Charity Foundation Dobra Tut, Belarus

Irish volunteers spending Christmas in Gorodische orphanage

We had an amazing group of Burren Chernobyl Project volunteers that were brave enough to come to Belarus in winter time. To add more to this they came at Christmas time! The week they spent in Gorodische orphanage was absolutely fantastic!

Ruth Byrne, one of the volunteers from Shannon, shares her impressions: 

”I was as giddy as a child waiting for Santa on Christmas Eve the night before we left for Belarus. I’d been looking forward to this trip for so long and it was finally here! It was great to have mum there to make it all the more special. We hadn’t met our third Musketeer Amanda till we arrived at Dublin airport but it was like we were old friends by the time we’d reached London. The butterflies were dancing around in each of us and we just couldn’t wait to get there.

Our first morning was the most overwhelming experience. We walked through the beautifully decorated corridors and arrived into the gym where we were met by a gigantic Christmas tree and the excited faces of children from all the groups!! They were all dressed smartly or in costume as it was a rehearsal party for the big performance the next day when the Minister for Social Defence would visit. We watched some beautiful dancing by the older ones and a hilarious play where the children sang and danced their hearts out. Vova was dressed as Fr. Frost giving out presents of beautiful Christmas boxes filled with sweets. There were party games afterwards with everyone dancing and the turning on of the Christmas lights too. This all happened again the next day but with everybody fully dolled up – costumes and makeup and some different children got to come to allow for as many of them to get to see it as possible. Some of the girls from groups 3 and 4 were dressed in donated Communion dresses from the Irish with tinsel trimmings making the perfect Christmas party dresses! All the older girls were getting another outing in their debs dresses collected by Kathleen during the summer, they felt like princesses!

We were delighted to be able to bring a group of 13 children to Baranovichi on Christmas Eve. The main reason was to get Andrei (G6) and Alosha (G2) fitted for glasses but of course we managed to squeeze some fun in too, we took them for lunch and went to see the huge Christmas tree in the middle of the town, sugared them up with ice-cream and let them loose in the arcade where we witnessed sheer and utter joy on their faces as they roared and shrieked with excitement!

On Christmas morning we had a disco with groups 1, 2 and 6 where everyone danced to the best of their ability and of course, we had a few confetti and presents to give out at the end. We brought Fr. Frost to G4 with yogurts and sweets. This was extra special because many of these children weren’t able to take part in the main party earlier in the week. I saw smiles on faces I’d never seen smile before, it was such a heart-warming experience.

We celebrated every birthday in the months December, January and February. We brought the infamous hats and glasses to each group and gave each of the birthday boys and girls presents. They were all delighted with the fuss over them. It was particularly nice because they wouldn’t normally have Irish there for their birthdays.

We gave all of group 3 (cots and beds) foot massages and new socks. Did art with the group 7 embroidery girls. We took the rest of group 7 out two at a time to the classroom and spent some time with them there. Played board games, cards and danced with group 2 every evening. Even though we couldn’t play football with them it was nice to be able to spend that time with them as some of them are still working out on the farm in the cold weather and enjoy the company. We went to group 5 and came out wrecked as you can imagine! They’re still as lively as ever J There were quite a few from 5 in sickbay so we managed to visit them briefly one day to give them yogurts, cyrok and presents. We chilled with the Independents each night chatting over tea or playing a game of cards. They’re all doing brilliantly, those that may have been quieter in the past are beginning to find their voices and it’s great to see them all taking part!

Over all it was a jam packed week full of festive fun. The children were in such high spirits, even the normally quieter ones were full of life. It was comforting in a way, to know that all this effort (decorations, parties and presents) is made every year even when there’re no important visitors such as the minister or other politicians. I definitely came home happier knowing this.

From everybody over there, we wish you a very Happy New Year and here’s to another busy year for Burren Chernobyl Project in 2015!!”

We thank Ruth, Rosie and Amanda for the fantastic time they spent with the children – it’s the best present ever! 

