Charity Foundation Dobra Tut, Belarus

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! 

The summer ends but the work goes on!

The young ladies from Ireland - Hazel , Bridget, Tina, Sharon, Niamh, Lisa and Maria, the Burren Chernobyl Project volunteers had a fabulous week from the 3.08 to 9.08 in Gorodische children’s orphanage.

The girls were doing lots of exciting things with the children:

-          made а trip – with the Group 7 girls went on the local bus and ate lunch out.

-          and a trip to the Fire station and local museum in Baranovichi with the other children

-          Spent time with all groups giving sweets and spending time with those who could not be out of bed.

-          Football and discos with group 2 in the evening.  Sandwiches, sweets and drinks afterwards.

-          Group 3 got plenty of attention with massage, bubbles and chocolate.

-           Group 4 enjoyed marshmallows and one on one time.

-          Group 5 put on a wonderful show for the Irish.

-          The girls had a water games competition with group 6 …it ended in a draw!

-          Volunteers hosted a lunch for the girls in group 7 as a thank you.

-          A trip was also made to the graveyard and all graves were marked with sunflowers.

 

So the week went really fast and the all the girls apart from Maria Carr went back to Ireland.

Maria made her way to Cherven children’s orphanage on Monday the 11th where she was joined by another Burren Chernobyl volunteer Alan Bedford.

The week was very intense too!

They went around most of the Units, playing with children in beds, devoting their time to Unit 7 which is the most profound one, organized lots of different events:

-          A trip to the local cinema for Units 8,9,10, 11 altogether there were 90 children on the outing! They enjoyed the cartoon and later juice, chocolate and waffles.  Those children that didn’t get to go got the party bags done by Alan and Maria.

-          A trip for the big girls in wheelchairs from Unit 3 – they took 8 girls with the help of some young boys and girls to help wheeling. Everyone enjoyed the ice-cream and juices in this lovely sunny weather!

-          Unfortunately the outside disco was cancelled because of the rain but it didn’t spoil the fun! Maria and Alan got a new stereo system for the orphanage, so all the dancing was happening inside accompanied by ice-cream and soft drinks again!

The volunteers also got lots of different things for different groups: brought toys, bubbles, sweets, clothes, bought coloured paper for decoration, etc.

The time was unbearably fast, but the 2 of them are on the way to Gorodische again followed by another lovely group that is arriving this evening.

We’ll fill you in with news when we hear back from them!

Thanks very much from the bottom of our hearts for all your help and you devotion!

Can’t wait to see you again next year!

More Wonderful Moments!

Summer of 2014 keeps the working tempo going! Burren Chernobyl Volunteers keep coming and 
 
going in Both Cherven and Gorodishche bringing more smiles for the children in both institutions. 
 
The two ladies Julie Pipe and Jennifer McMahon continued their brilliant work in Cherven Children’s 
 
Orphanage, spending their time in all eleven groups, trying not to leave anyone out. The two ladies 
 
bought lots of books, stationery, toys, etc. Gemma Desmond’s group joined them on Wednesday 9th
 
July to bring more fun! Together they have organized fantastic parties for the groups of big girls and 
 
boys, and also for the smaller active kids from Unit 4 who were brought lots of treats. The volunteers 
 
have not forgotten the medical needs of the children either and have donated 13,000,000 towards 
 
this.
 
From Cherven the group moved on to Gorodishche Children’s Orphanage where they had lots of fun, 
 
too, organizing picnics, parties and outings. The group helped putting the green house together, they 
 
purchased catheters and shower trays, and also bought lots of music speakers for the big boys and 
 
girls, surely treats as well!
 
Last week, Rosie Byrne’s group arrived to join the fun in Gorodishche. No need to say how happy the 
 
kids were to see these regular visitors!
 
Several groups who visited this year have supported the orphanage in Gordishche by providing 
 
50,000,000 (50 million) roubles to help purchase a badly needed vehicle for transporting foodstuffs, 
 
and for other necessary travel for the children.
 
We are all saying a big thanks to all who help make a difference for these children and who make 
 
them happy and smile! That is the best thing one can do!
 
 A million thanks – or maybe 50 million!

As the summer goes on

Both orphanages – Gorodische and Cherven were busy last week welcoming groups of Burren Chernobyl Project volunteers. Gorodische was happy to see teaching students from Ireland and Cherven – the medical team.

Both teams did really well.

Gorodische was having lots of fun with games, parties, outings, football matches, etc.

Cherven team was busy repairing wheelchairs, visiting families in the local community, meeting new people through Hospice, going around places providing support.

