ChildAid formed Children’s Hearts in 2008 as a direct response to the huge need in the city of Dneprodzerzhinsk. Initially the work for focussed on promoting a fostering programme across local churches but has since developed to touch the lives of 100s of children, young people and families.
By working with local and other relevant authorities, Children’s Hearts have supported a move from where there was no tradition or planning of fostering, to now where this is an accepted practice. Our partners:
Children’s Hearts have been largely responsible for the fostering of over 70 orphans into Christian families since the work started.
In 2009 we purchased a small house (which we called the House of Light) with extensive gardens. A period of refurbishment followed and it soon opened its doors to receive orphans for a number of activities:
As far as we are able to determine there is little, if any, service provision in the city for children (and their families) living with disabilities. Twice a week Children’s Hearts brings up to 6 children each day living with chronic disabilities to the House for one whole day.
Here they and importantly their mothers/fathers/carers are given fellowship and open friendship. In addition they have basic life skills lessons, simple massage, a good meal and a chance to share problems and receive advice
The confidence of these young people grows every day - and for some even our basic massage therapy is helping them to walk for the very first time. One mother says:
From Thursday morning my daughter is just waiting for the next Wednesday when she can go again to the House of Light. On Wednesday morning she wakes up early and is just asking to get ready. She is laughing so much more and even physically she is getting better – she is sitting up more
Vanya was born with a bilateral congenital clubfoot with his left foot almost 90° twisted. His father abandoned the family immediately. His mother’s sister excluded her from the family house so she had no home or income.
Social services suggested they contact Children’s Hearts. They were able to ensure that necessary paperwork was obtained enabling her to obtain some benefit to supplement the meagre income she could earn whilst caring for little Vanya.
With Children’s Hearts support she is now far more confident of her future, is supplied with nappies and food for Vanya and all this has lead to her to start reading the Bible and thanking the Lord for the gifts He has provided. Even the father has reappeared.
Children come to the House to escape the oppression of their squalid living conditions. They receive good food, a shower, de-lousing and the chance to play like other children and build friendships. And the good news of salvation through Christ is also taught.
Emergency aid, clothing and foodstuffs are distributed to 100s of families – most of whom are referred to our partners by the local authorities.
Children's Hearts are also actively involved in going into the community and working with families to give them the greatest possible opportunity of being helped out of their vulnerable state - be it through emergency care, help with applying for entitled benefits or whatever may be needed.
Many of the older orphans leaving care have had only a fragmentary education and most are only functionally literate or numerate. In addition they need to be taught how to handle and manage money, how to buy and cook food and how to begin and maintain happy, healthy relationships safely. Our partners also help them seek and secure accommodation and employment.
Our only restriction in the service provision we can provide is the number of hours in the day and days in the week! There is such a massive demand and immense interest in the House of Light and the "in community" care programme, demonstrating its huge success and potential, that we simply cannot accommodate all the children who want to make use of the services we can provide.
A newly constructed accommodation may prove to be a model for further such programmes across the city.
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