Aid delivered

Another load of humanitarian aid from Burren Chernobyl Project arrived in Minsk in late autumn 2014. After sorting out all the documents Dobra tut eventually distributed the aid from Ireland among the Institutions of Belarus. Clothes, shoes, bed linen, toys, etc went to the places that needed that most: asylums in Svir, Rakov, Stolbtsy (Kul village), some social service centers, etc. Full report on the aid that was delivered to the institution is provided in REPORT section.

We thank everyone in Ireland who donated things who helped with loading the truck, did the documents. And surely we thank our ladies in Dobra tut who dealt with all the documentation (and not only) here on this side!

Well done to everybody and thanks a million!

Christmas holidays for Gorodische children

A lovely week of holidays in Minsk from the 15th to the 21st of December became a fantastic present for a group of 9 young adults from Gorodische children’s orphanage. Boys and girls were delighted to be in Minsk at this special time of the year. One can think that a week is a long time but for them it went in a blink of an eye as so many pleasant and interesting things happened! The group attended a few Christmas Theater plays, went on a big celebration devoted to the New Year, saw a fabulous circus show and visited the Zoo to see a special dolphin performance. In Dom Zara the kids were also fully entertained – the clown show and the New Year show from the Magician left them breathless. The children also made friends with the volunteers from Maria Breen’s group; they were dancing together, doing arts and crafts, playing games and just having fun some of the evenings.

We hope that the children had a fantastic time, and we’d like to thank Burren Chernobyl Project for sponsoring this week, Maria Breen’s group for being with the children, the ladies who work in the Fund that helped by cooking and looking after the boys and girls, and everyone who was a part of this amazing time!

We wish all of you happy holidays and looking forward to seeing in the New Year!

Merry Christmas and Happy New 2015 Year!

Our dearest friends! 

We wish everybody - institutions and children and adults residing in them, our volunteers, our partners Burren Chernobyl Project, Chernobyl Children's Trust, and also all donators, workers of the Fund and everybody else who is involved into charity - Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! May the new year be successful, happy, merry, lucky! And of course we wish you good health!  

With endless love, 

Yours, "Dobra tut"

All they need is love

Sometimes when we think that our life is too far away from being a piece of cake, and we think that the worst thing that ever happened to us was that we screwed up the work, or broke a nail, or lost some cash, or didn’t buy another stupid thing that we actually didn’t need, we forget that there are children, adults that have nothing, and they are even not able to complain. They are locked away in institutions sometimes having only each other, and also for an uncertain time, as there is a high risk that they will be separated and transferred to another institution without any slightest possibility to communicate. Ever in their lives. The majority doesn’t think about it. They don’t want to know, that all these children or people need is a bit of love and attention.

This is to say thanks again to our Irish (and not only) volunteers that give away their love to such children and adults.

We have recently had a team of 2 volunteers from Dublin in Cherven children’s orphanage. And one of them, Carol, made a fabulous video – her memories of a week spent with the children.

We hope you will enjoy watching it. May be it’ll touch your heart, may be you will find lots of familiar faces, may be you’d want to join and volunteer. But the only absolute thing about this video that it won’t leave you indifferent.

So, enjoy.

And thank you, Carol again for a lovely video! (click the link below)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wPEcxTgvSfg&feature=youtu.be

Warming up for the winter

The independent living house on site of Cherven psycho neurological asylum, village Yazovki, is getting ready for the winter time. All the heating project documentation is sorted and the work on connecting to the central pipe is in process. The house for the winter is nearly ready. The finishing works inside will be carried out in the near future. We will update you on further progress soon! 

No time for boredom!

In Cherven psycho neurological asylum, village Yazovki, where the Fund is involved in building project "House for independent living with supervision", life is literally boiling. Here are some moments of concert rehesarsal, a major pastime in the life of possible canditates for this project and their wonderful event organizer Mariana Siniavskaya. 

New volunteers – new impressions

Another bunch of lovely moments and memories we are happy to share with you.

Last week the two new volunteers from Dublin landed in Cherven orphanage to spend their time with the children. Carol and Dean barely knew each other before they came but to us they seemed best buddies. It’s amazing how fast they settled in and got to work with children and young adults in the orphanage.

