Tag Archives: Baby House

November 2013

Annual Christmas Fundraiser

Dobromel Orphanage Massage Therapy and Computer programs


Froonza Massage Therapy Clinic

Hello family and friends,

Sveta will begin this newsletter with a heart-moving story from the Dobromel Orphanage.
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I want to tell you a story about a seven-year-old boy whose name is Illiya. He moved to the Dobromel Orphanage for Children with Physical and Mental Disabilities from the Baby House where he lived for five years. Here is his story.

As I tell you his story, imagine that you are Illiya. Your problems began while you were growing inside of your mother. She was an alcoholic, even during her pregnancy. Your mother’s diet caused you to be born with Alcohol Syndrome. Beginning your life with the weight of three-pounds-three-ounces, the doctors insisted that you remain in the hospital for at least two months. Your mother never visited. What a lonely, empty way to start a life. By the end of two months, you had gained weight and were released from the hospital.

Your mom took you home, but did not care for you, a poor defenseless baby. She fed you very little food, and gave you alcohol to drink so that you would sleep and not cry. It was not long before the neighbors complained, and the authorities came to take you away. They took you away from your mother, but brought you to a place that was not much better, the state-run Baby House. Life in the understaffed Baby House went something like this. They woke you up in the morning to feed and diaper you. Then, you were left alone in your bed until it was time to eat and have your diapers changed. That went on, day by day.

September of 2013 was the beginning of a new and positive life. You are now living in the Dobromel Orphanage that has an American sponsor named MUCH. The orphanage has many nice people, but there is something new–this thing called massage therapy. The children told you that it makes you feel really good. There is this young woman who is really nice. She laughs, and talks to you, teaches you exercises, and then … with oil on her hands, she begins to slide them on your back and press deep on the muscles that are tight. During one of your massage therapy sessions you shared that you were afraid that someone was trying to kill you at the Baby House. By age seven, all that had happened to you in your short life had created fear, anxiety, hyperactivity, and muscles that began to create pain where there shouldn’t be any.

Oh! That feels so good. When she finishes the massage, you don’t want to leave. This person is so nice to you; you feel this sensation of … it must be love.

The children were right about massage. You agree with them. You feel better, and your teachers say that you are more relaxed and peaceful and you have begun to like yourself. You can’t wait until the next massage.

Illiya and twenty-four other children are waiting.

Twelve months of massage therapy in Dobromel

will cost $2,400.

Sveta continues to report on Dobromel:

20130517_120741 - CopyThe biggest result this year, which surprised us, was a little boy named Sasha. His little rounded back was curved close to his shoulders, so that he looked like a little old man. After several courses of massage therapy his back straightened, obvious even to the naked eye. The boy came to the orphanage from the Baby House last year. He was very wild and aggressive. The child did not understand discipline during the classroom lessons. He sat on the window and look outside. When the teacher told to him to sit at the desk, the boy was not obedient and did not listen to the teacher. Now he is a polite and good boy. Sasha is friendly and calm, his mind has improved. Natasha continues to work with Sasha, seeing continued progress.

In the massage program at the Dobromel Orphanage, the massage therapist, Natasha, has given massage therapy to forty-nine children during the last two school years. Some of these children have two, three, or four courses of massage. During two years, the director, teachers, Mark, and I saw many large and small positive results in the improvement of the physical condition of the children and also change in their psycho-emotional condition.

Mark comments on the Froonza Massage Clinic:

Slavik, the massage therapist in the village of Froonza, has given massage to thirty-eight children within two years. Many times we have met with the parents, and they expressed gratitude that they have such a great opportunity for their children. This program began in the village, because there was a great need for two children and eleven others with lesser need. Now, parents from three surrounding villages, despite the long distance and their need to use the bus, bring their children for massage treatment.

Accountability in the Massage programs:

Every month, before receiving their wage, the massage therapists must send Sveta progress reports for each of the children that they provided massage for that month. We have been seeing great results from Natasha in Dobromel and Slavic in Froonza. While visiting Dobromel, Natasha gave me an upper body massage. Having received a therapeutic massage from every therapist that works for MUCH, I was pleased with her technique and awareness of my back problems. We hold our massage therapists to high standards, expecting the best!

Twelve months of massage therapy in Froonza will cost $2,400

Nineteen children are waiting to receive continued massage therapy

Your donation will bring rehabilitation

to 44 children

at Dobromel Orphanage and Froonza Massage Clinic

Mark and Sveta tell about the computer program at the Dobromel Orphanage.
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Now, the teachers have been taught how to use the computers for different purposes with the children. One example is showing pictures of past outings, giving the children great pleasure, but this also helps the children develop memory skills. Vladimer, the computer instructor, has also been teaching the children to use the keyboard, copying text from the PowerPoint projected image on the large screen.


The children’s skills and interests have grown since February. We anticipate even more progress in 2014. We need your help to continue funding this program.

Vladimer gives many lessons in the form of games on the computer. It is easier to attract children to the game that teaches the alphabet or how to add numbers. Children feel special when they correct the puzzle, or place the figures in order to get the final result. They performed the task, and it brings joy and satisfaction! At the end of the task, Vladimer encourages children by saying, “Well done, you have done very well!”, and it is delightful for the children!

Computer games have come a long way in the last twenty years. Today, many therapists use games that are specially made to help children develop skills, advance thought processing, and encourage manual involvement in activities.

Fun children’s computer games are very interesting and advanced, and are aimed at ensuring that children acquire knowledge, learn to achieve their goals, and intellectually improve skills. Controlling the games via the keyboard helps children develop fine motor skills. Every lesson for a child is a real treat!

