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End Homelessness Now
Our important project, just now in development, is the End Homelessness Now. Project will provide a family-like community allowing hundreds of children to reach their full potential as healthy, educated, and responsible members of Polish society. The campus will consist of family-like housing for children, a multi-purpose building that will house a school, vocational training program, children's, and gymnasium. A vocational training guest house will also be developed on the campus, as well as a warehouse, and areas for farming and recreation.

The first phase of development for the End Homelessness Now has been underway since the fall of 2011. We have purchased a 16-acre property, located about 15 miles outside of Warsaw, Poland. The property is beautiful near a forest and a lake. There were two homes already on the property when we purchased it. We currently have some of our children living there in family settings.


Aid For Teens, Poland
Aims to provide medicines/treatment unavailable or out of reach financially here in Poland to those children with the most accute need, by part funding the purchase of medicines, part sponsering treatment abroad, providing the psychological support to the carers, all too often long suffering Polish mothers, and saving for our long term vision of building and funding a modern hospice, right here in Poland, to give these children and their families the best care, comfort and support possible, during what are the most difficult times and the saddest circumstances that any family can imagin.

ABC Charity organises events in Sofia and the rest of Bulgaria looking to engender a culture of giving and trust in charitable organisations, raising the wider public's awareness of what is often a taboo subject here in Bulgaria, through press advertisement, radio and television campaigns and encouraging local people, expatriates and the international community alike to join together in giving whilst having fun, for what is after all the most worthy of causes.



We donated 30 000 EUR to kids in Beslan (town located in the Republic of North Ossetia-Alania of Russia) after the Beslan school hostage crisis (also referred to by the media as the Beslan school siege) began when armed terrorists took hundreds of school children and adults hostage.


Beslan.avi


News report from Russia by John Kluver (former CNN producer) for CBN.

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ODESSA, Ukraine, 19 November 2016 – For thousands of street children in Ukraine, daily life is a fight for survival. Their rights are often violated and normal childhood has often been replaced by drug addiction and violence.

Miroslav, 17, for example, lives in squalor, with clothes and garbage strewn everywhere in the corner of an unused garage. He shares his makeshift home with two other youths – Vova and Taras. These are just a few of the estimated 4000 homeless children on the streets of Odessa who lack the fundamental right to protection.

A step forward.

Inhaling glue or injecting a cocktail of cold and flu medicines are common ways of taking drugs among homeless young people. Sharing needles and engaging in unsafe sex make them one of the groups most at risk of contracting HIV in Ukraine.

Meanwhile, violence, sexual abuse and drug addiction often lead to crime. Many homeless children in Odessa say they expect to die on the streets.

For street children looking to change their lives, a non-governmental organization called ABC Charity is a step forward. In partnership with UNICEF, the organization is providing protection as well as legal and educational services for street children in central Odessa.

"UNICEF is trying to provide access for street children to basic services like education, health, first aid and counselling on HIV, to help them stay healthy and get some basic education," says UNICEF Ukraine's Assistant Project Officer for HIV and Young People's Health and Development.

Ms. Jukovsky adds that street children in Ukraine are among the most vulnerable in society and often lack the implementation of their basic rights.



Throughout each week, ABC Charity sends an outreach team to visit areas where street children are known to congregate. Social workers provide youths with clean water and food, as well as some basic first aid.

Establishing contact with street children is the first step toward showing them that protection, care and support are available – and that there are alternatives to the street.

Over the summer, we also sets up an outdoor camp by the pebble beaches of the Black Sea, giving youths a chance to play, swim and enjoy the season. Activities such as cleaning the beach also encourage them to gain a sense of personal responsibility, help others and look after their local environment. 

"Here, you find friends that will support you and you can do what you enjoy the most," says Lena, 15, who lived on the streets before finding the programme. "This is your second home. This is a second chance."