The week was simply fabulous. They got to meet almost all children in most Units, used multi-sensory room to its full extent, spent evenings with older boys and girls, with lads in independent living Unit, met lovely children in the isolations Unit, did a cooking session at their local kitchen with the teacher, and simply had so much fun with the children.

Of course they bought lots of things for the orphanage: plates, colouring books, crayons, sweets, wool and embroidery stuff, etc. Also they brought from Ireland lots of clothes and some toys.

We always wonder how it will feel for the new people to be here, how they will react towards children and all our Belarusian reality, but we must confess that we hardly remember anyone who was leaving Belarus with bad impressions. And these two people were not an exception. The kindness and affection they showed the children was just amazing, and they were going back to Ireland making plans on what they can do and what they can bring when they come back here next time! And that’s an achievement, but sure how can anyone be indifferent to the children that they have spent the whole week with? And we are sure that Carol and Dean will be back, and we, on our hand will be happy to see them again!

Thank you very much again and again! 

Alena Martsyanava

Volunteers recollect

There is a lot to remember about this volunteer year in both orphanages: Gorodische and Cherven. Some groups were visiting both places which is a very difficult but a pleasant task! We are trying to gather some recollections of the volunteers that have spent their time in our institutions. And surely we thank all the groups and single volunteers that devoted their time to children. Every moment and every memory is different, and we will try and keep the record of them as much as we can.

Here is a small summery of one of your young but experienced volunteer from Clare, Ireland, Ruth Byrne, who kindly shared her impressions on her few week’s time in Belarus:

“My trip this year was no different from previous years in that there were hugs, kisses, smiles, tears and highs and lows alike but yet a completely different experience at the same time. I hadn’t travelled since 2012 and found some brilliantly simple but incredibly effective changes. Met lots of new faces and missed those that were gone. Overall I felt it was an extremely positive trip.
I visited Cherven first and was delighted to see group 5 (mainly wheelchair-bound children) had been moved to the ground floor and group 4 (mobile young children- similar to group 5 in Gorodishche) were moved upstairs. It was such a simple change but one that means all the children in both groups get outside for fresh air nearly every day during the summer. I spent a lot of time with group 5 getting some of the children up and out of their chairs for walks every day. They tired easily but were so happy and I was so proud to see them get up and go.
There were lots of new faces in group 6. I spent a good bit of time with the group helping with feeding and taking them out for walks. It was great to see them getting bigger and stronger; I saw a great improvement in Ira over the few days especially.
Group 1 was more difficult as not all of them were getting outside. This made the afternoon we brought Jenya out for some sun and fresh air all the more special. I only wish we had the time to bring them all out.
We had cake and a bit of a party for Nastia in group 3 to celebrate her 21st. The girls devoured the cake in minutes!! All the older kids are in great form too.
The senior yard was as lively as ever. The music corner was bopping the whole time with dancers and the lads were all having the craic making jokes at my pidgin Russian. It was great to see so many of the younger teens moved up from the younger groups, the older yard suits them better they seem much happier.


Gorodishche was brilliant; everyone seemed to be in great form. It was very obvious the huge number of volunteers that had visited over the summer with their smiling faces and enthusiasm had lifted the mood of both the children and workers alike, there was a great buzz about the place. I was delighted to see the new ramps outside between groups 3 and 4 and by the medical unit too. Also, the new door in group 4 that leads right out to the veranda has enabled the entire group to get outside for some fresh and sunshine air all summer.
It was great to see the yogurt programme still going strong. We fed yogurts to group 4 every day and to group 1 some days too. We continued the great work the girls had been doing and got Artsiom (group 4) out for a walk most days, either to the small gym or outside to the swings it was amazing to see the progress he made.

