Children and Society

Children and Society

The program "Children and Society" is aimed at the socialization of children studying in boarding schools, as well as at helping children with health related disabilities in medical and social rehabilitation.

Projects in the framework of the Program "Children and Society":

  • The project "Adaptation of children of Family-based Centers to the conditions of life in the family and society"
  • The project "Comprehensive support of children and teenagers with mental disabilities living in South of Moscow region"
  • The project "Friendship without Borders" is an individual mentoring for children in difficult life situation"
  • The project "Program of social adaptation with elements of canis therapy “A dog is a friend to a man"
  • The project "Social adaptation of students and graduates of the boarding schools and orphanages “Look at me as an equal”
  • The project "Summer camps for children with health related disabilities"
  • The project "Program of comprehensive social rehabilitation of disabled children, disabled adults and their families"
  • The Conference "Career guidance and employment of people with mental and other disabilities"
  • Day of Career Guidance at Hewlett Packard Enterprise

The project "Adaptation of children of Family-based Centers to the conditions of life in the family and society"

In Kolomna city, located near Moscow, there is an organization for children with mental disabilities. These are children with mental disabilities, orphans and kids left without parental care, or children who live in a family and visit the Center every day. Some of them still remember their mother and father left them. Someone was transferred from the orphanage, which means that they were refused in the maternity hospital. There are 400 children (271 children live there permanently, the rest of them live there just five days a week) in the organization, 187 of them participate in the social adaptation program.

Most of the children need health and medical care, as well as rehabilitation with a psychologist, socialization classes. Until 18 years old, if they are not adopted, they live in the orphanage. And then they will have an independent adult life. How they will cope in their adult life is a complicated question, because they need to learn a lot. We are talking about the skills called "self-service and economic-household skills". In other words, this is the ability to wash dishes, do shopping, pay for products, cook, iron and so on. They seem to be such elementary things. But if a child does not have the experience of family life, he cannot learn from the example of parents the simplest household habits and skills. Pupils of the boarding school are shown by the teachers in special classes; they cannot learn all this from anywhere.

Our Foundation has financed the arrangement of a room for self-service and household skills development classes in Kolomensky orphanage. The room is furnished in an apartment type with furniture and equipment. Everything looks like in a usual flat. A space has been created for training children with disabilities with sanitary and household skills, to prepare them for further independent living. Here the children learn how to do cleaning, use household products, iron clothes, learn safety rules, wash floors, clean windows and so on. In addition, they go to a supermarket, learn to choose food, pay for it, and cook simple food.

In the process of training, most of the children went to the supermarket and bought some food first time. Without such activities, children cannot find out what it's like to live in an apartment on your own, do something by yourself, who to ask for help if needed.

The project "Comprehensive support of children and teenagers with mental disabilities living in South of Moscow region"

Families with autism children face the problem of systemic professional work with them. Often they are in social isolation, the society is not ready for active interaction with children having special characteristics. After the child is diagnosed with an unfavorable diagnosis, the life of the family and all its members begins to take place in a chronic psychotraumatic situation. Often this is accompanied by a partial or even complete loss of family contacts with a familiar social environment.

The solution for many families is to join a local parents’ organization that consolidates such families and creates space for the experience exchange and support. Therefore, the most important task is to support the families with disabled children and return them to the active lifestyle.

The Absolute-Help Charitable Foundation supported the project of the Moscow regional public organization LYUMOS on comprehensive support of children and teenagers with mental disabilities.

The LUMOS organization is a parents’ organization which purpose is to provide comprehensive support to the families with children and teenagers with mental disabilities. The organization unites families from several cities of the south of the Moscow region (Serpukhov, Pushchino, Chekhov, Protvino and other towns).

The organization also promotes the development of inclusive education, integration and adaptation of children and teenagers with disabilities into the social environment. It is social integration as the process of including a child with health related disabilities into the main spheres of human life in society (work, life, leisure). And it is perhaps the most urgent problem for almost all families with such children. Social integration also contributes to the education of tolerance to the problems of disabled people and the general development of communication culture in society.

In addition, the LYUMOS organization tries to use various advanced author's rehabilitation programs aimed at comprehensive psychological and pedagogical help to disabled children and to interact with various educational and cultural institutions in the cities of the South Moscow Region.

