Category Archives: Flikr

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

July 2012 Newsletter


Hello family and friends,

July is the hottest month in the summer. A few days ago, it was in the mid 90s, but today it is back in the mid 80s. Mornings and evening are wonderful times of day to walk, strolling through the park, or walking by the sea in the cool breeze. This pleasant weather will slip away before we know it, but that is the life we live here in Ukraine, by the Black Sea.

Each month, Sveta and I share stories and pictures about the children in our newsletter. A week or so ago, I started two new ways to tell our story, using the internet. Flickr is a site that allows people to share pictures. We decided that we needed to have a system to share pictures with all people who are interested. At this point, we have 200 pictures organized in 15 sets, starting with the Marganets Orphanage in 2002. We also have sets of pictures from the Illichevsk Massage Program, the Dobromel Orphanage, and the Froonza Massage Program. You are welcome to visit our sets at http://www.flickr.com/photos/muchhope/. When you look at our pictures, if one moves you to write, please leave a comment. Tell us what you think. If you don’t have a computer, there are computers at the library and one of the clerks will be happy to help you.

Do you follow Facebook? We recently created a page for MUCH. We have pictures, not as many as Flikr, but we have them on a timeline, beginning with the creation of MUCH in 2004. If you have a FB account, you may comment on the pictures, click the Like button if you like our page, and you may write something on the status entry, Facebook’s “What do You think?” If you don’t have a FB account, which is free, you may still browse through the page, clicking on the pictures and reading the comments. You may find our MUCH Facebook Page at https://www.facebook.com/smMUCH. We hope to hear from you soon!

Big plans are in the works for the coming year, beginning in the fall. With our three main focus points — healthcare, education, and clothing –we want to increase the number of children that we are helping in education and healthcare. Our Transportation Scholarship Program is the heart of our dream to break the cycle of poverty in Illichevsk. Our different massage programs are showing great results. My personal vision is to add three masseuses to the massage programs, one in each city, and four children to the Transportation Scholarship Program in Illichevsk. Success of my vision will depend upon our current sponsors and new sponsors that we hope to find via the internet social media network. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Flikr, to see how we do. I will tell you more in the August newsletter.

Sveta has some interesting insights about life in the day of a child in the Dobromel orphanage!

Sveta’s Journey

In this letter, I will talk about the lives of children in the Dobromel Orphanage. Each morning, except Sundays, begins with exercise. All children, young and old, begin exercise at 7:00 AM. It’s very interesting to see how they repeat all the commands from the teacher: sit down, stand up, leaning forward, tilting back, squat. Despite the fact that the exercises are simple, many children cannot quickly figure out what is necessary to do, and therefore lag in movement and don’t all turn in unison, although they do try.

Ten tables fill the dining hall.

Then they wash and get ready for breakfast. Since the dining room is small and there is not enough room for all of the 120 children, the meal takes place in three stages: first, the small children eat; then the middle group eats; and finally, the older children. The teachers supervise the young children while they eat, and control that they eat carefully, and that they eat the entire portion.

After breakfast, all the children and the teacher go to the building that is located across the street. The whole orphanage complex consists of two parts: the kitchen and dining room, bedrooms, game rooms, and showers are located on one side of the street, while the educational building is on the other side of the street, about a block away. Without the supervision

The green building is the school.

of a teacher or educator, only some of the older children are allowed to cross the street. Although this town is small, the movement of vehicles, bicycles, and horses pulling wooden carts is intense near the school. There are no pedestrian crossings, and the road is not asphalted.

This school for children with special needs does not offer all of the advanced courses found in most secondary schools. Some of the children have difficulty with numbers and letters, so science in not even a possibility for them to learn. For the higher functioning children, mathematics, history, the Ukrainian language, biology, geography, art, and physical training are the limit to their education. In the spring, the children who have families are called home to plant the crop that will be the family food for the following year. Also, they may care for the cows or babysit the younger children in their family.

Talking between classes.

Between classes, the children go out in the yard near the school. It is equipped with a playground where they have fun, running around or just sitting on the bench and talking.

When the lessons end, the teachers and caregivers process the children back across the street where they will have lunch. While the children eat, the older children have time to pose for pictures, and they happily will ask, “Will you take our pictures?” They love to be photographed! After lunch, everyone will return to the school to do homework with a tutor who specializes in helping the children learn how to do homework.

Chit-chat after supper.

Then supper, and after supper, the children have free time to watch TV in the playroom, or play with games. Older children can spend time outside of the orphanage where they play football or sit on a bench and talk to each other. At 9:00 PM, children go to wash, brush teeth, and sleep.

Every Saturday is bath day. All are bathed in a shower. Young children are washed by a woman caretaker. These evenings are very lively; the children love to wash and are very excited and joyful, before and after their bath. The children told me about this wonderful event the day before.

In the spring, children are also involved in cleaning their rooms on Saturdays. In addition, they clean the grounds outside, learning to take
pride in their environment. In this orphanage, almost all children are under

The brooms are made out of branches.

pride in their environment. In this orphanage, almost all children are under the supervision of trainers and teachers all day – for these special children need constant supervision and control.

A piece of history in Dobromel.

We had a meeting with the Director one day during our last visit. We met outside in one of the little gazebos that is on the property. As we spoke, he pointed to a stone wall that Mark and I have often wondered about. The stone wall that the children and Mark are posing in front of in this last picture is 400 years old. He explained that this is the remains of the wall that encompassed the city of Dobromel in the 1600s. What a treasure to have this historical artifact right there in the territory of the orphanage. What an educational tool.

Living my dream,
Sveta

Speaking of great tools, the internet has given us marvelous opportunities in gathering information and communicating from the mission field through my monthly newsletter and in Emails with sponsors. Social media will give Sveta and me the tools to tell our story in words, pictures, and video. As we move through the second half of 2012, please visit our sites and tell us what you think.

Blessings of love and healing,

Mark and Sveta