Category Archives: Special needs school

April 2018

Hello family and friends,

April has ushered in warmer mornings and afternoons. Our young fruit trees are full of leaves and some are in blossom. We look forward to apples, peaches, cherries, apricot, and plums this year. Sveta planted fourteen fruit trees over the past four years.

I will begin working on the house again in the beginning of May. I hope it will be a productive summer.

Mark’s Moments

While visiting Marganets this month, we stopped in at the Transition Home to see how Yana was doing with the massage therapy program. She treats children who struggle with psychological and emotional problems. This visit, Yana introduced us to six year old Galina, who has cerebral palsy. She and her three siblings have been living at the Transition Home for a week.

As we watched Yana give massage to Galina, we learned about Galina’s home life. Poverty has made it difficult for her mother to care for her four children. The government removed the children from their mother and placed them in the Transition Home until the mother will be able to improve the standard of care for the children.

This has created some interesting opportunities for Galina. While at the Transition Home, she will receive massage and exercise therapies. We spoke to the assistant director and confirmed that the status of the Transition Home is now related to healthcare and respite day care. So, the therapies that Galina is receiving can continue on an “out patient” basis when she returns to her home.

We visited the school in her community of Maksimovka and talked with the director there. We informed her of the healthcare opportunity for Galina. She and Enna were happy to hear this good news. Enna is one of the English teachers at Maksimovka school, and is also our MUCH manager in Marganets.

In the process of our many conversations, Enna told us about her son. He is in his third year of dental studies at the university in Poltava. He wants to learn massage therapy as a second area of expertise. Here is one new individual interested in working with children.

Two days ago, Sveta and I were invited to visit an orphanage with our church pastor and four others. The director of the orphanage, Ruslan, showed us all of the facility and shared many things about the children. Before leaving, Sveta and I talked with him about his massage therapy program.

There are fifty-six children with varying degrees of physical and mental disabilities. Each will benefit from massage therapy according to their unique needs. Some do not speak, some cannot walk, some have emotional and social problems. There is one massage therapist who works part-time. She is expected to provide massage therapy for as many of the children as she can. The general treatment is for twelve days. To get the best result for most of the children, two additional part-time massage therapists are needed.

Now we have three new opportunities for massage therapists. Whenever we talk about finding massage therapists, the statement is always the same. People to become massage therapists are easy to find. Money to pay for their training is the question. Money to pay for their work remains the obstacle.

From 2004 until 2017, MUCH has trained five of the current nine massage therapists who serve our children. If we can find the sponsors, God will show us who He has prepared with a special passion to bring health and healing to the children most in need.

Sveta’s Journey

For a long time doctors could not establish the diagnosis or understand what treatment is necessary to appoint Andre. The boy was already one year old, but he could not hold his head upright, sit, or stand. As a result, the doctor diagnosed cerebral palsy and hypotension of muscles.

For the first ten-day-course of massage therapy for Andre, his muscles strengthened, and there was visual evidence of this. In the position of being on all fours, the child began to hold up his head. Ira, the massage therapist, and Andre’s parents were happy. They saw results! Two months later when Ira came to the child to give a second massage course, she found out that all the results were lost and the boy’s status returned to its original condition. She was surprised. What happened?

Ira began to think aloud, trying to understand why the great result disappeared. She encouraged Andre’s parents to have her child evaluated at the Institute of Genetics in Kharkiv. The mother urgently took the baby to this Institute where, after the examination, doctors found the cause and gave a new diagnosis. There was a lack of the vitamin B group. The lack of this group of vitamins disrupted the conduction of nerve impulses that can lead to such symptoms as cerebral palsy and hypotension. Now the parents know the diagnosis and how to fight for their Andre.

Ira has medical education and great knowledge of how to help children. She also believes and knows that God helps and heals. She always prays for the children. Parents and Ira see God’s action in restoring and healing their children.

Another child that Ira works with also has a very interesting story.

When a medical examination at school was conducted for Tanya, a 12-year-old girl, she was diagnosed with scoliosis and torticollis. The doctor said that the girl had one leg shorter than the other by 2 cm and suggested that she wear a wedge in her shoe. Her parents bought a wedge and Tanya used it for a while. Also, parents decided to visit the Center in Odessa. The doctor took x-rays of Tanya’s spine. It turned out that Tanya’s legs are the same length.The curve in her spine caused the hip to rise on one side. This created the appearance of a shorter leg.