The project "Friendship without Borders" is an individual mentoring for children in difficult life situation"

Orphans and children left without parental care need close relationships with some people and friends. Our Foundation supported the mentoring project "Friendship without Borders" of “Big Brothers Big Sisters” Foundation, aimed at finding, training, supporting volunteers who want and are ready to provide social and personal mentor support to the pupils, the graduates of the Family Organization Centers, orphanages and boarding schools, children without parents.

As it is known, stable positive relationships with the closest environment is vitally necessary and directly related to the normal development of the human emotional sphere.

A volunteer-mentor becomes a role model for a child. He gives an example of realization of a social role in real society.

“Big Brothers Big Sisters” regularly comes to a child and communicates with him, worries about him and takes care of him, passes on his life experience, gives support, helps in the development. The studies conducted to analyze the effectiveness of the mentoring program showed the following positive results: 46% of children increased self-confidence, 45% of children became more independent, 36% of children became more sociable, 52% had clearer ideas about their future, 44 % of children has expanded the circle of social contacts, 42% of children have become more responsible for their duties, 33% of children have new hobbies, 51% of children have become more organized.

When selecting volunteers it’s important to pay attention primarily to the personal qualities, rather than to professional skills and abilities. The mandatory basic requirements are: the age of a potential volunteer is over 18 years old, no criminal background; living in the city (district) where the program is carried out. Also, the mentor should have the following qualities: the desire to give a child attention and care, to set an example for a child, the desire to make friends and help a child in development, support a child and the desire to build a trusting relationship with him.

Volunteer-mentors are responsible, balanced, with open and mature personalities, have patience, kindness towards people, a sense of humor, and who are willing to give their time to their Younger brother or sister for at least one year.

A person who wants to become a mentor must fill out an application, be interviewed and be psychological tested. Based on the results of the testing, a psychological portrait of the volunteer is drawn up and an analysis is conducted to identify mental abnormalities and problems that may prevent the volunteer from positive communicating with the child. Then you need to collect the necessary documents: letters of recommendation and references. The future mentor must be trained on preparatory program. After completing the preparatory training, the curator of the program selects the child most suitable for the volunteer-mentor. The creation of couples is carried out on the basis of the similarity of psychological characteristics, characters, hobbies and personal wishes. After acquaintance and mutual consent the volunteer and the child unite in pair. The next step is the signing of an agreement. The agreement is signed by a child, volunteer, parent / guardian and curator of the program, it is valid for one year. Throughout the period of the relationship, the program curator will provide a pair of any kind of assistance and support.

The project "Program of social adaptation with elements of canis therapy “A dog is a friend to a man"

Canis therapy is a psychotherapeutic technique, which has become more popular recently. It promotes the development of mental and emotional abilities, improvement of motor functions and motor skills. Specially trained dogs become not only friends of a child, but also real therapists. Dogs are selected according to the test for aggression and obedience. Animals are necessarily trained; they are also checked for empathy.

Our Foundation supported the project "A Dog is a friend to a man" in the Filimonkovsky orphanage. Pupils of this orphanage are orphans and children left without parental care. The kids have canis therapy classes several times a week and have already liked their animal friends. Children are looking forward to the next lesson. Canis therapy is indicated for children with disabilities who are diagnosed with mental damages, attention deficit and hyperactivity, various speech disorders, Down's syndrome and many others.

Classes with dogs give children a positive emotional mood, improve their communication opportunities. Touching animals, children with motor disorders relax, the muscle clamps waken. With dogs it is easy to conduct classes on the development of fine motor skills - combing, tying bows, making tails or clinging clothespins, putting on rings. In rehabilitation groups, children, interacting with the dogs, learn to control their emotions, behavior, develop emotional intelligence.

And if the children don’t like to read, then there is no better listener than a dog who catches every word from a children's book. Through the game with dogs, children with autism and communication problems, become more open to interaction. In this case, canis therapy can become one of the promising areas of psychological work with such children.

Canis therapy is an opportunity to show children that our world is not hostile and alien, but light, cozy and accepting. This is another way to surround children with care, warmth and attention. A similar project was launched on the basis of the Absolut boarding school, 16 children have already been taking part in it.