Thank you very much that you have supported this program since February 2013. We ask for your continued support of this program for 2014.The government has not allocated funds for a computer teacher on the staff of the orphanage. It is not clear to many Ukrainian people and us why the government buys computers but does not provide funds for a teacher to teach the children to use the computers. We see positive results, and ask for your financial support to continue the program.

Twelve months of computer classes will cost $1,500

January 2014 is right around the corner. MUCH needs your help to fund another year of massage therapy for the Dobromel Orphanage, the massage clinic in Froonza, and the computer class at Dobromel. Please consider MUCH as you make your Christmas or holiday plans. The dollar goes a long way in Ukraine. We will designate 100% of your gift for these programs.

Our Total Goal for this

Christmas Fundraiser is $6,300

DSCN6514 Dear friends,

This beautiful autumn bouquet is for you!

Thank you very much!

During this Christmas or holiday season, please consider our MUCH children in Dobromel and Froonza. Both of these small communities are a considerable distance from health care for rehabilitation. Your contribution in massage therapy and computer training can change their lives in lasting ways.

We wish for all of you in America to have a safe and blessed Thanksgiving Holiday!

Blessings of love and healing,

Mark and Sveta

October 2013

Hello family and friends,

October began with a pleasant visit with the children at the Dobromel Orphanage in Northwestern Ukraine. The weather was cool and the leaves of many colors were falling. October is my favorite month of the year.PlayroomThis beautiful mural wDSCN6225 (2)as painted on the wall of the children’s playroom by one of the teachers. Sveta and I stayed in this large room on our last visit and this visit, also. A bunk bed was brought for us to sleep in. I was pleased that I could stretch all of my six-foot plus inches out on this bed. My thirty-six year old sleeping bag continues tDSCN6139o serve me well.

It pleased Sveta and me very much to see Natasha, the massage therapist, taking seven of the older children to church Sunday morning. This Greek Catholic church was packed to the door. A sound system helped the people outside hear the mass celebration. We see positive change taking place each time that we visit!

Sveta’s Journey

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When Mark and I came to the Dobromel Orphanage, the children greeted us with joy, open arms, and the questions “How long will you stay with us? Did you bring pictures for us?”

Like last time, we liveDSCN6216d in the children’s playroom. The new six-year-old boy from the Baby House was crying loudly and did not want to leave the playroom in which we stayed. Each time when he was close to the door at the time we returned to the room, he quickly slipped through the door, ran to the couch, and quickly jumped up on it. He sat, with his arms folded across his chest, showing that no one would move him. Two days later, he got used to Mark and me as visitors and the room would temporarily belong to us. Then we became friends and he loved to pose when we photographed him.

Mark and I lived with the children and saw their lives, their relationships with each other, and with the teachers. Early in the morning we woke to the loud voice of the caretakers saying, “One, two, one two three…” The older children help take care of the younger ones. They try to discipline the younger children, or care for them imitating grown-ups. The older girls braided each other’s hair into pretty pigtails. It is like a big family. Sometimes there are misunderstandings and conflicts, but they are quickly settled.

I really like the atmosphere in the orphanage. There is a healthy atmosphere of love and discipline. The sunny Saturday called the boys to collect the fallen leaves around the orphanage, while the girls put things in order in their rooms.

Each visit I see a change for the better in the lives of the children who came from the Baby House or other orphanages. I attribute much of this to the results of the massage program.

I have repeatedly written about a boy, now seven years old, who came to this orphanage from the Baby House last year. During this period, there have been many striking changes in the physical condition of this child, particularly in the psycho-emotional and social aspects. After several courses of massage, his hunched back is almost straight and his mind is improved. He is quiet, peaceful, and has become a very sociable boy, even though he cannot speak. Positive environment and therapeutic massage have had a large effect on him.


While we were in the orphanage, the Day of the Teacher was celebrated. One of the teachers organized a program with the children to honor the teachers with song, dance, and bouquets of flowers made from balloons. It was exciting and fun! Even the small children who were sitting in the front row were very attentive to the presentation. They gladly listened and watched everything. I liked the fact that the organizer was not noticeable, she was behind the columnand just watched, and the children led the program. It seemed that the children prepared and did everything without the participation of adults. They sang songs dedicated to teachers, recited poems, teachers were handed flowers – balloons and little hearts with candy inside, spoke words of gratitude for their work. In the eyes of a teacher near where I stood, tears were visible.

Thank you very much for your support of the massage program! It brings me great joy to the realization that during our stay at the orphanage, we can share the love of God with the children. I believe that your help also brings you great satisfaction and joy.

Living my dream,


There are many more stories to tell, and we will. Sveta’s and my life have begun a new chapter. We are adjusting to our living conditions in the village. This reminds me of something that I was told when I first came to Ukraine. I was concerned during my first year here that I didn’t have enough work. My friend said, “Mark, living in Ukraine is work!” Getting the newsletter to you this month has become a task. After working on it in Dobromel, I had it completed and ready to do a final proof when my computer crashed a day after returning from Dobromel. The last week in October, we will go to Marganets and Froonza.

I think of how worn out Sveta and I are after travel; we are not the jet-set trekkers, or rather in Ukraine, the train and bus travelers. Then I think of the faces of the children and their joy that our visits bring, and I see our lives in bright light again. Having lived with the children at the orphanage, we saw their every moment of difficulty, loneliness, discomfort, and hopelessness. The help of the new director at the Dobromel Orphanage and his staff, other sponsors, Sveta and me, and you, my friends, make it possible to change the futures of these children. It is my desire that through our newsletters, videos, pictures, and stories, you will better understand the plight of the children without your financial and prayerful help.

Blessings of love and healing,

Mark and Sveta