Still caught in the transition from a former Soviet country to a modern society, the Ukraine has become one of Europe's epicentres of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, with numbers of affected people increasing daily. Situated at a key crossroads between Asian suppliers and western European consumers, Ukraine's Black Sea port of Odessa is a primary entry point for illicit drugs. The heavy drug trafficking has multiplied the impact of the HIV/AIDS epidemic on Ukraine, exacerbating the ongoing struggle with political, economic and social problems. According to UNAIDS, surveys have estimated that there are up to 600,000 injecting drug users in the Ukraine, most of whom are young.

In 2002, Ukraine registered the highest, and among the fastest-growing, rates of HIV infection in all of Eastern Europe. The spread of HIV is being driven by injecting drug use and, to a lesser but growing extent, unsafe sex among young people. Cases of parent-to-child transmissions have shot up. Today 40 percent of those infected with HIV/AIDS in Ukraine are women. Some 97 percent of HIV-positive children were infected by their mothers.

A rising number of HIV harm reduction centres have been opened throughout the country. One of these is the Way Home Centre, which was founded in 1996 and which is Odessa's first and most frequented harm reduction centre. Way Home Centre chemist Natalya Kitsenko says that education plays a vital role in the fight against the epidemic.

"People need to understand that as of today there are already medicines which can decrease the speed of the virus spread in the body. In order to get these medicines, one has to go to a polyclinic, one needs to be tested. But our drug users, they sort of avoid that. They don't go to hospitals. One of our outreach programme's main goals is to explain that today it's already possible to extend life…For this one needs to go to a doctor and get tested."

Nevertheless, the social stigma of being infected with HIV/AIDS continues. Many drug users are afraid to seek help. Only a few have confronted the disease.

One of them is Lera Naumova, a former star on the national handball team and mother of a five year old HIV positive daughter. The 27 year old started injecting drugs at a very young age and became infected with HIV when she was only 18. Traumatized by her past, Lera joined our centre in order to help children living with HIV/AIDS and to provide counselling to their parents. For Lera, this job her first ever has become a life changing experience.

"I saw these little kids who aren't any different from healthy ones, and I thought of my daughter. She ss the same as them, also sick, and I looked at them and I was shocked - their parents refuse to give them medicine or they don't care for them because they are out shooting up or drinking and I just thought, if I don't do it, who will?" 

According to Jeremy Hartley, UNICEF'S representative in Ukraine, the country's fight against HIV/AIDS is now beginning to show results. And Hartley believes there is reason for optimism.

"Ukraine has been very successful in prevention of transmission of HIV from mothers to their newborn infants. Over 90 percent of HIV-positive pregnant women are now receiving anti-retroviral treatment, as are their newborn babies, and this success story is being shared with other countries, hopefully allowing them to replicate this experience."

UNICEF and we together support all efforts of the Ukrainian Government in the prevention of parent-to-child transmission of HIV. These interventions are also included in state programmes on AIDS prevention and reproductive health.

 

 

 

ABC Charity Villages, Poland and Russia
ABC Charity Village – is a family based project that provides a family approach to the long care of orphaned, abandoned children or those whose families are unable to care for them. We try to support children with what they were deprived of, what is necessary for their physical and spiritual development: mother, home and trust in future.

Villages are 10 to 15 family houses where children of different ages live with adopted mothers. Each mother takes care of 6 to 8 children as any other mother does: she keeps house, cooking, helps the kids with their everyday life and teaches them everything that they will need in future life. Unlike children from state orphanges who live in a closed system and hardly connect with world around them children from ABC Charity Villages are integrated into the community. They have friends, attend normal schools, get advance education and have all the opportunities to fulfill their needs.

First Polish ABC Charity Village was built near Warsaw in 2004.
512 kids graduated from ABC Charity Villages during these years. Most of them got a proper education and now live independently. Third of them already have their own families and kids.

So far there are 5 Villages in Poland: in Krakow, in Warsaw, in Tarnow, in Gdynia, in Katowice. 6th Village in Russia, near Moscow is due to open its doors to new kids this year.

