The Firefly Project, Ukraine

[pink]Written by Larisa Enikeeva, Firefly Project Manager[/pink]

We are international volunteers called “The Firefly Project” working under the umbrella of Family Care Foundation, an organization of individuals and families who have devoted their lives and full time to serving those in need. We are involved in a number of social, educational and humanitarian projects and are committed to making the world a better and happier place.

Please visit our international website at www.thefamilycare.org for a comprehensive look at our goals and activities.

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The Firefly Project, Ukraine

Here in Kyiv, we have been involved with various projects helping institutions for the underprivileged children, and we are convinced that while different businesses and individuals are aware of the need for material assistance for such places, there is also a great need for educational development, personal attention, moral support, and character training for these children, which is often overlooked.

So, we have developed a series of fun and meaningful programs with puppet shows, clown skits, lively songs and games, to help provide a positive moral input and training for these children, and would like to invest in this way into the future of this country.

It’s also been our dream to help the children in various orphanages to learn English because it will ensure better jobs and more opportunities in life for them.

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Because of the nature of our commitment and the fact that we are fulltime volunteers, we depend a great deal on the support and help of civic-minded people and businesses who make our work and our projects possible, so we started looking for different options of teaching English that will be effective and not so costly as for example hiring private tutors which is a common practice here.

My friend and sister-in-law Pearl Watson-Renaud recommended exploring BrillKids since her kids are learning from it and are making tremendous progress. We wrote in with a request to assist us in our educations endeavors. Our request was met with much enthusiasm and KL kindly sent us the necessary amount of material on a complimentary basis.

As a mother I am very excited about teaching Little Reader to as many as possible starting with my own son, who is 7 months old and has been going through it for a month now.

So this March we launched our educational program in cooperation with BrillKids in the following institutions:

Firefly volunteer center
(currently teaching full time 3 children of our volunteers ages 7mos-2 years, another 6 older ones benefit from occasional classes)

“Friends House” orphanage in Pesky, Chernigiv region,
Ukraine (teaching 15 kids ages 6-15)
Two more orphanages in Kyiv have requested our help with teaching their kids English – we are planning on bringing them the program in the upcoming days.

Another good effect of bringing Little Reader to the orphanages is that we are able to involve young Ukrainians who want to do some volunteer service and have some knowledge of English in helping to run the programs in the orphanages.

The first orphanage we installed the Little Reader at is a small village orphanage that has 15 kids (ages 6-15). It’s located about 100km away from Kyiv in a place called Pesky, Chernigiv region.

The children there are very sweet and each one has a story to tell about their families and how they came about to live in that orphanage. Actually most of them have parents but they are abusive alcoholics or drug addicts., so the kids have been brought to the orphanage. Some of the kids have been picked from the streets where they were living in boxes and literally taken care of by dogs.

We have known and assisted this orphanage for about 3 years now. My husband and other volunteers have been helping this orphanage with some renovations – this time tiling the bathroom floors (putting wallpapers before and wall tiling). I came along and spend the day installing and explaining the Little Reader which they loved right away and didn’t want to stop!

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Learning English is very instrumental for them whether they will grow up in Ukraine or will be adopted internationally.

Another orphanage we are going to install the program at part of a rehabilitation center for adults. While adults are receiving the therapy, the kids are placed in the orphanage. Some times it works to brings the families back together, most of the time it’s not so easy…

Children’s Hope orphanage has 16 kids ages 4-16 – all very bright, kind individuals regardless of the tough situations they come from. Firefly has been helping them on and off for the past two years.

When I presented the idea of learning English through Little Reader they were very excited about it, so that’s our next destination.

One more place is a Home for Abandoned Babies under the age of 4 – there are about 100 of them there. (Very sad!) The staff there is very good with early learning and just asked us to find sponsors for Doman’s flash cards in Russian and Ukrainian for them, which we thankfully did!

When I was there talking to the main teacher, I told them about LR but they are convinced that computers are not good for kids, however would love to use the physical flash cards…

Too bad because we even had someone promise to donate a few computers for that cause… We will see, maybe they will come along once they actually see the program. Otherwise, it would very very good to get a few sets of flash cards for them (they need 9 since that’s how many groups the kids are divided into). We are currently looking for sponsors for that.

We are very thankful to KL and the BrillKids staff for donating the programs to our work – it’s a very generous act of kindness that will go a long way here in Ukraine.

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[pink]The Firefly Project[/pink]

Project No: E29
Project Managers: Larisa Enikeeva, Lois and George Champ
Contact Info: firefly.kyiv@gmail.com
Website: www.familycare.org/network/firefly-project/