Point of destination: Gnizdechko orphanage in Vinnytsia.
Address: Vinnytsia, vul. Khmelnytske shosse 110 (260 km from Kyiv)
Info about the orphanage: Gnizdechko exists for 35 years now. Mykhailo Viktorovych, its director, has been employed there for 33 years.
At this moment 70 kids, aged 4 to 17, are being raised there, 10 of them being pre-school, the rest are attending school. The children are divided into 6 groups, 2 of them being groups for 16 children with symptoms of mental retardation. They attend a specialized city school.
Generally, the orphanage is in good technical condition with adequate living conditions. The building is warm and comfortable, with internet and computers.
On Oct 22th, 2015 at 06:52 we departed to Vinnytsia by train.
Upon arrival, we went to buy cookies, sweets and juices, as well as feminine personal hygiene products.
At 13:00 we arrived at the orphanage. We planned the time so we could talk to all the children.
We were warmly welcomed upon our arrival, having personally met the director, nurse and main doctor. We told them about our Foundation and asked about the children. The main goal of the trip was the implementation of the educational project “It is trendy to be healthy”, so we discussed the children behavior in general, and talked to them in particular about sexual education and personal hygiene topics. We have found out that not enough attention has been brought to them before in regards to this topic, and thus our visit was of particular importance.
At first we met the smallest kids – 10 pre-school children. They enjoyed the sweets and were happy to show us their room and games. Soon they had to go to sleep for their daytime nap.
After that we met 2 groups of children with first-stage mental deficiency symptoms. Those kids learn in special classes, where their special needs are being taken care of. With hard work, they can achieve enormous results, learn to write and read, so they can be on par with their healthy peers. We had a great time with them, they told us everything about the school, classes they like and one of the girls, Olya, even shared her joy and pride having a new tooth.
Having a great first impression we went to meet the healthy kids of the same age – 1-5 grade. Some of them were napping (who did not have homework), and some were studying. We had a chance to recall our primary school program – doing math homework, reading verses and calculating cm in meters. One of the boys – Ihor, is very responsible and hard-working. It’s only his second year in Ukraine, he’s having difficulties reading in Ukrainian, but he loves math. His sister, a petite green-eyed beauty Mariette, also lives in the orphanage. Their story is especially sad as their mother also grew up at the same orphanage. After trying living by herself in Armenia, she gave up her children to the orphanage. The kids are truly great, we sincerely hope they won’t meet the same fate.
After classes, we went to visit older groups, who we presented our program “It’s trendy to be healthy”. We had conversations with three groups of children.
1 group – girls 13-15 years
2 group – girls 11-13 years
3 group – boys 13-16 years.
We started with the oldest girls, 10 of them, aged 12 to 15.
Tamara, being an experienced gynecologist, told them how important is it to take care of oneself, watch the changes in one’s body and protect the feminine health. She told them about the STDs and how to prevent them. We told them about contraception, feminine hygiene products and how to use them. The girls were eager to learn how to track the development of their breasts to be able to early diagnose cancer. The conversation was very interesting and productive, the girls asked a lot of questions they could not ask anyone before. They did not want the conversation to end, as they catastrophically lack female support and advice. Due to lack of time, Tamara Anatoliivna went to talk to the boys, and I stayed with the girls. We did not have a large age difference, so it was easy for them to ask lots of questions. We had a great time together, shared contact information and will continue our communication in the future. We also did a survey, aiming to learn more about teenage awareness about sexual education and STDs. We also asked them if they wanted to talk more about those topics, so we can see a general picture and useful statistics. Apart from that, we’ll discover the most important topics. Every survey will have all the info about our support box – e-mail address where they can send an e-mail to and get help, anonymously if necessary. Apart from an e-mail address we left our post address and phone numbers.
After our talks, we gave the girls feminine hygiene products and some info products about female health.
The boys also had a talk about sexual education and protection against STDs. Tamara Anatoliivna told them about the male andrologist doctor, who can help them protect from all kinds of illnesses. We also did a survey, and were asked questions about male physiological development and their age norms.
All boys do not smoke, are learning English and are engaged in sports. One of them, Dmytro, often wins in box tournaments. Ihor knows English fluently and plans to go study to the US, where he was in the summer thanks to the orphan program. He’s a great and kind boy, who has recently had an operation on the nose. The local doctor told us about their difficulties with purchasing necessary drugs to treat Ihor illness, so we decided to help and buy the necessary drugs, for which he was very thankful. We will happily maintain our communication with this orphanage and track its progress raising the kids. Ihor is the oldest and we will keep track of his life and support him if necessary. We think he has a great future, and we wish him the very best.
The youngest girls were informed about the female physiological development, and how important it is to keep track of what’s happening with the female body; it was very helpful as there is no one else to tell them about it.
When it was time to leave – everyone asked us to stay, as they loved the time we spent together. We were positively surprised, and would really like to return here.
At 18:30 we left Vinnytsia by train. The kids got in touch immediately via social network and wrote us positive reviews. We were full of great emotions.
We delivered the following provisions to Gnizdechko:
Cookies 6 kg
Sweets 4 kg
Juices 10 l
Feminine hygiene products – 30 packs
Medical drug “Synupret” for one of the children