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Handicap help center in Novgorod

The UPAM team gathered enough funds to create a clinical center willing to help and provide a psychological support to the disabled children’s families. It got fully renovated and we added a nursery for the heaviest forms of disability striking the children of Novgorod (Central Russia) and the surrounding villages.

Project Value : 30’000 USD

Donator : Pro Victimis, Geneva

The project was born in 1999. At this time even the idea of a nursery for disabled children was unknown in Russia. The country was generally hostile to the children. Most of the time, they were locked up in “Institutions” were they lived (or tried to) in unacceptable conditions.

UPAM got in touch with the “Rodnitchok” center (“The Small Spring”) in September 1999 through the mediation of “The Russian Association for Disability”, the biggest Russian NGO operating on the field. The Center preexisted to our intervention,  and it was run by a devoted couple with the help of some parents. They had little means and struggled hard to do small renovations on their vast premises, which they received from the town of Novgorod. Their efforts led to more activities for the children and the creation of a more liveable athmosphere.

But it wasn’t enough to insure the children’s wellness : real furnishing work had to be done to transform the place in a real Hosting Center, promoting the integration of disabled children. We spent our year 2000 renovating the equipment of the new nursery. In October 2000, it finally opened and started a partial activity. In the first half of 2001 “Rodnitchok” welcomed 55 children from Novgorod and its surrounding area in its nursery. There, they could find numerous activities to develop their physical and intellectual capacities: ballpool, physiotherapy balloons, educational games, group trips, painting, drawing. Furthermore, the Center aimed at social mixity and proposed to invite children from unprivileged families among children with disabilities.

Between June and October 2001, the construction work went on, the whole building was isolated and a playground was built in front of the nursery. The workers’ salaries were insured by televised fundraisings and the constant help of the Red Cross of Novgorod. These efforts were soon granted and Rodnitchok started welcoming more and more children from the surroundings of Novgorod. The interaction created fostered a dynamic on the issue of disability, at a regional level.

Rodnitchok, the children’s parents and the workers of the center intend to prove that we should not bend in front of an unfair decision, categorizing individuals from their birth to their death. They want to show that it’s possible to build adapted structures able to face the problem. The mediatical coverage and the several meetings held in the region prove the reach of the Novgorod Project.