Dnipro Kids Update – October 2016 (Part 1)

Important Facebook Change

For those of you who follow the fortunes of Dnipro Kids via our Facebook page we have an important announcement. In line with Facebook rules regarding profiles belonging to people rather than organisations, we will be closing the main profile and using a Facebook community page for future updates. In order to receive future Facebook updates you will need to go to the page (link below) and click on the ‘Like’ button. Be sure to share the page with your friends as well.



The October Update is going to concentrate on the big September trip that was organised for the children from the orphanages. As so much happened during the four-day trip we will be providing this update in three parts to try and get as many amazing photos in as we can.

The report has been written by Ian McDonald, a long term child sponsor, who travelled to Ukraine to be involved in the trip. Ian is an Aberdeen supporter, who travelled to Dnipro in 2007 when Aberdeen were drawn against FC Dnipro. He was one of the main organisers in the Aberdeen support that replicated the Hibernian supporters’ trip to the Predniprovsk TB Sanatorium with gifts for the children, and has closely followed the work of Dnipro Kids ever since. Ian has often mentioned he would like to revisit the city and the new orphanages, and a change in his job situation meant that he was finally able to do this in September.

Firstly though, lets have a look at some of the activities we have funded over the past couple of months…

Ukrainian Children Of War Project

This project has been completed, and was a huge success. Some of you may have seen the Facebook/Twitter updates during the trip and, if you did, we hope you enjoyed them. There will be an update on the visit to Scotland of the children in our next update (once we have managed to sift through the thousands of photos taken).

We are still unsure at this point whether there will be a repeat of the project in the future, although if the funding could be secured there’s no reason why it couldn’t be done again.

Easter Road Turnstile Collection

A huge thank you to Jackie Stark for organising this, and to all the volunteers that turned up to shake a bucket. The success of turnstile collections is directly dependent on the number of volunteers that turn up, and for this one we actually had every single collection bucket in use. We even had Dundee United supporter Duncan Reid, and his daughter Shaunie, shaking buckets at the away end!


The outcome was we managed to collect an amazing £2,200!!

This is almost double what we managed to collect at our previous collection so a huge thank you to everyone involved.

September Trip

Written by Ian McDonald.

Day 1

A few weeks back, I decided I was going to return to the city of Dnipropetrovsk, now simply called Dnipro as part of a de-sovietisation programme.

I had been there previously, nine years earlier, when Aberdeen played FC Dnipro in the Europa League play-off. Prior to that trip I was introduced to the Dnipro Kids charity for the first time by Steven Carr, and undertook to help a little bit during the football trip. I was part of a team that organised presents and sweets for the kids at the TB Sanatorium, which we visited during our trip.

While there I had also met up with charity volunteer Ira Polyashova and her daughter, Natalie.


Nine years on and I am finally able to return, so I contacted Steven to ask if it was ok with the charity for me to visit again. Steven said they would be very grateful for assistance in an upcoming excursion for the kids, so I went ahead and booked the flights.

On September 5, I started my full day of travel leaving Aberdeen for Dnipro at the crack of dawn, on to Amsterdam for a connection to Kiev, a second connection from Kiev to Dnipro, and finally arriving in Dnipro around 9pm.

I asked both KLM and Ukrainian International Airways about allowing me an extra bag on the flights, and after getting a positive response I nipped into AFC Community Trust to ask if they could help out. The Trust were excellent and provided me with two large bags of child size football kits to take over.


I arrived in Dnipro airport on the evening of Monday September 5 and was collected by Natalie and her daughter Dominica. Sadly Natalie’s mother, Ira, passed away last year, but it was nice to see a new mother and daughter team carrying on the work, even if Dominica is only four years old.

We loaded the bags into the taxi to drop off at Natalie’s apartment before heading into the city to meet up with Steven who, like any true football fan, was sitting in a bar watching the Ukraine v Iceland World Cup qualifier. After watching the game we headed to the nearby apartment where we’d be based for the next couple of days. Upon arrival I was well warned to keep all the windows shut, with Steven explaining about being eaten non stop the night before by local mosquitoes!

Day 2

The following morning we had some spare time, so Steven gave me a tour around Dnipro. Things have changed so much since I was last there. The square has been totally tidied up and modernised. The fountain has disappeared and new shopping centres have sprung up. The McDonalds is still there though!