The project "Social adaptation of students and graduates of boarding schools and orphanages “Look at me as an equal”

There are more than 100 orphanages for children with mental disabilities in Russia. About 23 000 children live there. Despite public discussion of the problems of orphanages in Russia, boarding schools for children with severe mental disabilities still remain out of the discussions. Children get into such closed institutions by decision of the psychological, medical and pedagogical commissions, if experts believe that the child will never be able to live independently. For the kids themselves, this means that all their life will pass in isolation from that moment.

Pupils in psycho-neurological boarding schools rarely get the opportunity to participate in educational and social adaptation programs at available level. After they are 18, they have to move to boarding schools for adults, where young people live with single elderly people and people suffering from mental diseases. The only work available to them is on the territory of the boarding school and it is not paid in the most cases.

Orphanage in Belskoe Ustie is one of the institutions for children with mental disabilities. It’s the first one where positive changes have been observed in the long-term efforts of NGOs, volunteers and the administration. Now children with mental disorders at the age of 5 to 26 years old live there constantly. Among children there are both people with intellectual disabilities, as well as with mental disabilities, blindness and cystic fibrosis. But despite the progress made, the children living in the Belskoe Ustie remain isolated and, as before, communicate exclusively with the tutors and teachers of the orphanage. They have virtually no contact with anyone from the outside world. The Center for Equal Opportunities "Vverkh" initiated a project of volunteer camps for the children of this orphanage.

Our Foundation supported the project of a winter volunteer camp in the Orphanage in Belskoe Ustie, which took place during January holidays with the participation of 18 volunteers and 72 children from the orphanages and the boarding schools. Volunteer visits give every child in the orphanage opportunity to take part in development activities and socialize with new people.

Volunteers share their life experience differs from the daily life of children in the boarding school. They bring new ideas, which the employees of the orphanage can apply in their work. Staying in the camp gives each child the opportunity to communicate with new people, participate in developing classes, acquire new knowledge and skills (design classes, cooking, creative master classes and others).

The work done during the winter camp completes the result obtained during the summer camps, making the volunteer classes more productive. It includes help children to overcome isolation, improve their communicative skills, their quality of life.

The project "Summer camps for children with health related disabilities"

Growing up a child with health related disabilities requires a lot of costs and resources, so families with such children cannot always allow summer outdoor recreation in a safe and suitable environment. Our Foundation together with the Mir dlya vseh organization organized summer camp for families with disabled children in summer 2016 in Saltykovka and Balashikha. In the camp for children with disabilities, a family session was organized (conditions for joint residence of parents with children, joint trips and activities). Integrative session was for mixed children's groups. Individual lessons continued throughout the sessions.

The results of the summer camp in figures:

  • 80 children with health related disabilities had a rest and got qualified help
  • 8 families used the social nurse service for parents needed time for themselves
  • 16 families with special children were able to improve their financial situation (they were paid for their work in the camp)
  • 21 high school students became volunteers

Another successful experience of the Absolute-Help Foundation for the organization of the summer camp was obtained through partnership with the Our Sunny World organization, which works with children and teenagers with autism. This Center successfully solves the issues of rehabilitation, habilitation and social adaptation of children, teenagers and youth with autism.

Summer vacations can also become a time of intensive recovery for children need regularly rehabilitation. For two years, the Absolute-Help Foundation has been supporting summer integration camps for 100 children with autism from the Our Sunny World organization. The camp is held annually in the sanatorium "Velegozh" of the Tula region for 26 years. Our Foundation pays for food and accommodation for more than 30 children and their families. Each child is carefully diagnosed in the camp. The rehabilitation program is designed to help children with autism effectively and their families. On average, during the day the child attends 8 sessions lasting 30-50 minutes.

The rehabilitation program consists of individual and group sessions, which form new skills and socialize the child with autism among peers. The kids visit the animation school, the sessions of health-improving massage, they are engaged in drawing, modeling, hippotherapy, music, speech development classes and even English. For those who are older there are theater and circus studios, film studio, creating daily news releases. In the evenings everyone can take part in a theatre fairy tale, and then watch the next issue of news, which they create by themselves.