We had such a jam packed time doing activities with all the groups. We had art and sport with group 1. Soccer, games nights and music with group 2. Massages and music with groups 3 and 5 and music with group 7 too. We made salads with the embroidery girls twice a week and learned some yummy Belarusian recipes. We ended most evenings having a cuppa with the independents.
The independent living was without a doubt the biggest improvement I saw this year. The young adults living there are so proud of their accomplishments and were eager to show us. It’s a real family unit they have there and it was lovely to be a part of it for a little while. They have all come on so far from when they were in their groups. Some have calmed, others have come out of their shells but all of them are happier.
The independent living hasn’t only improved the lives of those living there but it has benefitted the girls and boys in groups 2 and 7 also. It was brilliant to see so many of their personalities shine this year, particularly the quieter ones who were always overshadowed by the bigger personalities. I felt there were huge improvements in group 2 especially.
On my first day some children from groups 6 and 7 got to go to the local ‘stadium’ where the teacher Alena organised all sorts of games for them to play. The children had great fun and of course it wouldn’t be a real treat without some ice-cream . We also brought a group to Bravanivichi for a day. We all had a great day out. The children loved all the activities. We treated them to lunch, some games at the arcade, an art exhibition and some ice-cream. They were as good as gold. Some of them even had a great chat with a local man on the bus home it was lovely to see him be so kind to them.
Over all it was a fantastic three weeks. All the smiles, all the challenges came with the full spectrum of emotions but I have to say it was probably my best trip yet. I was privileged to spend time with Mary, Laura, Ita and Robyn over the three weeks, each bringing something new to the table. My only regret is I couldn’t stay longer. Thank you Cherven, thank you Gorodishche, thank you Burren Chernobyl Project and a big thank you to all the volunteers who made a difference this summer by God was it worth it!

Hard work done!

During two weeks from the 15th-29th of September work on the project “House for independent living” on the territory of Cherven psycho – neurological asylum was boiling! 2 groups of 13 volunteers – builders from “Roche pharmaceutical”, Ireland were working hard from early morning till late night. The lads were very lucky with the weather so they managed to do a lot:

- insolated the outside walls

- plastered the outside walls

- made the concrete floors with hydro-isolation

- plastered all the inside walls

- insolated the roof and slabbed all walls upstairs and the stairs

- slabbed the bathroom

- tiled the walls in the bathroom

- put partition upstairs for another bedroom

- plastered all joints on slabs upstairs

- slabbed and tiled the walls in the toilet

- tiled all the floor in the hall and the stairs

- did the suspended ceilings in all rooms downstairs

 

One can surely say that all the main work on the house is performed, and it’s not that much remained before the project will come to life and about 6 happy residents will move into the house from the asylum and start their independent life!

From the bottom of our hearts we thank our heroes: Tom, Fergus, Eoin, Fergal, Eamon, Nikkie, Donal, Eddie, John, Frenkie, Joe, Matrin, Willie – thank you very much indeed changing life of our people who need it most for the better!

We miss you and look forward to seeing you angain!

We also say a very special thanks to Edel Smith and her organization for being the main sponsor of this fabulous project! This is an enormous contribution into major changes! Thanks to everyone!

We thank!

Dobra tut is thankful to the company "RUBELYI" for the money transferred onto our account. This funds are going to be used to meet the needs of one of the institutions we support. Please follow the updates in the section REPORT.

A wonderful comeback

It’s always something special about “The originals” – the first Burren Chernobyl Project volunteers’ visits to Belarus – those people that were there from the very beginning, those who knew bad times, those who gave their love to the “special” children and young adults who had never seen it before, those who made a huge difference inspiring the young people of Ireland to follow them, encouraging for more actions to take.

One of them is Mary Cosgrove, who started her volunteering about 15 years ago. We are always happy to see Mary and assist her in all she does. This week wasn’t an exception.

As always Mary came with all her love and kindness and warmth of her heart to the children of Cherven children’s orphanage – the best present to bring to the kids. She equally treated all the children, those whom she knew for ages since she started coming over and the new comers – she equally loved them all. She had a moment for everyone as she always does. Like a big mamma she was caring so much for the children in beds, helping feeding and playing, and taking them outside for a bit of walk and a fresh air.

And Mary will have time for everyone. It’s amazing to sit down with a cuppa and listen to her stories about the children’s adventures in Ireland, about all the stories of the past, about young adults who were transferred to adult asylums as she remembers them when they were little children.

It’s amazing to have such people coming over to our children, because they in so many ways teach us mercy and kindness that we sometimes forget about in our crazy pace of everyday’s life. They teach us to stop and take a look at those who need our attention, our attention and affection.

