This New Year’s party for the kids was organized for the Lugansk Social Services Center for the Family, Children, and Youth (every time I have to look up the full name–it’s simply horror). This Center, with which we’ve been working for the last five years, helps children.
This year we’re once again the Grandfather Frost. The Center provides aid to children who found themselves in difficult situations. Disabled children, children of single moms, multi-child families. Children from families who lost their homes to shells. Children who lost their providers due to fighting. The Center helps them all in accordance with its abilities. As do we. You will see many children from families whom we assist among these photos.
None of these kids have it easy.
In addition to the 65 kids at this party, we brought greetings to those kids who prepared it. About 50 children from various dance and theater groups performed at this party at the former Pioneers’ Home in Lugansk. As the kids said themselves, they’ve been performing for 20 days at various parties and watching how other kids get presents. Therefore we could not but give them presents as well. Lena said they were “beside themselves with joy–we are ALSO getting presents?”
The Lugansk Aid Center (the official name is different and totally tooth-rattling) keeps score of many families. With multiple children, without fathers, with adoptive children, with disabled children–everyone who for one reason or another found themselves in a “difficult situation.” They receive help within the center’s abilities. After 2014 the number of such families sharply increased. It also included refugees, who fled to Lugansk from border zones. Many lost their homes, relatives, and other sources of aid. There were many wounded, many people who lost relatives, many disabled. The situation of families who were struggling before the war became utterly desperate when the war began. Unfortunately, there are many women with children who were abandoned by their husbands and have to live on crumbs. There was a New Year’s tree ceremony held for them, during which we, for the fourth year running, give presents to the children. But there were also kids who were unable to come. These kids are disabled.
We came upon the idea several years ago of visiting these families to bring them presents. I did that myself last year. By the end of the day I was prostrate with fatigue but it was genuine happiness. The happiness of children, their parents, grandparents. Both the children and the adults sang, danced, and even cried from the joy and the unexpectedness.
This year I passed the baton to the amazing Olya, a social worker at the Lugansk Center. You should remember Olya, we keep helping her cancer-stricken mother with medications.
Here are some photos of Olya the Snow Maiden with the kids. Various kids–some have mental deficiencies, others physical ones. Yet others have none, but all of these kids and their parents are struggling.
Zhenya wrote: “They were waiting for us!!! The kids were prepared, they recited enough poems to last us the whole year.)) For most of them this was a happy event–this much was clear to an unaided eye.”
You don’t know most of these kids, though others you’ve met on the pages of my journal.
Friends, thanks to all of you who helped make this holiday for the kids! You can’t imagine what it means to them to be visited by Grandfather Frost and the Snow Maiden. It’s the happiest of happiness.
Special greetings for these special kids!
Ulyana is a tiny and charming girl with a heart flaw. She is in the hospital every two months.
When she was one, she slept in cellars, dropped to the ground at any sound, and already know that “Hail” and “Hurricane” are not merely “weather problems.” And as any other child from Lugansk, Pervomaysk, or Donetsk, she’s still terrified of any loud noise. Their building was hit many times but their apartment miraculously was untouched.
Across the street, there was a huge construction materials store, Epitsentr. It’s no longer there, nothing was left after 2014. There was a fire station next to it which was deliberately targeted, like other infrastructure sites which were the first to be taken out.
You didn’t forget to take a day off work to come to my book presentation at VDNKh, did you?
I wanted to write a happy post before the event.
Thanks to you we were able to prepare 50 Donbass kids for school!!!
50 kids received notebooks, pens, rulers, paints, and much else. They are from families for whom this is an unaffordable luxury. They are not simply Donbass kids who lived through war and continue to live there. They are from families with many kids, disabled, adopted. Families who lost homes, single mothers. Kids who really need this help. And every time we do this, we end up with very happy posts. Because children are the future. Children are life.
What to write? And how to write it?
One story after another. One after another. And then you sit in front of the photos and your fingers don’t know what to write.
I simply can’t convey the feelings inside me when I write about the cancer patients we care for. The words themselves disappear into thin air due to their ordinariness and overuse. And that’s the most awful thing.
This is Lyudmila Nikolayevna. Her condition is bad.
We are trying as best we can to help her deal with cancer. When people tell you that the volunteers, the doctors, have gotten used to it, it’s true. Of course you get used to it, and sometimes you are even surprised such things don’t affect you. But at some point you are overcome. Nobody can avoid that. It happened to me when I saw the photos of Lyudmila Nikolayevna after the chemo.
You have seen that woman in our reports. We regularly provide her with medications from Moscow. Because they can’t be obtained locally.
Doctors in Lugansk recently said they can’t do anything else and sent her to the Donetsk Republic Oncology Center.
I have an incredible pile of reports on the recent aid work in Lugansk. I don’t know where to start. Then there’s the damned injury which has temporarily deprived me of sports, which is always dangerous to people around me. Peaceful atom, if not released, may become dangerous.
So I’ve decided to remind New Year is nigh.
Sasha’s father died on March 6, 2015. He and his brother went off to join the militia almost at the very beginning. “Off to war…”. Who back then knew what “war” was? Sasha’s uncle had two serious injuries and a wound. He’s practically disabled and can’t either serve or find work.
Sasha lives with his grandmother in Lugansk. The boy’s mother left him with his father when he was very little. It’s a rare case, but not totally unheard of.
On the photo Sasha with a photo of his dad, also Sasha…
Aleksandr the elder was not quite 40 when he died.
LPR celebrated Mother’s Day on November 26 just as all of Russia did. All of you and I took some small part in it.
The Lugansk Aid Center organized a celebration for families with foster and adopted children.
We collected some money in order to send greetings and presents to these remarkable moms and their adoptive sons and daughters. In wartime such families have it particularly hard, considering the lack of work and low benefits. All of these women are unbelievably dedicated to their children. It is to them this celebration was dedicated.
The Lugansk City Center for Social Services is assisting 13 families with foster children.
You know some of them. For example, the Testeshnikovs, whose daughter Kristina is an insulin-dependent diabetic. We’ve brought her test-strips more than once.
The Testeshnikovs actually have two foster daughters, and not only Kristina has health problems. The second girl has heart problems.
The Testeshnikovs took in the two girls when they were not very young, and at the time they were healthy. The problems appeared later. They did not give the girls back. What do you think–is it right, and incorrect, for me to view this father and mother as heroes? And incorrect when they behave otherwise? Because it’s normal for many people return foster kids when they discover these types of problems. When they discover pathologies and disabilities, even after many years of living together. How many stories like that did we hear in orphanages. Therefore I’m happy even in situations where it should be a normal thing to do.
The parents love the girls and are doing their best to take care of them.
I must have started this post, erased it, and started over, at least ten times.
It’s hard to write things differently. So that people would notice and read.
It is…I don’t know…
These women are at war every day. Every day they are in their own trenches.
They fight, they struggle for every moment. With their kids, loved ones.
“Our girls”–that’s how Zhenya refers to them, irrespective of age.
Our girls have cancer. They live in Lugansk…They have their own war. They are at war…
We try to do everything we can in this situation. We try to help…