The Child Health, Ukraine
The generally difficult living conditions have led over the past years to many people losing their roots in society. Drug addiction and alcoholism, a large number of children either left to their own devices, abandoned or put up for adoption, as well as rapid growth in the rate of HIV infection are all signs of this society in crisis.

Until today, Ukraine is still suffering from the consequences of the Chernobyl disaster in April 1986. Wide areas of the country were contaminated and the effects are still noticeable today. As well as the catastrophic effects on the health of the people in the region, the accident brought about a collapse in the economic development; the difficult transition to a market economy system remains a great challenge for Ukraine.

Officially one third of the inhabitants live below the poverty line but unofficial estimates are much higher. Two aid projects in the capital, Kiev, were started in late 2003: one for families with many children and one providing a centre for AIDS counselling.

The two aid programmes are aimed at those groups of the population who suffer most from the bad economic situation and insufficient social welfare: large families and children and youths from disadvantaged families.

As in many former soviet states, the situation in many orphanages in Ukraine could be described as catastrophic. The construction of the country's first should represent the antithesis of these institutions, promote individual, family-like out-of-home care for the country's children and demonstrate an alternative way for institutional "custody".

Some one hundred children will find a new home with ABC Charity in the border town of Brovary, approximately 20 kilometres from the centre of Kiev. The plan is to build fourteen family houses; the school infrastructure available in the town of 82 000 inhabitants is already adequate.

Please help us build this program in Ukraine and bring the total number of countries in which we are committed to helping children!

HIV/AIDS
HIV/AIDS presents a serious threat for the entire social and economic development; 40% of all deaths between the ages of 15 and 49 can be traced back to AIDS. The number of orphans has risen astronomically in the past years due to AIDS and it is necessary that all social authorities, relief organisations and politicians make a joint effort to get the catastrophic living situation of thousands of children under control.

Village for our children

When children turn 18 they are moved to an institution for the adult disabled and elderly. These institutions are huge and generally have between 600 to 800 people. Conditions there are not good and many of our children would surely die. To provide an alternative to life in an institution, we have just broken ground on a Village 250 kms south of Moscow. The plan is to start small, taking just 5 or 6 of the children who have turned 18. Eventually, funds allowing, we could have 36 to 40, young disabled adults living in group homes with house parents. For the first time in their lives these children will know what it means to live in a home and not an institution. They will help with meals and sweeping the walks. They will gather the eggs from the chickens. They will sit calmly in their wheelchair with a cat on their lap and a loving dog at their feet. We will continue their education and therapy there. We may even be able to purchase and care for a horse for riding therapy.

Families Services Center

Our Families Services Center started its work. It includes an early intervention and education center providing families and expectant mothers with early intervention services comprised of:
- Medical and psychological support for child and family
- Day care facilities for working parents
- Advocacy to place children in integrated school settings in conjunction with a program to support that child
- Educational programs for school age children who have been refused entrance to integrated school settings
- Workshops for parents to educate them about the rights of their child and to provide them with advocacy tools
- Monthly seminars for parents
- Printed resource material (medical, psychological, educational) for parents
- Support group sessions for parents and siblings
- Material aid to families at risk of abandoning their child for financial reasons

"Seroyja's Journey"

A three year project in obtaining the government's permission to bring Seroyja Krunov to the United States for an operation for congenital dissociated clubfeet. All medical and rehabilitation services have been provided by the community of Farmington, Maine. On December 6, 2009, Seroyja and his guardian began their journey from Moscow to Farmington, Maine.
After countless medical tests, to assure Seroyja was healthy enough for surgery, the surgery was performed on February 17, 2010. Seroyja is recovering very well as of February 25, 2010. Updates on his progress will be posted to inform our supporters of his progress. Funding requirement for this program is $4000.

"A Mother's Love"

A program to create an early intervention program for young mothers of disabled newborns, using a network of Mothers who have made the decision to keep their disabled child at home. Funding requirement for this program is $3000 annually.