Also unnoticed and certainly untreated in her childhood was torticollis, which aggravated this diagnosis. Ira began to do massage therapy for Tanya in the polyclinic four years ago and here’s the success! After the first course of massage therapy, the parents saw the result. The back and neck became smoother. Ira stopped working in the polyclinic and began to do home massage therapy. Tanya’s parents were very pleased with the results and the loving attitude of Ira toward their daughter. Subsequently, Ira continued to provide massage courses for Tanya at home. Her parents are very grateful and happy. Tanya is diligent and completes all the exercise recommendations of Ira. Everyone sees huge changes.

When Mark and I see joy in the eyes of the parents we are grateful. To have a massage therapy program for children who have disabilities is amazing in this country. We are most thankful to God, our massage therapists, and our sponsors.

Living my dream,

Sveta

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

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

April 2017

Hello family and friends,

We hope that each of you had a pleasant holiday celebration. Sveta and I spent our Sunday afternoon with friends. Lena met us at the bus stop and we traveled to our house together for lunch. Tanya arrived later. It was so nice to see these three friends together share old times and new direction in their lives.

Sveta prepared buckwheat and chicken, garnished with garlic greens. Hard boiled eggs and grated beets, both topped with mayonnaise and greens. Pickled tomatoes and pickled cucumbers added unique flavor. Finally, Sveta’s mother’s preserved vegetable salad completed the festive meal.

Mark’s Moments

Marganets School #3

When we were at this school in the fall, we visited the fourth grade class. They showed us what they were doing with the computer tablets that MUCH provided. This time we visited the first grade class to see what they are doing with the computers tablets that were designated to them this year. The children surprised us with their artwork. They are ready to learn to use computer technology! Why wait until they are older. Director Nataliya has the vision for her school to move forward now!

 

The big surprise came when I asked Svetlana, the first grade teacher, if she knew how to use the computer tablets before they were given to the school. She told us with big excitement that she had to teach herself first, then she could teach the children. That is how far behind small towns and villages in Ukraine are with education tools.

By improving the teaching tools, MUCH is changing the potential of this school. This will have long term effects on the future of Ukraine. Better education changes countries; it is changing Ukraine. This teacher thanks you!

Marganets Transition Home

Sveta and I met these two friends at the Transition Home in Marganets. Inseparable five year olds, Irena and Sasha go to Yana together to receive massage therapy. You were introduced to them in our March newsletter.

It was a delight to watch Yana give each of them a massage treatment. In the process, Sasha had many questions. Looking at his picture, can you imagine what his inquisitive conversations could be? Yana thanks you for the opportunity to bring emotional healing to these children!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Irena kept busy with her art work while Sasha enjoyed his massage.

These are only two of the thirty children who live at the Transition Home. Each child has a different story. Each story will break your heart.

MUCH has sponsored the Transition Home through our clothing program for more than seven years. We started the massage therapy program here this year. We see good progress.

Not only are these children from broken homes healing emotionally, but most are being placed in good Christian foster homes. Some are being adopted. We are pleased to partner with these professionals.

Massage Therapy is an ongoing program. We have nine massage therapists working in four cities and one village. At the current exchange rate that is around 27 UAH for every $1, the massage therapy programs cost a total of $800 per month to maintain. We have one more massage therapist waiting in the wings for funding in the large village of Ovidiopol.

If you are one of the 250 people receiving our newsletter regularly, please know that only about 20 of those 250 who receive our newsletter support our programs regularly. Imagine, if nine new sponsors gave $10 each month, we could support a massage therapist in Ovidiopol.

Our help with Education is about projects. We learn about the needs of a particular school, and we raise money for the specific projects. You have seen our Christmas fundraisers each year as an example.

Imagine, a yearly project is about $4000. If 200 people gave only $20 each, we could easily provide the education needs of a village school each year. A village school serves the children from two or three surrounding villages.

Think of the impact you can have on the life of a child!

Become a MUCH sponsor and give a donation today!

Sveta’s Journey

Chornomorsk

Mark and I visited Chornomorsk in March. Mark spoke to the students of the Transportation Scholarship Program. He talked about the value of education and the impact that they can make on their community. He also told the students that higher education is not only about learning information, but more importantly, it is about learning how to think.

When you know how to think, you can teach yourself many things. We see how committed they are to learning. They fully understand that MUCH and their parents invest love and finance in them. The gratitude of the students is expressed not only in words, but also the excellence of their study. These four students are doing a good job with their studies! Mark and I are glad that we have such an opportunity to encourage (left to right) Arthur, Nastya, Anya and Daniel through those who support the Transportation Scholarship Program! They are very grateful about the ongoing support from MUCH. They thank you!

