Dnipro Kids Update – April 2016

April was a busy but extremely fruitful month for Dnipro Kids. It was a month in which our supporters helped us to raise a staggering £1,119.70 at our Easter Road turnstile collection at the Hibs v Rangers game on April 21. A huge ‘thank you’ to everyone who volunteered to shake the collection buckets for us and, of course, to everyone who threw some cash into those buckets.

dnipro collectors
dnipro girl
dnipro boy

It was also a month in which our committee members, Stevie Carr and Duncan MacRae, traveled to Dnipro to visit six orphanage foster homes – the Sobolyev, Puzir, Ionova, Hasanskaya, Igren and Svyatkova families.

We’re delighted to report that all of the children are being cared for exceptionally well and are all very happy. Even children who have recently joined these orphanage families are settling in well and are loving life with their new brothers and sisters. It’s amazing to see how all the kids help to care for each other, and credit has to go to the orphanage foster parents, who are giving the children all the love and support they need.

During our visits to the various homes we talked to the children about their hobbies and what they most love to spend their time doing. Football, dancing, singing, acrobatics, drawing, playing instruments and playing with pets were among the favourites. And some of the children even put on a show for us, to show not just how much they loved their hobbies – but how good they are at them!


One of the boys, Sasha, very kindly gifted this beautiful hand-carved spoon to Dnipro Kids chairman Stevie Carr. Sasha had produced it in an after-school wood shop class. So, does he want to be a carpenter when he leaves school? No, he wants to be a chef!


One of the first activities we organised for the orphanage children in April was a bowling trip, plus pizza, for all the orphanage children. The kids all had a great time, although the bowling alley staff seemed a little overwhelmed by the number of children!

bowling 1
bowling 2

Kharkov Trip

While over in Ukraine we also treated the kids to a two-day excursion to Kharkov, the country’s second largest city. Kharkov was a bumpy three hour coach journey away from Dnipro but the long journey didn’t phase the kids, who were far too excited about the trip and managed find plenty to keep themselves occupied throughout the journey.


Hundreds of pot holes later and we had reached the Sun Light Hotel where we were to spend the night.


The luxurious hotel boasted the Plato restaurant, which kept the children well fed during our stay…


There was also a health and beauty centre with massage services vailable, a gym, sauna and games room….

But the real beauty of this hotel was that is part of a fantastic waterpark – the Aquapark Jungle recreation complex. After checking into our rooms we wasted no time getting into the water.

waterpark pic
waterpark pic 1
swimming pool
waterpark pic 2

The waterpark was huge – 11,000m2 with lots of different swimming pools to suit kids of all different ages. The younger children had a great time in the smaller kids pool, playing on the waterslide and splashing around under a waterfall, while the older kids headed for the more adventurous big flumes and diving boards. There was even a wave machine and water aerobics class.

After spending the whole afternoon in the waterpark it was time for a bite to eat then to retire to the rooms, recharging the batteries in preparation for the following day’s excursions.


Day two began with a visit to Shevchenko park in the centre of Kharkiv. The kids were particular intrigued by the statues in the area. For example, the Shevchenko statue chronicles the historical fight for freedom of the Ukrainian people through the ages. And Nike, the Goddess of victory.


And a huge football statue, which serves as a reminder of Euro 2012. The Metalist Stadium is Kharkov hosted three Group B matches in the tournament. Netherlands v Denmark, Netherlands v Germany and Portugal v Netherlands.

After the kids got their fill of culture, it was time for something a little bit different – a visit to the puppet museum a t Kharkov’s Puppet Theatre! There were all sorts of weird and wonderful puppets on display, some of which the kids got hands-on with.


The staff were particularly great with the kids, explaining all the stories behind each of the puppets. There are apparently about 10,000 puppet exhibits so I’m not sure we quite managed to see them all in our short visit.


Then, it was on to Kharkov Zoo. Founded in 1895, it is one of the oldest zoos in Europe and, covering an area of 22 hectares, it has plenty of room for the animals. And there are lots of them.


The animals collection includes more than 400 species of fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals, some of which are rare and form part of 13 international breeding programs. Most of the kids were desperate to see the brown bears but when we asked one boy which animal he loved the most he didn’t hesitate to answer – the Shetland pony!


It was then time to head back to Dnipro. The kids loved their trip to Kharkov and spent the journey back home talking about everything they had seen and done. Needless to say, they wish there was a waterpark in Dnipro!

Following our trip to Kharkov, Dnipro Kids treated the parents of the family orphanages to a full spa day at the Dnipro’s Tsunami Spa Centre. These people do so much for the orphanage children in their care that we they deserved a special day for just them.

The centre is full of various spa, sauna, steam rooms, aromatherapy rooms, a salt room, jacuzzis and relaxation areas. Dnipro Kids laid on a delicious three course lunch in the afternoon, and we also arranged for a full body massage and Russian ‘venik’ massage for the parents.

One parent said “every day we are parents and we look after the children as best we can, but today I feel like someone that can afford something. Today I am someone special and I can’t thank Dnipro Kids enough!” We told him that they are special every day!

War Children Trip To Edinburgh

In other news, we have been working in conjunction with other children’s charities in Ukraine, to arrange a summer holiday in Edinburgh for dozens of children affected by the war in Eastern Ukraine. These children tend to be those whose dads have sadly died in action. We had been hoping to make this happen in June but, due to difficulties in arranging visas, it looks like we may have to postpone until September. We will bring you further updates regarding this in the very near future.

The negotiations and plans have been somewhat time consuming but we edge ever-closer to turning this idea into reality. We hope to be able to provide more details on this in the very near future.

More posts

All news