear, we are $3000 under budget. Our children are depending on us for massage services, education assistance, and clothing. Please find it in your heart to help us keep our mission alive. Every donation will help.

Help Us Make a Difference in a Child’s Life Today

 

Donate Here

 

July brings us very hot weather in the upper 80’s. Of course, everything is compared to something else. For us in Ukraine, this is hot. It is good for business at the beach where many people visit from other countries. The second week of July brought us the pleasure of our daughter, her husband, and their four-year-old daughter. They spent each day at the beach, soaking up the sun and enjoying the wonders of the waves and salty water of the Black Sea.

Since my arrival in Ukraine in 2002, two years before MUCH was established, I stepped forward in faith as God showed me the first two outreaches that He had prepared for me to initiate or support. Ukraine is a country filled with need. It was so difficult for me to see a need and not help. Even so, I learned that God was working in the lives of each individual through a number of people like me. I was not his only vessel. I learned through a few opportunities to help, that if God was not the author of my work, it would not succeed.

As MUCH was conceived In 2004, we started the massage therapy program in Illichevsk, seeing amazing results after three months of my own receiving massage therapy. In 2010, we reached out to the children in the village of Froonza, Crimea with a massage therapy program. After visiting the Dobromel Orphanage for three years, the opportunity to offer a massage therapy program for these children came to me in 2011. This year, 2013, we offer a total of 22 hours of massage therapy per day in these two cities and one village. Here is the simple breakdown:

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1 hour of massage $ 2.85
20 days for one child $ 57.00
22 children per mo. $1,254.00

When I look at the final figure of $1254, I remember my comment when the Sweet Dreams bed replacement project was set before me in 2003. With my eyes as big as fried eggs, I spoke, realizing my limitations, “This is definitely too big of a project for me, … but it is not too big for God.”

For eleven years, my work has never been short of funds by the end of the year. I continue to trust God for His provision through people like you. My words of thanks are without the power to express my deep gratitude, to say nothing of the children’s gratefulness. We thank you from the depths of our hearts!

Sveta’s Journey

DSCN4833AOur mission is to help Ukrainian children. Without your help we could not complete this work. Here are some of the result of your help: children are encouraged with scholarships to seek higher education, their improved health and socio/emotional relationships are enhanced through massage therapy, they have good clothing that improve their self images.

Your help is very important. This is indicated by the directors of orphanages, the parents of children who receive massage therapy treatment, children in the orphanages, and the children whom we met after they have completed their studies.

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Mark and I visited the children from the Dobromel Orphanage in May and observed some of the children receiving massage therapy. Natasha, the masseuse, spoke about the positive physiological and psycho-emotional outcomes for each child. We see gratitude on the children’s faces that needs no words. Their radiant eyes clearly show the change in their persona.

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Thanks to your financial support for the work in the computer class at the Dobromel Orphanage, apart from using the computers individually for lessons, the students as a group are able to view pictures of their past adventures on the interactive whiteboard. On Saturday, Mark and I watched as the children gathered in the computer room after lunch. The teacher showed the children photos of themselves taken a number of years ago. Emotion ran high in the children as they recognized each other, shouting “Look, there is Ivan, … there is Maria!”

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We brought albums for the children and photos that we took on our last visit. It is great to have a personal album where the children can collect their photos and photos of their friends! The children who were shy or did not want to be photographed on our last visit, saw the beautiful albums and photos. This time, they asked us to photograph them. Next time we will need to print more photos for a bigger number of children!

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I met Ira when I lived at the orphanage in October 2011. Out meeting was very funny. I was locked in the shower area for my privacy. When I finished, to my surprise, Ira was coming out of the bathroom, adjacent the shower room. We were both locked in, waiting for the woman with the key, so we sat down and talked. From that time on, Ira and I had great conversation on each of my visits.

She shared about the problems between her parents, and the great stress it caused her. She loved her father, but the problems between her parents caused her to hate her mother. During our fall visit last year, Ira asked me to write her a letter and send photos to her. I said that I would, and suggested that she pray for her parents and love her mother. I wrote Ira a letter and sent pictures with it to her by the director. In the letter, I also encouraged her to pray for her parents.

When we arrived last time, I was very surprised to see her parents visiting her. Wow! The power of prayer is amazing. Ira showed me the letter that I wrote to her. She cherishes and rereads it often. She is very proud of this letter and showed it to her girlfriend. Another girl asked me to write her a letter, as well. This impressed me. I think this is a great opportunity to have a positive impact on the girls through writing, despite the great distance between us. It will be a chance to give them good advice and encourage them.

Thank you for your support through which we can do works of mercy! In addition, on behalf of the children, parents, teachers, and directors we say to all of you, “Thank you very much!”

Thank you for the opportunity to learn!
Thank you for massage treatment!
Thank you for clothes!

Living my dream,

Sveta

Thank you for helping Sveta and me, and all of the MUCH team serving the children, changing the future of their lives and their country.