One woman approached Mark and told him that seven years ago, when her daughter Valya was three years old, the doctors diagnosed the girl with Pes valgus of the feet and rickets. These further lead to disability.

Throughout the year the girl received several massage therapy courses. Valya’s mother is so grateful! She thanks all of you very much.

Now Valya is walking better and has no pain. Her mother’s face is shining with joy! It’s so nice to meet parents who are happy that their child is healthy! All good things come from God!

Valya received massage therapy through MUCH. We are leading the way to correcting some disabilities of children in Ukraine.

Very heavy knapsacks and the wrong position to sit at the desk led to poor posture and pain in the back and cervical spine of the twin sisters Olga and Anya. Ira, our massage therapist conducted a course of therapy for these girls. Now Olga and Anya do not feel pain, their postures have been corrected. Ira gave them recommendations for physical exercises to strengthen the muscles of the back. Olga and Anya’s Mom expressed great gratitude to us and the sponsors of MUCH!

I deeply believe that twelve years ago God opened the door to massage therapy and continues to bless children through MUCH! Three massage therapists Natalia, Tanya and Ira help children and comfort their parents in Chornomorsk!

Living my dream,

Sveta

We need YOUR help to move MUCH through another twelve miraculous years.

Let’s begin today!

Thank you in advance! The children thank you! Ukraine thanks you for helping to change their country!

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 2017

Hello family and friends,

In 2014, we moved into our unfinished home in Mykolaiv. Each year we make improvements, making the house warmer, drier, and cozier. Sveta was working in the garden this week and her eyes twinkle once again. I am ready to finish the external insulation of the house and am making plans for the workshop/summer kitchen. God has blessed us abundantly with our little home.

Mark’s Moments

The hearts of our two new massage therapists in Mykolaiv are on fire. Each therapist began to reach out to their community, offering home visit massage therapy for children with different diagnoses. They began in January and are building their clientele. This has been working out well. We are seeing results in the first month of treatment.

Anya in Mykolaiv

Anya is working with Philip who is diagnosed with hyperactivity. Home visits are a bit more difficult. Finding a work surface that is comfortable for the massage therapist, and is comfortable for the child, can be a challenge. Another situation that the therapist must deal with in the home visit is the presence of siblings. In this situation, Philip is calmed by watching cartoons while Anya focuses on the massage treatment.

Oksana in Mykolaiv

Oksana is working with George, 14 years old. His diagnosis is kyphoscoliosis. His spine is curved forward more that normal in the shoulder area. Also, you may be able to see in the picture that his spine is also curved side to side instead of being straight up and down.

George complained of upper back pain. He received a 20-day massage therapy treatment. His mother saw changes in George’s posture and emotional composure. His pain was alleviated and George was feeling much better.
Oksana bought her own massage table and treats some of her clients in her home. Her work is straight from her heart. She has two small children of her own at home.

A Deeper Passion

This month, as Sveta has been talking with the our therapists, they are asking about another possible opportunity to serve children. In Mykolaiv, there is an orphanage that serves children with physical disabilities. Our therapists are very interested in investigating the feasibility of focusing their work on the children at the orphanage. This sounds very good to me!

Sveta’s Journey

Dr. Natalia in Chornomorsk

Ilya lives in Chornomorsk. He began to receive massage therapy when he was 1 year old. This timely treatment that we call “early intervention” makes new connections in the brain while the brain and body continues to develop.

Through massage therapy, the “walking” motor skills are trained to develop correctly. The muscle tone of the weaker muscles is improved, and the opposing muscles can now develop together. This causes the brain to work correctly.

Ilya was not interested in the world around him; he could not speak or walk. Step by step there was progress. At first he learned to crawl. It was not easy to achieve such an activity. Then he began to say some words. Although this is normal for healthy children and it happens easily, for Ilya this was the result of much time, and the joint work of Dr. Natalia, Ilya’s mother, and grandmother.

During the last five years, his mother and grandmother have done their best to help the child. All of these years, Ilya has received help from MUCH by receiving massage therapy. Dr. Natalia saw how difficult life was for Ilya’s family and she has also contributed to their need. Last year she invited Ilya’s mother to work as an administrator in her center.

