Happy New Year everyone! What better day than today to share our list of initiatives for 2013. We are in for another exciting year. Along with our ongoing and critical deliveries of food and family parcels we will continue our many programs within the Chausy Region with a special focus on the Chausy Orphanage and local organizations supporting the physically and mentally challenged. Great strides are being made in the region by dedicated volunteers to help integrate these folks into the community and remove the social stigma and we are there to help and support these groups. Please read on and see the exciting year we have in store.
On behalf of Dave Shaw – Director of Humanitarian Aid
CAC will limit our aid shipment to 3 transport containers of aid this spring. The containers will consist of food and parcels for a targeted 800 families including seniors on small pensions and impoverished families and families with disabled children. In addition, we hope to raise enough funds for hygiene products for impoverished families, orphans, abused / neglected children, disabled children and adults. Also 800 shoes boxes for seniors, hand made quilts, clothing, footwear, wheelchairs and walkers
$20,700 needed (Overseas and inland shipping)
Canadian Aid for Chernobyl has launched our 12th annual food box drive; providing 60lbs of staple food products to seniors on minimal pensions, single mothers or families on social assistance, families with invalid children. Last year, we hand delivered 624 food boxes. These boxes are genuinely appreciated and will be hand delivered in early April when families’ preserves are depleted. We hope to provide food to more than 650 families!
In addition to the food boxes, CAC delegates will deliver more than 400 humanitarian boxes from Canadian families to families living in the contaminated regions. In the past, families throughout Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes have sent parcels through CAC for safe distribution.
Chausy Orphanage – Child Sponsorship
In June of 2011, the President of Belarus passed a decree that due to the economic crisis, all children living in orphanages throughout the Republic, that have parents or relatives, must return to their families regardless of the living conditions or abusive circumstances or neglect. This had an immediate impact on 50% of the children living in the Chausy Orphanage.
Canadian Aid for Chernobyl took immediate action to plea to the Government to pass a law that would allow children living in dangerous or abusive situations to be “sponsored” by Canadians to return to the safe environment of the Chausy Orphanage. This is the first “foreign” agreement for sponsorship of children living in an orphanage in the history of Belarus!
Chausy Orphanage – Agricultural Program
After years of operating the Chausy Orphanage with critical food shortage in late winter and early spring, in 2005, Canadian Aid for Chernobyl introduced the Agricultural Program. Through the support of our donors, we provided the machinery, equipment and seeds needed to harvest sufficient potatoes and various vegetables for the entire year. In fact, for the last three harvests they have yielded a surplus and the children took their produce to market.
In 2010, we appealed to our supporters to help us expand this program and we built a state of the art poultry barn and delivered it to the orphanage in April 2011. What a success! The hens are yielding 90 eggs a day, and the orphanage is raising its 3rd round of 50 broilers!
In 2013, CAC is planning to introduce pork into our Agricultural Program, building a small structure suitable for 6 -8 young pigs. CAC Officer David Campbell is spearheading this project!
Funds needed to support our agricultural program: providing feed for the layers and broilers, crop fertilizer, fuel and machinery maintenance.
Chausy Orphanage – Student Projects
Internet / Yearbook / Videos
The goals of this initiative is to work with the students at the Chausy Orphanage School to improve their technical skills, celebrate the students’ successes and build their self-esteem. The last 2 years school yearbooks were a huge success. The students, school director and staff are now very keen on continuing this keepsake yearbook again. Students from Belarus and Canada are working hard together as a team to produce the 2012/2013 yearbook. CAC has introduced the children to the worldwide web and this initiative will maintain the Internet connection to the school and expand student use of email and the web. With continued technical support and training from CAC, students will also continue to create short videos showing their stories and their lives at the orphanage. CAC Director Stephen MacKinnon heads up this initiative, applying his award-winning expertise and experience in a new challenging environment.
CAC has been developing and supporting the Music Program in the Orphanage for more than 10 years. The children are now competing throughout Belarus in song and dance. Several have even composed their own music. Spring 2013, we are planning to expand this program to introduce acoustic guitars, electric guitars, electric bass guitars, drum sets, tambourines, song books etc. In addition we will be taking several instructors with us … it will be a 10-day jam session. The children dream to have their own band. This initiative is dedicated to the memory of the late Greg Moreau.
Orphanage Library, Books and Magazines
Over the last 8 years, CAC has partnered with a number of elementary schools in Leeds and Grenville, providing orphanages with several thousand new hard cover books for education and personal enjoyment. Once again, schools within the Upper Canada School Board will try to raise $3,000 to purchase additional books and this year add magazines into the mix. Since this program was initiated, 3 of the orphanages have been recognized by the Provincial Department of Education as the top educational facilities within the province. Spearheaded by CAC Director Neil Matheson
Malcomson Home for Family Living
In September 2008, CAC initiated an agreement between the Department of Education, the Chausy Orphanage, the Department of Humanitarian Aid and CAC to construct a house on the orphanage property. This “home” is now complete and provides the opportunity for orphaned and abused children to experience family life and develop skills in family structure and finance. They learn to purchase and prepare meals, care for a home, do their laundry and enjoy life as a family. The house sleeps 6 students and one supervisor. Until now, the graduating kids leave the orphanage with no family skills or any understanding of money management, or healthy family environment or even food preparation.
CAC has received numerous letters from the children who enjoy the house and are deeply motivated to strive for a better future and have enjoyed a positive taste for family living. They are having a blast!!