So let me on behalf of all of us here in Belarus say thank you very much for everything! And we do hope to see you many times here in the future! Thank you again and again!

Alena Martsyanava

Gorodische life keeps boiling

This summer has been really amazing for the children in Gorodische. Volunteers of Burren Chernobyl project were coming there all the time to keep kids entertained and loved.

Another active and lovely group with Alan, Maria, Laura, Kathleen, Tina, Olivia, Clare and Collin spent lovely time in Gorodische with the children and young adults.


“We spent time with the children who were in bed and got a few of them out into the fresh air. Also had a pancake evening with the independent living group and Disco with the independent living group. In the evening we played  football and had discos with group 2. On one of the days we brought a group to the lake, another to Navagrudak which is a historical town in Belarus. There was a lot to see, nice trip! – Alan shares his brief summery on the week.- Kathleen organized the ball for the older girls”

But those who have done volunteering at least once in their lifetime know how much emotion there is inside after being there with the children. It’s very hard to describe the feeling when you see children’s eyes when you give them your time, your love and kindness.

We hope you to see you again next year we know how much you care about the children! Thank you very much from the bottom of our hearts!

Scetches "from nature"

We are sitting with Liosha in the minibus beside the National Library in Minsk, came to the show “New year – the whole year around”. The teachers and the rest of the children are gone to the show.

“Why should I go, no reason” – Liosha sighs heavily. – “I’m not gonna see anything, I’d rather talk to you”.

Liosha is recalling his childhood, when he could still see a little bit.

“And how can I live blind? But I listen, I listen to everything. I can recognize a person by steps”.

 

True, I remember how Liosha commented on my arrival in the morning:

“Ah, Arkadievna, Arkadievna, in her lovely heels!”

Liosha’s stories end up with philosophical conclusions and deep sighs:

«Ah, Arkadievna, Arkadievna», - this expresses depending on the intonation either sadness or flirting. And his singing “Don’t offend me, destiny” sounds very confidently.

Listening to Liosha’s singing and looking into his blind eyes, I’m thinking about varieties of fortune and eternal question “WHY?”

I don’t remember exactly when and who had this idea to bring children from institutions to Minsk for holidays, but it’s been the third year of happiness for the kids! It’s fantastic that Burren Chernobyl Project is sponsoring this and not only pasy for all their wishes and requests but also actively takes part in organizing parties and holidays for the children! One of the volunteers - an amazing person from Ireland Maire O`Conghaile – has spent the whole week with the children this summer participating in all the trips and helping make children’s dreams come true.

So many children have enjoyed their time in Minsk since it started… Some of them deeply stored in our memories, some a little less. There were many happy moments and many sad moments. During their week in Minsk we were getting used to them, that’s why saying good-bye was always sad and with lots of tears from all sides – children crying, carers crying, us crying too. The warmth of hearts, genuineness, love were gone. And instead of all this there was emptiness that was so hard to fill in. How can one forget an impulsive and charismatic Masha with her love to loud reproaches in the morning: 

“So again I couldn’t sleep, they were walking and wondering around! I read even the whole book, as it was impossible to fall asleep!  But here they were again!”

(that’s all taking into consideration that Masha can’t read!)

I recall Vasya – a beautiful, calm and well-brought boy, a deep thinker.

We are walking with Vasya near the Hill of Glory (Beside Minsk) and there was a group of young – as they say now Latin- or Afro- Americans – very dark skinned lads. Vasya was staring at them a long time – obviously he had never seen anyone like that in Gorodische before. And then he asked:

 “Why are they like that?”

It took me a long time to explain about the Africans, about the colour of the skin, about equality and brotherhood. Vasya was in deep silence. In about half an hour later Varia’s curious mind would’t leave him along and I literally collapsed on the ground because of his question.

“So can they be washed at all?!”

A group of bigger lads that work at the farm belonging to the orphanage was very independent with their own ambitions. This was the only group that didn’t drop a tear – what can you say – real men!

On the first day of their holidays we were going to town after their lunch. There is always someone on the bus who is gonna get sick, that’s why I asked: “So how are you, are you not sick?”

And I got quite a surprising reply:

“How can you get sick on an empty stomach?”