"Medical Miracles"

A program for the children to increase their overall capacities through medical treatments and operations. Funding requirement for this program is $10,000 and treatment is based on the individual needs of a child.

"Yula's Wheelchair"

A program to provide the children with the special equipment they need for their disabilities. All equipment for the children has been donated, is old and not specific for a child's disability. One of the children, Yula, needs a new wheelchair that is motorized. Due to her disabilities, it is difficult for her to maneuver a manual wheelchair. This equipment is necessary for the welfare of the children's lives. Funding requirement for this program is estimated to be $400 per individual.

"Through Education There is Hope"

A program to increase the number of teachers in our program and to increase the children's learning capacity through educational field trips. Funding requirement for this program is $1500 monthly.

A program to provide the opportunity for cross culture information for the director of Internat 8, the director of our program and for the teachers to visit facilities and programs in the United States that provide services for disabled children.

A program to expand the facilities at Internat 8 where our program operates. This is a tremendous and unprecedented step by the government to enter into a joint project with an NGO (non-governmental organization). This project will further our long-term goal of changing the living conditions for disabled children. We plan to institute a cross-training program involving the six orphanages in Moscow where disabled children are housed. We plan for this program to be the beginning of a Federal model for the treatment and training of caregivers for disabled orphans in Russia. We have begun negotiations with the government and have architectural drawings for the expansion. Estimated funding requirement for this program is $300,000

A program to petition the government to institute support programs for disabled children, provide financial assistance to families that keep their disabled children at home and create a Family Services Center to provide assistance to those families. Funding requirement for this program is $20,000 annually.

Currently, we are in negotiation with the government for a building for our program. We anticipate the costs to be $600,000 for the renovation, rehabilitation equipment, furniture, fixtures, laundry facilities and educational supplies.


In Poland,
Health care to sexually exploited children.

Polya does not talk much about her teen years in Krakow, one of the most biggest cities in Poland.
She wants to forget the days of fighting with her grandfather, who was her only surviving relative after her parents died, and what happened after she was thrown out of the house.
When she finally opened up, she recounted being forced into sex work at age 15.
She found herself having unprotected sex and abusing drugs and alcohol.

"I do not want to talk about it, and I don't want to remember it," she said.

Polya's story is one familiar to thousands of girls in Poland, most of them from poor families. Polya comes from the city, but she knows many girls from rural areas who migrated to cities across the country to seek better paying jobs or to flee family strife. Such girls are particularly vulnerable, as they have little or no support from family and friends.

There are an estimated 3000 teen girls exploited by sex work in Poland.
These girls are particularly vulnerable to HIV.

The HIV epidemic in Poland has also been fuelled by injecting drug use, an activity that girls used in sex work are vulnerable to. According to a 2011 study, 19 per cent of teen female sex workers reported using injecting drugs, essentially doubling their risk of HIV infection.

A girl talks to psychologist at a ABC Charity supported community center that provides services to sexually exploited teens. The centre offers medical consultations, social support and information on HIV/AIDS prevention.

In spite of these vulnerabilities, teen sex workers are often excluded from the services that should protect them. Stigma and discrimination are barriers to critical social and health services, as are girls' fears of being reported to the police or institutionalized.

We outreach workers brought girls to a drop-in centre that offered a safe space, counselling, and referrals to governmental health and social services. Working with child protection services, the police and the education sector began fostering a more supportive environment for at-risk girls, even empowering them to actively participate in service planning, implementation and evaluation.

"Despite having had a lot of unprotected sex, I had never visited a doctor," Polya said. With help from the drop-in centre, she was finally able to access health care. "I went to a gynecologist. I also talked to a psychologist," she said. "I do not know what would have happened if I had not gone to them."

Polya is one of the lucky ones. She was not infected with HIV. Of the 42 per cent of teen sex workers who accessed services at the drop-in centre, 10 per cent tested positive for HIV.