Blessings of love and healing,

Mark and Sveta

December 2012 Newsletter

Hello family and friends,
Christmas draws nigh and children dream their dreams! Let’s rally our support to make this Christmas Fundraiser a success to provide a computer teacher and additional massage therapy services at Dobromel Orphanage. We are short of our goal, but with your help, their dreams can come true.

The MUCH team in America, the MUCH team in Ukraine, the MUCH Board of Directors, and Sveta and I wish you a very Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, or Happy Holidays. This season of joy and giving inspires the heart and brings joy to family and community. We send you the spirit of love to share with each other during this season and into the new year.

In Ukraine, New Years is celebrated as a national holiday, whereas Christmas is celebrated only in the church. The New Year Season is a time of anticipation for the children with disabilities in Illichevsk. Each year the mayor provides funds for a celebration for these children. There is dancing, a magic show, and toys for the children to take home. This is a very big event for the children. Many spend most of their time in their homes, hidden from the general public. Others spend very much time visiting doctors and therapists.

At one end of the main street, there is a Christmas tree and life-size figures of Father Frost (similar to Santa), and some of the traditional characters of the New Year story. The moral to the story is that good children will receive many gifts, whereas bad children will receive nothing.You may ask, “Why is it different than the spiritual American experience?” In Soviet times, the goal of the Soviet system was to enforce atheism and to crush all spiritual beliefs and practices. Christmas was down-played and the New Year’s celebration replaced everything spiritual about the Christmas Season.

During the past ten years, I have been watching the economy change and commercialism develop and grow. More and more stores now carry Christmas items for decoration, wearing apparel, toys and gadgets. Ukraine is becoming more like America every day. Cash is still the most common currency in the market place, but large company debit cards and local bank credit and debit cards are becoming more common. Ukraine appears to be growing as a consumer society. This is most interesting for a country whose people are about eighty per cent poor.

The Children love Sveta
Sveta’s Journey

At this time, Mark and I are in America. Here, I take a closer look with my new wonderful family and wonderful people. We feel an atmosphere of goodwill, love and acceptance from all of them. We thanked these people for their prayers and for their financial support for the ministry, and, it was amazing! They thanked us for our work. I felt uncomfortable when I heard the words of gratitude. It is my duty and calling of God to be an assistant to my husband in working with children with disabilities. I thank you very much for your heart filled with love!

The children need hands-on methods of learning
Our last visit to the orphanage of Dobromel identified the need for sponsors for a teacher for a computer class. The government bought computers for the orphanage, but did not provide a teacher position and payment for his labor for this class. Therefore, these children have computers but can not use them. I am sometimes surprised by the education system, but this is one more reason to pray for the government.

I decided to explore the topic of “computer and children with mental disabilities.” I found a lot of information on the internet about the computer’s role in the life of a child with developmental delays. I want to share with you a little bit of information.

This is not yesterday’s telephone
“Nowadays, modern technology plays a huge role in the development of children who are unable to learn. Use of computers will help these children to read and write. Also, the use of computer games, tasks, and slide demonstrations will help teachers bring learning material to children more effectively. It will become much easier to manage and care for unstable children by increasing interest and increasing the activity of children in the classroom.
The use of computer technology encourages creativity and contributes to the development of mental processes in children with mental disabilities. Personality development of the whole child improves the quality of his or her learning. Computers can become a means of communication, a means of play, and a means of providing educational activities for children. During the computer activity, the child develops positive emotional reaction. Moreover, the immediate correction of the child’s work contributes to development of his or her mental processes. ”

For me it was amazing how educational software can reveal a child’s capabilities and even help them catch up with their peers.

I recall an example. I was giving therapeutic massage to children while I was living at the Dobromel orphanage/boarding school for a month. The children passed my room every day on the way to their meals. Each evening children came to my room. For them, a favorite toy was my phone, even for the few who have one. They enthusiastically pressed the buttons.The children who did not understand the functions of my phone asked a lot of questions about how it all works. Modern technology fascinates the children: they are hungry for knowledge.
iPad touch screen tablet
Then Mark came to visit the children with a new “toy”. He brought an iPad. For the next two weeks, the children admired the program which he showed them. I saw surprise in the children’s eyes and a thirst to know new things. Each time that we visited after that, they remembered the many programs and games in this little computer.
Teachers of the boarding school in Dobromel treat children with love and patience.They believe that through education, the deviation in the development of these children is no longer a frustrating circumstance for the child, his or her family, and for society.

Non-verbal boys need computers for communication
Thank you, dear friends for reading our letters and responding to the needs of children with whom we meet and then tell you. Your support will be a great help for the children!

Living my dream,

Sveta

We have demonstrated success of massage in improving speech last October at the Dobromel orphanage. Here, there are five mid-teenage children who are non-verbal. They never received massage or experienced the computer world, which may have facilitated their language skills during their early development. Sveta and I would like very much to work with them using massage and the computer to develop their communication skills.

Can you imagine the potential that computer and massage will offer for the younger children who have communication disabilities? With your help this Christmas Season, MUCH can open a whole new avenue of communication possibilities for them.

If God is guiding your heart to help our children this Christmas Season, send a check to the address below or make an on-line contribution at our website,
www.muchhope.org
Please write Christmas in the memo.

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