We had a lengthy walk around the city, passing the old Dnepropetrovsk Hotel the Aberdeen fans had stayed in, and along the river.


During the walk we discovered a new, and pretty hard hitting, exhibition that was set up next to the National History Museum. It was a few exhibits that had been taken from the front line of the war that’s currently ongoing in the east of Ukraine. It seemed a million miles from where we were, but it is just a through hour drive away!


At around 3pm we headed off to visit one of the new style of home orphanages. These are now replacing the large orphanages that we visited back in 2007. As we were driving around the streets, struggling to find the house, Steven spotted little Timur standing at the edge of the road waiting to greet us with a huge smile on his face. He jumped into the taxi and guided us to his home.

Once we arrived there, we were met by orphanage ‘parents’ Yuri and Luda and some of the younger children. The older children were on their way back from school and started arriving shortly afterwards.


Yuri had the hardest handshake I have felt in a very long time, and then I discovered that he used to lift weights in his earlier days. That should have been very obvious with the handshake!

We were shown around the home by Yuri, who explained about all the work that had been doing to the home to expand it from three to seven bedrooms allowing them to home 10 kids. I was very impressed with the work he had done to the home personally, as well as the gym area he had built for the older kids to work out inside.


The commitment towards giving the children a better life was there for everyone to see and it really was excellent to witness first hand. One of the things that sticks out from my first orphanage visit in 2007 was how many children slept in the same large rooms. But here the bedrooms that Yuri had built ensured that no more than two kids were sharing a room.

He had also converted a shed at the back of the house into a clothes store.


You can imagine the amount of space that clothes for 10 kids takes up, so this allowed them to store clothes for winter wear, summer wear, and for passing down as kids grew.


He was in the process of building a new outbuilding to be used for the older kids to move into after they had left the orphanage home. Sort of a ‘halfway home’, while they got themselves settled into university or a new job. It would have its own kitchen and bathroom to allow the kids to be more independent prior to them moving out totally.


The difference from what I remember of the first orphanage to this ‘family orphanage’ was like night and day.

After the visit to the Hasanskaya orphanage we were picked up by Sergei to visit his home. Sergei and his wife, Nadiya, had just taken in four orphaned brothers and wanted us to visit their home with a view to becoming part of the Dnipro Kids charity. They lived close by so it didn’t take long to get there. We met Nadiya and their parents, who stayed there, and were introduced to the four brothers Sasha (11), Kiril (7), Danil (5) and little Vova (3).

The boys were very happy in their new surroundings, and it was nice to see their faces light up when presented with a gift of a football strip and football from Dnipro Kids. Although little Vova was a bit impatient about it getting it blown up!


What was also visible was the love that Sergei and Nadiya, and the grandparents, were ready to give to these boys. They had even given up their own bedroom for the boys and converted a rear hallway for themselves. Steven has since confirmed that this family orphanage will now become the seventh family orphanage to join the Dnipro Kids charity.

We returned to Yuri and Luda’s place for a delicious dinner of borscht and bread, salad and BBQ meat. The meringues and cake offered afterwards had to be left by me, although one Dnipro Kids representative managed to try both, eh Steven?


Afterwards we wished everyone goodbye and headed back to the apartment in Dnipro where we were met by Duncan MacRae and Dnipro Kids representative Irina Klus. Dnipro Kids committee member Duncan had just arrived from London and been collected at the airport by Irina.


There was no time to rest though, as an evening of bowling had been planned for the orphanages. It was primarily to try to help me with the names of some of the kids, but as their names were in Russian Cyrillic on the bowling screens it was a bit of a struggle! The bowling went great but I was struggling with the names of the kids in my team, let alone the other families there. I was hoping it would get easier as the trip progressed.


The kids all seemed very polite, although were initially shy towards me. They did all seem very happy though, and were enjoying their night out. Afterwards we took over the whole of the bowling rink café and the kids were treated to pizza, juice and chocolate desserts, which went down very well.


With a big train journey ahead of us the next day, and the family orphanages needing to finish off their packing, we all said “do zaftra” (until tomorrow) and headed home.

To be continued …

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If you don’t make a monthly donation but would still like to contribute towards our fundraising efforts, you can details about donating here.

Many thanks.

Steven Carr.

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