Because of the results, the National AIDS Programme and State Social Services now recognize girls exploited in sex work as an essential constituency for services. A law, enforced since December 2011, allows teens between ages 14 and 18 to obtain HIV tests without parental consent.

We aim to make these services available around the country and to keep them adequately resourced, but challenges remain. Most legislators and other officials who control the budgets for these services believe that those involved in high-risk behaviors – including young people who inject drugs, sell sex and or live on the streets – should be punished rather than helped.

Polya, meanwhile, managed to turn her life around. Through the holistic services at the drop-in centre, she learned how to protect herself from HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. She quit drinking, left sex work, and reconciled with her grandfather. After returning home, she went back to school. She has since graduated.

Cultural exchange, Austria

ABC Charity in Salzburg can take in 108 children in twelve family houses.
In addition, a social centre is being planned which will offer shelter, counselling and help to around 300 young people from the vicinity.

Art therapy is a combination of various forms of creative expression: movement, drawing, painting, sculpture, singing, improvization aimed at personal development and curing of the disease. This method directs the child's soul toward recovery and self-support; this is why its use at a pediatric hospital is so important.
When a child receives much medical attention from the doctors and other hospital staff, from his or her parents, this child becomes too concentrated on the disease, especially in adolescence. The child sees this situation as his or her own defect, becomes unsure and shy, suspicious and depressed, has problems with communication. Some of such children refuse to cooperate with art therapists or possibly agree to cooperate but show inpredictable changes of mood. An art therapist must be ready that the child may refuse to cooperate at any moment. But also must be ready to seek this cooperation again and again.

We, Irena Wolak and Olga Gorneva, are co-therapists working at the Center for Kidney Transplantation since the autumn of 2010. We chose this department because art therapy is most adequate and useful for children who have to spend a long time at a hospital, months or even years, and for whom even a fatal outcome is possible.

Art therapy is a comparatively new method in our country. We believe that each person is capable of creating something, and our aim is to awaken this inspiration. We approach these children with love and joy, and they approach us.

What is the difference between art therapy and an artist's (or designer's) work? The main difference is that our main accent is on personal relations between all of us, the participants of the creative act. Of course, the final product is also important, but the aim is achieved only if our work together brings smiles and positive energy, leads to warm personal contacts and a feeling of happiness.

The pictures that we draw together on Saturdays will hang on the walls of the dining-room through the whole week in order to keep the memory of this happiness, these smiles.

We use not only traditional materials, like paper and crayons, but also phototherapy (a method widespread in the West): we photograph the children's inspired and rapt faces as they draw. A child is so immersed in the creative process that he or she doesn't even notice the photographers and then sees these photographs with joy and surprise. These photographs will also hang on the walls, and the child can discuss them with the parents or friends.

Our work is based on the presumption that any creation is a gift from God. We don't invent anything ourselves, but we just try to reveal what God opened to us.

A child's way of thinking is more graphic and specific than the thoughts of most grown-ups. This is why is a child can use drawing as the way of perceiving life around him or her. A child's drawing can show the level of his or her spiritual health.

Art therapy has no contraindications. One of its main purposes is to eliminate fears and neuroses. Expressing his or her fears in a drawing, a child becomes less afraid. We sometimes ask children to draw their fears. Some children draw with their left hand, some use dark colors, some tear their drawings afterwards, thus symbolizing reduction of their fear.

In further work, we offer various projects to children but formulate only the titles. That is, these projects are interactive and may be completely reformulated by the children as time goes by. The child is free to choose the desired color, the nature of lines (smooth or sharp), the composition of the drawing. It will be the child's own work.

At the beginning of creative work, we forget about knowledge in the ordinary sense of the word, because such knowledge separates the subject and object of perception. The material used for creation helps us express our feelings about life. The color, sound, and smell help us in this. The resources of the right hemisphere and cooperation of both hemispheres are opened.