Over the last 2 years, CAC has been providing mountain bikes and camping gear to the Orphanage, allowing the children to experience multi- day excursions, during their summer months, while living at the Orphanage. This spring we hope to expand this experience and provide 6 – 17’ canoes, life jackets and all equipment necessary, including the trailer to transport them! Our purpose is to develop team-building, discipline and to experience the many beautiful lakes and rivers throughout Belarus!
Chausy Orphanage Wish list
To be purchased in Belarus
• School supplies
• Printer cartridges
• Internet support
• Educational Books
Repairs and maintenance
• Roof on Dormitory $3000
• 3rd floor repairs and decorating
• Washroom repairs
• Introduction to English
• Cd players
• Laptop for Library
• Skate laces
• Running/sport/cross country shoes
• Soccer balls
• Drum Set
• Paper napkins
• Hygiene products
• Greenhouse plastic
Initiatives for the Physically, Mentally and Medically Challenged
Guardian Angel Program
The Guardian Angel Program is an ongoing program that deals with children/young adults in the Chausy Region of Belarus who have been labelled “Invalid” because of some physical/emotional/intellectual challenge. This label has often had them treated as undesirables. They are often treated poorly in their villages/towns, in schools, if even possible, and prejudice is often applied by general citizens, doctors, employers and by police.
Some of the 155 families with a child so labelled are coping fairly well but many others, 45 – 80 families are not. These are the families G.A.P. tries to help.
Our main objective is to ease their situation in any way. Helping caregivers by making their days in any way easier and they themselves feel more significant/valued/cared for, can often give some hope and sense of significance. Clothing, food, transportation, ambulatory devices (wheelchairs, etc.) are just some of the things and services we try to provide for those who struggle.
Invalid Children Support
Canadian Aid for Chernobyl has once again partnered with the Rotary Club of Brockville and Rotary Club of 1000 Islands and families with disabled children: providing a medical fund of $5,000 to be used for medicines, medical supplies, surgery or improvement to quality of life.
There are 155 families with physically, mentally or medically challenged children currently registered! Thank you Rotarians for making a tremendous difference in the lives of these children!
Mini Van – Invalid Children
In 2010, CAC partnered with Don and Shirley Green and successfully purchased a mini van for the organization of Invalid Children. This has now made it possible for many children living in the rural areas the opportunity to attend daycare and our new social workshop / learning care facility in Chausy. It has given the child/young adult the opportunity to do crafts, woodworking and most importantly an opportunity to socialize and to feel significant.
$5,000 operating budget needed
Social Workshop for Invalid Children and Young Adults
CAC is pleased to announce the grand opening of the areas first Social Workshop for children and young adults with physical and mental challenges. Located in the center of Chausy in a former school, it offers a classroom environment and interaction with regular children. This is a wonderful opportunity to support our vision to integrate children with challenges into society. Our kids are busy making crafts, carving wood, sewing as well as selling their creations at local markets and fairs. CAC is responsible for the classroom expenses, heat and electricity. The city authorities are responsible for providing the psychologist.
CAC has agreed to continue our financial support to the Organization of Invalid Children to allow them to operate their distribution of humanitarian aid from a small storage room. CAC pays for the rent, electrical and minimal heat.
CAC is pleased that our CAC firefighters have been working hard to acquire additional equipment to compliment what was sent in March 2010 to Mogilev and Chausy Fire departments.
Dream Mountain Crisis Center for Women and Children
Alcohol abuse has been the root of serious domestic violence and social problems in Eastern Europe for several decades. After 2 years of planning, fundraising and construction, Canadian Aid for Chernobyl in partnership with the Chausy Municipal Authorities celebrated the Grand Opening of the country’s first Crisis Center for Women and Children. Thank you, Dream Mountains Foundation for helping us realize such a wonderful project. CAC has some furnishings and office equipment left to purchase.
During our Spring 2012 trip to Belarus, CAC identified a young mother and her 5 yr old son living in very difficult living conditions. This impressive young mother is determined to improve her son’s life and provide him with devoted parenting and provide safe living conditions…giving him every possible opportunity to focus on his studies and improving their quality of life. CAC has been very moved and impressed by this woman’s’ hard work, determination and her devotion to her child. We have now recruited some very talented carpenters and laborers and we will be doing a complete makeover of an apartment and providing many new furnishings … what an exciting and rewarding project. Dan McKenzie is taking charge of this project … Dan is of 2nd generation of our family members (our kids)…we are so proud!
Shoeboxes For Seniors
Many seniors living in the affected regions of rural Belarus are destitute and lacking in basic hygiene items.
The Shoeboxes for Seniors committee has been in full swing packing and receiving products, since early spring, for our delivery in March. Over 700 boxes have been lovingly packed with essential items; toothbrushes, paste, soap, hand creams, small towels etc. These boxes are hand delivered by Social Service and are overwhelmingly accepted. Spearheaded by Colleen Gray.
Quilts for Chernobyl
Once again, our quilters have been hard at work creating beautiful hand-made quilts for our orphans and impoverished children. This March, we will have the pleasure of presenting over 100 quilts … lots of excited and happy children. What a wonderful gift for a child! Spearheaded by Mary Bernard.
Thanks for reviewing our initiatives and feel free to help us raise these funds for these important projects anyway you can. Share this with family and friends, click the “donate now” button, mail us a cheque or drop off a donation at Alan Brown’s in downtown Brockville. Thanks to all of our supporters, together we are making a tremendous difference!