Almost 8,000 Ukrainian children found their parents thanks to «Say No to Orphanhood» program
Today, on September 30, Ukrainski Novyny information agency hosted a press briefing dedicated to the Adoption Day and "Say No to Orphanhood" program of Rinat Akhmetov Foundation for Development of Ukraine. The main program results over these years, the trends of national adoption and peculiarities of working in military conflict conditions were described by Rimma Fil, the Humanitarian Center's Coordinator, and Darya Kasyanova, the Manager of programs and projects at Rinat Akhmetov Foundation.
"Every child should live in family" is the motto of "Say No to Orphanhood" program, which was launched on June 1, 2008, by decision of Rinat Akhmetov. The main objective of the program is ensuring the right of every orphan and child, deprived of parental care, to have a foster family, promotion of foster families and family-type homes and reducing the number of children, who get into orphanages.
During many years Rinat Akhmetov and Igor Krutoy visited different orphanages on St. Nicholas Day.
"After one of these visits Rinat Akhmetov said these words: "When we first visited an orphanage, the meeting with children made an indelible impression on us. And we promised ourselves to help children as long as we live, because they cannot cope with all difficulties on their own…", – Rimma Fil remembered during the briefing. – The issue of helping orphans remains in the personal, moral and life philosophy of Rinat Akhmetov for many years. Children who live without parents. Who practically have no childhood. That is why orphanhood eradication is the most important direction of Rinat Akhmetov Foundation for all these years.
The Foundation did a great job of finding new families for orphans, building new family-type orphanages and providing assistance to families in crisis situations. During the project implementation period they opened 2 Mother and Child Centres in Donetsk and Kyiv, a crisis centre in Dnipropetrovsk, and there are 4 operating family support centres. With the direct participation of the Foundation employees there are 39 family-type homes that have been created and currently more than 400 children are brought up there.
7,885 children across the country have found their parents thanks to the all-Ukrainian internet portal of national adoption http://www.sirotstvy.net and our partners, – Darya Kasyanova shared. - Despite the fact that today Rinat Akhmetov Foundation is mostly operating as the Humanitarian Center, the orphanhood problem is very acute and relevant, as the war has bared all the problems, and the number of orphans and children deprived of parental care is growing. Today there are more than 11,000 children's profiles on the website, and it is 80% of all children available for adoption in Ukraine. This year alone, 513 children were adopted and taken into foster families.
The website http://www.sirotstvy.net has 3,670 new pictures added in 2015, but there is less of information coming on the children from Donetsk and Luhansk regions who are available for adoption, and this information is not provided in the national registration database as well.
"During eight months of 2015, 729 children became orphans in Donetsk region and 161 in Luhansk region, there are the numbers from government-controlled areas. But there is no information on how many children became orphans in non-government-controlled areas. According to our information this number is 44 children", – Darya Kasyanova informs.
Despite the conflict in the East of Ukraine, the interest to the portal in not reducing. This is due to the fact that the portal has the most complete information about children who need family. In 2015, the portal was visited by 235,000 potential adoptive parents. And 5,000 people addressed the portal's and Humanitarian Center's hotline.
"Lately this process has become more active; we've never received so many calls before. And the number of inquiries about adopting Donbas children makes 80% of all appeals, – Kasyanova says. – We get calls from Ivano-Frankivsk, Lviv, Poltava and other regions of Ukraine with the same question: "How can we adopt a child from Donbas and what can we do to help?"
It is obvious that people have a great willingness to adopt a child. However, according to Darya Kasyanova, the most important thing is to respect the child's interests.
The data analysis showed that Ukrainians adopt: children under one year old (28%), children from one to two years old (21%), from three to five years old (22%), from six to ten years old (14%), and from 11 to 17 years old (15%). Girls are adopted more often than boys: during the whole period of portal operation 3,284 boys and 4,601 girls found their families.
"Often the children available for adoption have brothers and sisters. Ukrainians are not afraid to take 2-4 children to their families. In our experience there was a family who adopted six children all at once, – Darya Kasyanova shares. – When we started our program there were about 4,000 children being brought up in foster families in Ukraine. Now there are 13,000 of such kids. Today the number of orphans living in orphanages is lower than their number in foster families. And this is a great victory for Ukraine!".
According to the Program Manager, there is still much work to do. "Now we study the issue of helping teenagers and finishing two projects in Dnipropetrovsk region. In addition, we track the future of every child who gets on our portal www.sirotstvy.net. We know that this work is in great demand and we are not going to stop. We believe that all children of Ukraine shall live in loving families", – Darya Kasyanova summarized.