Having started this blog I was lucky to make friends with many interesting people and get involved into new exciting projects. One of them is a fundraising project launched by Davide Scalzo’s Driving to Russia campaign. On his way from Italy to Vladivostok, Davide is planning to stop In Yekaterinburg in August. So he asked me to find a children organization in the Urals that needs help.
There are 81 Orphanages in Sverdlovskaya Oblast. But it turned out, that most of them are unwilling to admit they need something. Orphanages are State organizations and they are not allowed to ask for help. Finally, via friends of my friends I was directed to the town of Revda (48 km from Yekaterinburg) to catch up with Olga Syrova, the director of Dom Rebyonka (orphanage or baby home). It was a very emotional experience to me and I’d like to share it with you.
The Orphanage was established 40 years ago to provide medical rehabilitation and support for children from challenged or dysfunctional families, including infants with physical or mental disabilities orphaned immediately after birth.
Today, the orphanage cares for 59 children, the youngest being a 2-month old newborn and the oldest a six year-old boy, with 44 children receiving special treatment. There are children who can't walk and may stay in bed for ever without special treatment. Some children can't eat and are only fed through the tube. Once the children are cured they will join a regular internat (orphanage . Some 25 children with a range of severe disabilities will be provided for later in life by the Dom Invalidov (disabled support home). Fortunately, the state of such homes is improving in the Urals. Some time ago they looked more like prisons with narrow cells where disabled children were lying on bare beds. Now they are equipped with ramps and wheelchairs so that children can go outside.
Olga Syrova, the Orphanage’s Director has led the centre for over 20 years and she is used to treating the children as her own. Nearly 100 staff provides the day-to-day care for the children and arrange medical support in the Yekaterinburg hospitals.
“We now have twin girls with hydrocephalus syndrome (water on the brain); they were three months old when we took them into the orphanage. It is a challenge for us to cover the cost of medicines they need,” she says. “Surgeons predicted they wouldn't last more than a year”. The girls are 4 years old now but there isn't much hope for them. Partly, because local surgeons refused to do the surgery (for reasons unknown, as Olga put it), also because the orphanage can't afford to buy enough medicine.
The oldest orphan Danil is six years old. Danil suffers from serious lower limb disease, and has learnt to walk only on his hands. “He is one of a number of children in the local area with high learning ability, intelligence and commitment to his work but who really struggle from lack of basic access to computers, or educational software or learning support.” The doctors try to teach him so that he doesn't fall behind his peers. But he has to spend his days among 2-3 year olds with CP (cerebral palsy) and it doesn't help his development. Danil’s future is uncertain. There are a few children in the region with similar movement disorders who demonstrate high intelligence. All of them are waiting for a special group to be organised for them but as usual in Russia - nobody knows when it's going to happen.
An immediate and lasting difference can be made to Danil’s life prospects by helping secure the basic funds to provide the orphanage with a Russian language computer from the nearby town of Yekaterinburg. Click here to view the photos of Danil and other children from Revda:
If you are able to provide support either by donating financially or in kind (clothing, children’s toys, hygienic goods) you may do it via Driving to Russia:
If you are in Russia you may contact Dom Rebyonka to get a list of medicine or food (last winter the citizens of Yekaterinburg helped the orphanage with potato) that you can post or bring to Revda.
tel.: +7 (34397) 5-11-32
fax: +7 (34397) 5-11-34, 5-39-66
There is no Internet, so the website http://dom.revda09.ru/index.php is out of date
P.S. On the bright side of things some children are being adopted by Russian and foreign families. Children from Revda live now in the USA, Israel, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, France and Spain. Most of the adopted kids had of course minor illnesses. But one of the recent cases - a couple from Belgium adopted a child with ichthyosis (genetic skin disorder) Social Protection Committee in Russia has a data bank of all orphans in the country, so the information about sick children from Revda can be found in any Social Protection centre in Moscow or any other city. The adoption process in Russia takes about 12 months. Russians can do it within 3 months.
This is the video presentation of Davide Scalzo's Driving to Russia and fundraising project (in Italian)