January 2014 update

Short review of 2013

Last year was very much a time for change in Dnipropetrovsk, and changes that very much affected Dnipro Kids. The governmental changes that saw the larger orphanages being replaced by smaller foster homes had everyone involved with the charity working overtime, and saw some changes to the organisation of the charity.

The closure of the Odinkovka and Tabachnaya orphanages saw the movement of all our sponsored children to either foster homes or the Topolinaya orphanage. This made things very difficult for Dnipro Kids to provide as many of the individual updates on the sponsored children as we’d been able to previously. The Child Sponsorship Scheme is the backbone of the Dnipro Kids charity and without it we would not be able to do half of the things that we currently can. The disruption to individual updates may last for another couple of months, while things get the chance to settle down after the Christmas holidays, but we hope to have it back on track as soon as possible.

Turnstile Collection

The Dnipro Appeal has been given permission to carry out a bucket collection at the Hibernian v Dundee United match on Friday the 28th of February. For this to be a success we need as many volunteers as possible to shake a bucket at the turnstiles for around 40 minutes prior to the game. The game is scheduled for an 7.45pm kick-off and buckets can be collected from 6.30pm onwards adjacent to the club shop.

I cannot stress enough how important these collections are to the charity funds and how much of a contribution volunteers make to the ongoing efforts of the Dnipro Appeal charity. The average amount each volunteer collects is usually around £100 so the more volunteers we can get the more funds.

If you are able to help out then please contact me directly and I will provide further details.


Christmas Celebrations

It may seem a bit strange to be getting a Christmas update in January but in Ukraine Christmas is historically celebrated on the 7th of January, and many still have New Year celebrations on the 14th of January.

In previous years we have provided pantomime trips for the kids, but pantomime doesn’t seem as popular in Ukraine, as it is here, and it can often prove difficult to get the quality performance that we might expect here in the UK. This year we set our helpers in Ukraine the task of finding an alternative event for the children, and they did themselves proud. As well as a circus trip, for the foster home kids, we organised a big Christmas Dinner event. I’ve provided reports and photos from the events further down in this update.

Ira tells us that the events were a great success, especially the Christmas Dinner, and it is hoped that the venue can actually be utilised in the future for other celebrations.

Christmas Circus Trip 

At the larger orphanages they usually have a celebration event organised, and supported by the local administration, for the children at the orphanage itself. It is a bit harder for the foster home parents to provide a home event like this, so this year we organised an additional Christmas event specifically for the smaller foster homes.

Ira informed us that there was a Christmas Circus on, at the main circus building next to the river, and suggested that we take all the foster home children there. It seemed like an excellent alternative to a pantomime trip so we invited all the children and foster parents to come.


The circus acts were as you might expect .. acrobats, flame-throwers, trapeze, tight-rope, performing dogs .. but they had a Christmas theme to them. Unfortunately we were not allowed to take any photographs of the performances but Ira tells us that the kids absolutely loved it!


After the circus performance everyone was given a big bag of sweets and a small Christmas gift from Dnipro Kids .. including the foster parents.


Christmas Dinner

The next event to be organised was a Christmas Dinner Event for all of the orphanage children from the Topolinaya orphanage and all the foster home kids, and there were even some spare spaces available to invite some other small orphanages in the city. We have tried a number of times previously to try and organise an event like this but had never managed to find the venue and entertainment to be able to make it happen. Through a fair bit of luck this year we actually managed to find both, and at a very good price. This type of event would normally have been well out of our price range but after discussions with the venue management, and the event company, they did everything at for us at a hugely discounted price. Hopefully the photos below will show how nice the venue was, how good the entertainment was and more importantly how much the kids enjoyed themselves.

We were able to provide funding for 120 children for this event, which meant that we not only had room for all the children that we normally support but were also able to put some invites out to one or two other homes. We put out an invite to the Barvinok Shelter for disabled children and also to two other foster homes housing 17 kids.

Once we knew who was coming to this special event we moved on to organising transport to ensure that everyone made it there safely. Minibuses were sent to the foster homes and the Barvinock Shelter with a larger bus organised to collect all the kids from the Topolinaya Orphanage. Everyone arrived safely on the day.