Each child can draw in his or her own way, revealing the individuality and seeing what he or she can do better than others. This idea is best implemented in the method of spontaneous drawing. Even a simple line noted, can evoke a certain psychological response.

If we present the children's works and photographs of the process in the form of a diary, we can monitor their changes within a certain time. The lines become more diverse, and it takes longer to complete a drawing. In the process, the children are concentrated and relaxed at the same time. They use the entire area of the paper, selecting saturated and mostly positively interpreted colors. The faces in the photographs show trust and inspiration, joy and tranquillity.

The children change indeed, as well as their pictures. The level of their activity and responsibility also changes from "OK, we've come, what are we to do now?" (or even from zero level, when a child is completely passive and doesn't want to do anything) to independent decisions and choices.

When we attain a high level of responsibility, it is important to offer a positive direction for a child's activity. Many kids, especially boys of 10-12 or so, are especially active in drawing demons, batmans, vampires, etc. This is natural and not bad in itself, because such are the known computer characters. But this natural aggressiveness should not lead to destructive acts. One of the ways to cope with it is to draw comic strips. The children invent their roles, unite into teams, and play these roles. We photograph each episode, sign the photographs together with the boys, and make a comic book. Of course, the boys mostly attempt to use their wide knowledge in the field of horror stories and thrillers. But, instead of space wars with laser weapons, we tried to invent more positive plots. Here is an example: in one of the stories, gangsters were to rob a shop together with its poor shop-assistants. But, in the final version of the story, the bad guys received nothing, because the smart ship-assistants managed to give them the fake money drawn using the Photoshop software.

We can see how a child's mood changes during even one meeting. The children often come in a bad mood, in depression, only through habit. But, in five minutes, such a child can already take an active part in the drawing and happily propose new ideas.

One example. The girl's name was Ira. When I entered the department, she was very weak and miserable, lying in bed. I said, "Ira, we'll be glad to see you." She replied, "Oh well, maybe I'll just visit you and sit there for a minute or two." She came in when other children were already working. And, in a few minutes, she joined the others and proposed text phrases for the comic strips. Then she wrote them down and said that she wanted to work further. But her mother entered and was worried: after all, she saw Ira lying in bed only a few minutes ago.

Ira asked, "Mom, may I work a bit more?" Her mother said that she was afraid for the child's health, and so they would go back to their ward and think. They left... but Ira returned in five minutes and worked for an hour more. This means that Ira actually felt strong and healthy while she was playing with the others.

It is very important that the parents participate in our work. Their adequate attitude to our classes is necessary, and, if the mothers are also involved in the art therapy, the curative effect becomes much stronger. The parents also feel that their fear and stress are reduced, the anger and fatigue decrease.

Some more examples. When Ilona was admitted to the Center for Kidney Transplantation, she was extremely depressed, and her first drawings clearly show this. But her mood improved after our work. Her grandmother, who was at hospital with the child, acknowledged this. The elderly woman understands that art therapy alone cannot cure a person but can be one of the factors for recovery.

Andrew was an irritable, aggressive teenager with a poor cultural background and an urge to destroy. At first he ignored or ridiculed our classes. Then he sometimes joined in but soon quarrelled with one or another member of the group, demonstrated aggressive behavior, or just lost interest. But, at a certain stage, he caught the rhythm of our classes. He created very interesting comic strips and was ready for long and productive work.

Dasha, a girl of 15, liked the idea of creating something from the very beginning. However, her first works were rather primitive and resembled those made by a five-year-old: a house, a sun, a tree with simple and rigid contours. But presently we see that Dasha can create diverse and interesting drawings. For example, we see earth drawn in a patchwork style and a growing tree with bright and live leaves. This drawing shows the awakening of imagination and fantasy, and maybe also the archetype of feminity.

In the calm and friendly atmosphere of cooperation, the child finds inner harmony, the harmony of health, which had been in the soul since birth but was lost during the grave disease...