The week was very productive and positive.

We thank both teams very much for all their fantastic help! Well done!

Alice Donnelly’s team in Gorodische

Today we said good bye to another lovely group of Burren Chernobyl Project volunteers. 8 students – lads and girls had an amazing experience with the children from Gorodische children’s orphanage. It was Alice’s second trip to Belarus and the first trip ever for the rest of the team. But they did really well.

Certainly the routine was quite the same as with all the Irish groups: they helped looking after the children in beds, organized games for active kids, picnics, little parties with ice cream, took some children to town for an outing, played football with older boys and girls. Fantastic, unbelievable time.

Of course they’ve helped by purchasing different stuff: bought mattress covers for more than 6 000 000 rubles, transparent plastic for their green house at about 2 000 000 rubles. Also supported a local family where the parents look after a special needs child, bought a nice dress for a young lady that is going to be transferred to an adult instituting in the near time.

And as always on the last day there were lots of tears. The farewell was too emotional, but we are sure we’ll meet them again very soon as the group really loved their time in the orphanage!

We thank you all for your fantastic contribution into making a difference for these children! Well done!

April Humanitarian Aid delivered

Our latest container of Humanitarian Aid has arrived to Minsk in April and been unloaded into the Dobra Tut warehouse in Minsk. The office in Minsk has received very many letters over the past weeks from orphanages and individual families, and from Social Service Centres throughout Belarus requesting aid. The container was loaded in Ennistymon in Ireland on March 15th Schenker Firm. This load contains lots of clothes, shoes, pampers, walking aids, wheelchairs and toys. The aid has been distributed according to the distribution plan that was confirmed with Burren Chernobyl Project and the Department Humanitarian Aid. A full list of institutions and Centers and the aid is listed in our REPORT section so one can see where exactly the things from the truck went to.

Thanks to all who helped with the loading- and to those who helped with the unloading in Minsk, to the ladies in Dobra tut office for all the paper work and helping the organizations to pick up the aid.

Liam O'Meara

Rose and the crew

Last week in Gorodische was an exciting week, a busy week, a happy week for the children and surely for the volunteers!

Rose and her lovely group of young lads and girls from Ireland had a wonderful time in Gorodische children’s orphanage. Lots was done, lots of smiles, lots of happiness. For some of the volunteers it was the unique experience as it was their first time in Belarus and first time in an orphanage at all. But they managed! They did a great work playing with children, organizing picnics, outings to the local school museum, organized soccer matches every evening, spent time going around all the units with yogurts and sweets and other pleasant surprises for the children.

Unbelievable time. And they promised to be back, and we believe them as their eyes cannot lie.

We thank you very much for your support and the time you have given to the children. And surely as always we are all looking forward to seeing you back again soon!

Gaelcholáiste Ennis in Gorodishche May 22nd

They were a Marvellous Group!
 
We worried a little that they might be too young to visit the orphanage; we feared a little that 
someone might even want to go home; we wondered had we them prepared enough; and we kept 
a close eye to see how these young transition year students would react when first they arrived into 
the groups in Gorodishche.
 
Now we can only say they were marvellous! In Group 3 with very ill children our Transition Year 
students were at home; they took to the children straight away, picked them up and played with
each and every little one so that all received attention and care. And they were moved by the 
experience of the very special ones like little Adam in the corner.
 
Near the end of the week, one of the students said to another,
 ‘Let’s go and say good bye to Group 3.’
‘I am not ready to say good bye!’ was the reply. 
And even though they have gone back to Ennis, it is not good bye. It is, as we say in Irish, only ‘slán 
tamall’ or bye for a while – until we meet again! And I have no doubt they will be back.
 
Thanks to the parents and teachers and all the wonderful, caring students themselves . It was a wonderful week!
 
Liam O’Meara

The roof is up!

6 days at the end of May in Yazovki village in Cherven psycho neurological asylum were very successful.

4 lads from Ireland, co. Offaly did a fantastic job on the project – house for independent living on site of the asylum. Billy, Liam, Declan and Tony were working very hard, fast and super professional on the roof of the house that is sponsored by Edel Smith, Co. Clare. The lads continued work and made an amazing contribution to the building.

The time really flew but everyone in the asylum from the residents to the workers of the institution loved their company and their humor and a very friendly atmosphere that they brought in with them. We miss the all now, especially the two lads – Sasha and Grisha – who reside in Yazovki and who were of a great help to the volunteers.

We thank you very much again from the bottom of our hearts for the great week and a fantastic work! Looking forward to seeing you back again soon!

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.

Contact details

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