The event itself took place in a fancy banquet hall on the outskirts of Dnipropetrovsk. It was only after seeing the photos from Ira that I managed to finally get a feel for the event, and how lucky we had actually been. I dread to think how much they would normally have charged for such an event!

The children were greeted in the hall by Ira and a huge polar bear, and lots of helpers dressed cartoon characters. The characters ushered them to their tables for their meals, and were on hand throughout to help and entertain.


The banquet hall looked fantastic. Everything was brightly lit, tables and chairs with lovely white coverings and decorations all round the hall.


Everyone had a lovely meal, as well as a plate of nice fruit and a big glass of apple juice. Tables were also invited up to a couple of specially prepared photograph areas, to have some fun photos taken. The photographer will be printing off every photo taken and presenting them to each person in the group as a momentum of the event.


Pretty soon everyone was making their way down to the main stage ready for the entertainment. Wee ones at the front, big kids (or adults, as they sometimes get called) at the back.


Minnie and Mickey Mouse introduced the acts, and also starred in a Christmas Tale in between the acts. There was a story that involved a massive caterpillar (I think), then the Christmas Tale, and finally a magician and some very large bubbles!


At the end of the show the front of the stage exploded with shredded paper and the kids all rushed forward to play in the “pretend snow”. The cartoon characters were joined by some pretty big, and possibly a little scary looking, “Transformers” and they all had a fantastic time throwing the paper around.


Ira tells us that the kids were so excited at the end that it took quite a while to clear the hall and get them back on their buses. As they boarded the bus Ira, and her helpers, presented each of the kids with a nice big bag of sweets.


Everyone went home happy!

TB Sanatorium

Of course, Christmas would not be Christmas for Dnipro Kids without a visit to Vasily and his staff at the TB Sanatorium. The staff and children love the chance to dress up and put a show on, and there is often months of practice that goes into each one. Dnipro Kids are always VIP guests at these events and it’s excellent to see the kids so excited and enjoying themselves so much.

Six months ago we visited the TB Sanatorium and amongst the many toys and games that we provided for them there was also a lot of brightly coloured cloths and fabrics for their art and craft classes. Much of the cloths and fabrics donated had been transformed into fantastic outfits that the kids couldn’t wait to show off at the Christmas Show.


There were about ten different shows performed by the kids. Singing, dancing, poems, Christmas tales, funny sketches and of course an appearance from Santa Claus!


At the end of the show Ira took the stage to say a huge thank you from Dnipro Kids for the invite and then handed out a lovely box of sweets to each of the kids.


After everyone had made their way back to their classrooms Ira made a further visit and provided each of the classes with some new study books for the coming term. The teachers were very grateful and said a huge thank you to Ira and Dnipro Kids, the children not so happy but one or two still managed a smile for the photos!


Child Sponsorship

It has been a very difficult year in Ukraine for Dnipro Kids, with children being moved from one orphanage to another and also many moved to “foster” homes. We have had to concentrate all our efforts in following the tracks of these kids and trying to forge good relations with new orphanages and foster homes.

Because of this we apologise that there has not been as many of “individual” updates that you may have been used to in the past. (The exception to this is of course the birthday trips, where we still try and provide a more individual update with additional photos and details on their gifts.) We hope to rectify this, and get back on track, once there is a bit more stability in Ukraine, although given the recent events in Kiev it’s difficult to guess as to when that might be.

Of course, the upheaval and the uncertainty that this is causing means that your support, and the funded events, are now more important than ever to these kids. This means that your Child Sponsorship donation is needed more than ever as we try to provide as much as we can, and as many funded events as possible.

If you would like an update on the current situation involving your sponsored child, and where they currently are, then please email me directly and I will try to update you with as much information as I can.

For details about joining the Child Sponsorship scheme please email me directly steven@dniprokids.com

Visit the Facebook page and add Dnipro Kids to your friends list.



Steven Carr,

Dnipro Appeal Committee.

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