“Oh, wow, - I’m surprised! – You are just after having lunch?!”

“Hah, do you call it lunch?”

No comments! I urgently rang the girls who help at cooking and ask them to double the amount of food!

As the result we changed the plates for bigger ones and were secretly watching the lads eating away, wondering if one can truly eat that much!? It turned out they could. Well, again … Men! Workers!

I often recall the group with two lads in wheelchairs – Yura and Liosha. It was in wintertime, New Year’s Eve, when no amusement park was working, that’s why we were visiting theatres and New Year’s shows.

“So how do you like it?” – I used to ask them after another event.

And Liosha was answering:

“Oh, Tamara, I’d watch it and watch it!”

But what can you do – the kids in the group were of different age and grown-up Liosha had to watch the shows for the pre-school children!

One day that had an incredible luck: I have messed up and instead of going to the dancing show “Haroshki”, they got to go to the Philharmonic Hall. So Yura was happy – he had never slept as good as there!

There were so many moments indeed…

The girls from Cherven – singers, brides! All their trips were accompanied by lovely songs. Looking at them our hearts were ready to break apart. Each of them was dreaming about simple women’s happiness, they were telling us about their boy-friends, sharing secrets and expectation that would hardly come true.

Liuba was talking about her mother with so much love, about her mother’s tough life and lots of hardships.

When I asked her if the mother comes to see her often, she said:  “But when can she come? She has so much work, she gets tired!” (Her mother lives there in the same place, in Cherven)

Lovely, innocent, kind girls, they are not spoilt with anger or greed. One becomes kinder being around them.

Wonderful people dwell in these institutions. We remember all of you and looking forward to seeing you again: Vaselina, Nastya, Ruslana, Valia, Natasha, a lovely singer Polina, Sergei, Vitalik, Kirill, Dima, Vova with his unbelievably shiny and beautiful eyes, little Artsiom, well, EVERYBODY!

Lovely, tolerant, kind and very responsible teachers and carers work with these children. During all this time we were fascinated by them more and more, with every new group! God bless you for all your patience and that warmth that you give to the children, the warmth their parents should have given to them.

The Irish volunteers are a separate story – like believing or not. For the constant question in Ministry of Social Protection and the Department of Humanitarian Aid – “why do they come” – I always say something about Christianity, deep cultural roots, and traditions going back centuries ago and many other things but the truth is I don’t know the real answer for this question. They are different, just DIFFERENT. They think in a different way, they are brought up in a different way. They have other moral values and vision of life. Not trying to flatter I’ll just say that they are different and we won’t understand them with our mentality! I don’t want to insult anybody, but I don’t know any person from our country who would come in their own free time, for their own cost to any of our special needs orphanages (I don’t even mention Africa now) and stay there not in the best conditions for a week and after this week leaving the children, crying that they have to leave them! May be some people will say about a different level of life, but this is not about this. We seem to have lost our cultural roots of charity. Perhaps it happened along with the revolution, when “a cook became to rule the country”, and may be it need to take a few generations to change the situation!  I hope it’ll work out.

And now let me thank all the volunteers from Ireland – god bless all of you!!!

 

And here is the orphanage again. The kids are running to us, giving their little presents, saying hellos, asking to put them on the list form Minsk for next time. And we do it, because we have a hope and strong believe that with God’s help and Burren Chernobyl’s support their dreams will come true!!  

 

Tamara Bukhtseyeva

 

Translated by Alena Martsyanava

 

We thank our regular donator!

The Fund thanks our regular donator from Gomel Gerasimenko A. V. for the funds transfered to our account! 

We highly appreciate your donations and your attention to "special" people! 

Charity Fund "Dobra tut" is the organization whose main priority is to support financially and materially some of the orphanages in Belarus and also involve volunteers into work with the children and adults.

You can support our projects by transferring money to our account, or become a volunteer and help the children and adults directly. On our website we provide you with the full report on the work of our Fund.

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Address:
Angarskiy pereulok, 117, Minsk, Belarus, 220137 
E-mail: dobratut@gmail.com
Phone/fax: +375 (017) 246-26-39
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