Dnipro Kids Update – August 2018


It’s been a busy few months for us at Dnipro Kids and, as always, there have been lots of exciting things going on including birthday trips and the children’s adventure in the Carpathians.

Holiday in the Carpathians

The kids had long been dreaming about this trip and, after many months of anticipation, their dreams became a reality. With bags packed and excitement level at 100% their train journey west of Dnipro to the Carpathian mountains began on April 2.

The children and their orphanage parents occupied two train cars, with the kids happily playing and chatting with each other, and the parents relaxing with a good few cups of tea.

It also happened to be the birthday of Yura, one of the orphanage dads. Yura said he had never spent a birthday on a train before but it was a new and exciting experience for him, which he thoroughly enjoyed. By 10pm and the train journey in full swing the kids were all in bed sleeping, probably dreaming about the Carpathians!

The train arrived in Lviv at 8.45am the next morning and, after everyone had filled their bellies with breakfast, they hopped on buses to Pylypets where they were to spend the following two nights.

On arrival, it was already lunchtime and after a bite to eat the kids were keen not to waste a moment.

Their adventure began with a chair-lift ride to the top of the Carpathian mountains. It was something the children and their orphanage parents had never experienced before.


They found it to be a scary yet exilirating experience, which they all enjoyed tremendously.


After a fun mountain ride everyone had a lovely walk to Shypit waterfall, and enjoyed a delicious dinner.


On the third day of the trip the children woke to a gloriously sunny and beautiful morning and we were able to enjoy the stunning view of mountain.


After breakfast everyone boarded the buses and were on the move again. The first stop of the day was Kelechin where the kids and their orphanage parents got the chance to taste a unique mineral water.



Next up, was a visit to a rehabilitation centre for brown bears. The National Natural Park ‘Synevyr’ is located in the Mezhgorsky district of Transcarpathia and is the largest brown bear rehab centre in Eastern Europe. Until 2017 it was the only centre of its kind in Ukraine.


Every brown bear here receives individual rehabilitation after being abused by their previous private owners. Some bears still have old habits and continue to perform various tricks learned prior to moving to the rehab centre to experience a more peaceful life.

The kids’ next stop was at Lake Synevir – the most famous and largest lake in the Ukrainian Carpathians.

Located in the upper reaches of the Tereblya River in the Mizhgirya district, it covers about five hectares and is 989 metres above sea level. The maximum depth is 24 metres.

Scientists estimate that the lake formed about 10,000 years ago and, in 2008, it was recognised as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Ukraine.

The lake is now rich with trout, at least partially due to a ban on fishing.


And, even though it was still early spring and the lake was a little bit frozen, the kids really enjoyed its beauty.

After their walk they were all ready to have lunch so it was time to visit a traditional restaurant where they got to taste typical Carpathian cuisine.


After their meal, the children had some time to rest and found a musical instrument called a trembita to play with.

A century ago this tube without holes, made of larch or spruce, was used like today’s telephone. When an urgent message had to be sent far and wide over the mountains, trembita players climbed high to the top of the nearest mountain and played tunes now famous throughout the Carpathian villages. The sound of the trembita can be heard 10km away.


Each tune had its own significance and the message, carried over long distances, was immediately understood – be it a warning of danger or a cause for rejoicing.

At 3pm everyone boarded the bus again and headed to Kolochava village, located in a valley surrounded by mountains offering beautiful vistas, clean air, a gorgeous river and mineral water.

This is in the Synevyr National Nature Park, which is also home to the ‘Old Village open-air Museum’ of Folk Architecture and Rural Life. Here, the children could explore houses and other buildings from years gone by.


There were buildings that had belonged to different sections of the population in terms of their wealth: the poor, middle class and the village chief; as well as kinds of activities: shepherds, lumberjacks, millers and cobblers.

The kids really enjoyed this gorgeous place but it was soon time for them to leave, head back to their accommodation for dinner and rest up for the following day’s activities.


In the morning, they packed their bags and, right after breakfast, said goodbye to Pylypets and travelled to the Palace Schoenborn. Built in 1890-95 and located close to Mukachevo, it is a truly unique piece of architecture. There are exactly 365 windows, 52 rooms and 12 doors. The architect was clearly a big fan of calendars! At the front of the castle there is a pond, the shape of which resembles the borders of the Austro-Hungarian Empire at that time.



The kids loved the palace’s beauty and enjoyed walking around the area, where they discovered numerous frogs by the pond.

After lunch, it was time to visit pride of Mukachevo city, Palanok Castle. Built atop a 68 metre high hill it towers over the valley of the Latorytsa River. The oldest part of the castle – the upper castle – was built in the 15th century, while on the terraces beneath it – the middle and lower castles – were erected in the middle of the 17th century. Bastions surround each castle, and there are fortified gates leading to the middle and lower castles, with bridges crossing wide moats. Mukachevo’s castle has proved to be an impenetrable fortress over the centuries and, to this day, it remains the only unconquered part of the Transcarpathian area.


The kids were engrossed by the castle guides’ tales and said they could have happily stayed there all day listening to their stories. But it was soon time to excitedly hop back on the bus and set off for Lviv.


It was rather late by the time the kids arrived at the hotel, so after check-in and dinner they headed off to bed to get some rest.

Upon waking, the children were greeted by a drizzly morning but it couldn’t dampen their spirits. A quick bite to eat and then they were off on a tour of the city.

The first stop was St.Yura Cathedral – a big old church with stunning architecture, a wonderful interior and fabulous surroundings.

The second stop was at The House of Scientists. This building was originally built in the early 1900s when Austria was in control of the area. The property is heated by fireplaces on the ground floor but clever architecture allows the air to be well circulated and easily heat up the rooms upstairs.



The woodwork is phenomenal and the staircase is magnificent. There is even a small fountain outside the games room that was previously used to dispense champagne. All of the older girls mentioned that it was the most beautiful place they have ever seen.

Afterwards, they split into two groups and visited a museum. They didn’t have much time before they were due to catch their train, but they also quickly walked through a market square straight to the Lviv chocolate workshop.

After they had lunch and were sorted out with meal boxes in Kryva Lypa for the journey, it was time for them to leave and say goodbye to this beautiful city.

The kids love to travel! They got on a train at 3.20pm but the games, eating and fun was non-stop until 10pm. Everyone enjoyed this trip a great deal and the children are all very thankful to those who made this dream of visiting the Carpathians come true.

Birthday trip

On May 24, we had a birthday outing for all the kids whose birthdays fall between April and June. All the children wanted to go to bowling so we made their wishes come true.

They were divided into two teams – children from the Ionova family orphanage in one lane and children from the Hasanskaya and Sobolev orphanages in another. Even the smaller kids enjoyed the game, even though they struggled to keep the balls out of the gutter.


After the game, all the kids were happy and hungry and ready to go eat something special – and get their birthday presents from Dnipro Kids.

They never go to McDonald`s so it was a bit of a treat for them to go there and get happy meals with cute toy animals.


All of the children enjoyed their french fries and cheeseburgers, especially those who had never even heard of happy meals. For desert they all got cherry pies, then it was time for them to receive their birthday gifts.

Timur had asked for an MP3 player with headphones.

Yura got a portable speaker that he had been dreaming of for a long time.

Masha got a suitcase for future adventures.

Tonya had wanted a new handbag.

Masha received watercolour paints, a paint brush and special paper for her art lessons.

Sasha and Maksim had asked for building kits.


And Yulia received beautiful pink trainers.

It was a wonderful, happy day for our birthday kids and we thank you all so much for making it possible.

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Many thanks,

Steven Carr.