Today, Ilya is speaking well and intelligently. He can construct complex sentences. This is a great achievement for a child with his diagnosis. This little boy learned to walk somewhat independently relying on a moving object (chair). Dr. Natalia believes Ilya has promise and she plans to teach him to walk without support. She wants to improve his intellectual potential so that by the age of nine, he will be prepared to attend a special school.

It is a long process. Even so, when we see such extreme progress, we can better understand the long term value of the work that our massage therapists are doing every day.

Marganets School #3

The Marganets School #3 students are very enthusiastic about sports. MUCH has provided the equipment and team shirts; the teacher provides the education and leadership; and the students provide the energy and joyful noise.

Now the children really feel that they are a team! They are united not only by their desire to take part in competitions, but also by wearing the same uniforms, they feel like a real sports team! Their teacher, Igor, is always grateful to you, dear friends, for such great support. He thanks you for helping him do his job better.

Also at School #3, about thirty children participate in the clothing program. Orphaned children and those who live in poverty are in great need of clothing, particularly in the winter months. MUCH provides funds for these needs each month.

You would have to meet the children to truly understand their great need. They are very thankful! Even so, their lives are so challenging, it is difficult to see smiles on their faces for very long.

The children thank you for your care about them!

Yana is our new massage therapist. She began this new program for MUCH at the Marganets Transition Home in January 2017. Children who come to this place may not need physical healing, but their wounded hearts need healing. Interacting with children through massage therapy treatment, the massage therapist not only touches their muscles but also their souls.

Almost all the children did not want to undress to receive massage therapy. When asked to do so, they looked at Yana suspiciously. She did not insist. Rather, with patience, she lovingly spent time with children, chatting and preparing their hearts to trust her. On the third day, the children agreed that Yana could give them massage therapy.

She worked at establishing a trusting relationship. Some teenage boys have ceased to be cruel and loud. One girl name Anya was restless and irritable. At first she did not want to do physical exercises and did not want to take off her clothes for the massage therapy. She started undressing herself by the third procedure, and on the fourth visit, she did all the exercises with pleasure. She especially liked to blow up the balloons, an exercise for her lungs.

Vanya was happy to participate in all of the procedures. At first, he only smiled and nodded his head at all of Yana’s questions. From the fifth procedure, she heard the first words from his mouth.

Our dear friends, thank you for helping us touch the lives of these precious children. God bless you and your children!

Living my dream,

Sveta

Nine MUCH massage therapists in five cities in Ukraine are changing the future of this country. Maybe one of our children receiving massage therapy will make a great contribution to Ukraine, or the world. A more concrete reality is that by setting examples of compassion and human rights for these children of great need, communities are changing their mentality. People see hope, and are standing up to speak for children who cannot speak for themselves.

Thanks to each of you who read our newsletter, share our stories with your friends, and lift us up in prayer as we continue to follow God, sharing His blessings with the children of Ukraine.

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

Education Scholarship Fundraiser

Mark Koehler, founder and Vice President in charge of Field Operations, and his wife Sveta, operate Mission Ukraine Children’s Hope (MUCH) from their base in Illichevsk, Ukraine. MUCH, a 501 (c) (3) charitable nonprofit Christian ministry has dedicated itself to helping disadvantaged children in Ukraine communities and orphanages since 2004. We focus our mission in three categories of support: Education, Healthcare, and Clothing. In 2007, the Scholarship program began. The massage therapy program for children with disabilities gave birth in 2004. The first outreach program set in motion monthly provisions of clothing for children in an orphanage in 2002.

Who Mission Ukraine Children’s Hope
What Fundraiser for Education Scholarships $6,080
Where Illichevsk, Ukraine
When August 14 – 17, 2013
Why Scholarship for 4 students, university or college
How Internet: Facebook and Twitter

A $10 contribution will go a long way!!!

MUCH is having its first internet fundraiser, using Facebook and Twitter. The focus is on education; our goal is to raise $6,080 for two years at university or college for 4 students.

This education fundraising event will take place August 14 through August 17, 2013. Each day, two or more articles will be posted on the Facebook MUCH Page www.facebook.com/smMUCH and the MUCH website www.muchhope.org . The articles will explain about education in Ukraine, some of the problems that deny children higher education, and will share about our students-in-waiting, with stories and videos.

Articles

August 14

Introduce the fundraiser

August 15

Transportation scholarship

Education Breaks the Cycle of Poverty

August 16

How does Education Break the Cycle of Poverty

Crime Prevention Through Education

August 17

Sveta’s Story

When You Find a Heart for Children, Nourish it!

Vika, A Nursing Scholarship

Final Report of the Fundraiser

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

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