Parents visit free individual and group meetings with a psychologist, seminars on relevant topics, such as "Aggression and Undesirable Behavior", "Speech Development", "Learning Independence" and others. For many families, the camp has become a part of their life and an established tradition. The older children are looking forward to the summer holidays in "Velegozh" with their friends, to learn something new.The camp is a difficult test for children, because busy schedule has a powerful impact. Due to its intensity this course provides powerful impact to the child’s development. Many parents note the significant dynamics of their children's development precisely after the summer rehabilitation course in the camp.

"The camp for the children, parents, teachers, volunteers and all of us is a special place where the sunny atmosphere of kindness and comfort reigns, where everyone loves and respects each other, where everyone is equal.”

Results of the summer camp in figures:

  • teenagers adolescents and young people with autism and other mental disabilities were rehabilitated in the camp
  • for children from 29 families and 28 accompanying persons, meals and accommodation in the camp were paid for the amount of 1 350 000 rubles.

The project "Program of comprehensive social rehabilitation of disabled children, disabled adults and their families"

What does social rehabilitation mean for a child, for example, with autism or cerebral palsy? A lot of things. It can teach a person to express one’s thoughts, listen to other, ask and say “No”, study, work, live independently.

Our Foundation supported the "My Joy" organization in Ivanteevka of the Moscow region. It works with disabled children and their parents. Every week 120 children with various diagnoses attended special creative classes, sports, developing sessions with psychologists, speech therapists, teachers. Children came with their parents from the nearest cities - Pushkino, Koroleva, Shchelkovo, Fryazino. All the exercises were free of charge. Each participant of the project has to pass an initial examination of psychophysical development, which results are needed for an individual rehabilitation route for the child.

It is important that within the framework of the project, parents also received consultations of a lawyer, of a psychologist, social worker services at home. All this services allow the participants to feel support, feel like a part of a large team protects them. Specialists of the center "My Joy" note that the parents of their pupils become self-confident, know their rights, the route of treatment for their children.

Kolya is 17 years old. He has been attending classes with speech therapist Oksana three times a week throughout the year. He has cerebral palsy, mental retardation, autism. He graduated from the ninth grade of the special school, but he learned to pronounce only individual sounds. After the classes the boy began to read in syllables, he is interested in some things and he likes learning process. In autumn the work will continue. Now the task for Kolya is to start remembering poems. He is looking forward to the classes new study year.
Lesha is 14 years old. Despite the cerebral palsy, he began to walk independently, looking at his peers from among other participants in the project. Three kids of the Center with autism learned to speak, eat normal food, communicate with the children.

Often children with their parents stayed at the Center all day long. Children spent time together: drinking tea, playing, walking in the yard. It is communication that gives a colossal result - children begin to walk, talk, get motivation for this. After all, at home mom understands everything with a half-word, and the new person does not. In addition, parents have the opportunity to exchange information, get support from each other. Within the framework of the project, classes were held in carpentry workshops for children with mental retardation and autism. They got acquainted with the basics of craft, which can become their profession in the future. It is important that the project involved disabled persons over 18 years of age. The oldest participant is 25 years old. After graduating from school, these "big children" often "stay" at home. Coming to the Center, they receive emotional support, communicate, learn a profession that allows them to earn money at home.

Achievements for the project:

  1. Children with damages of the central nervous system (40% of the total number of participants) have learned to use face and muscle expressions.
  2. Children with autism (15%) began to understand spoken speech, follow simple instructions.
  3. Children with autism (10%) are actively involved in the educational process, work out the syllables structure of the word on the album Bolshakova, try to hear and execute commands.
  4. Children with autism and with complicated behavioral disorders (10%) demonstrate a decrease level of aggression and an increase in the time for retaining attention. They began to understand spoken speech, carry out simple instructions, and mastered logorhythmics.
  5. Children with mental retardation (35%) try to work on instructions, carry out tasks, but because of the difficult condition of some of the kids this is not always possible. In general, contact is established, there is an increase in the time for keeping attention, communication links are established with children.
  6. About 40% of children have learned to do sorting (geometric figures, animals, vegetables, etc.), show colors.
  7. 30% of children can speak. Children try to hear and execute commands. There is an active replenishment of vocabulary. Fine motor skills improve.
  8. About 10% of children have learned an account in the range of 10.

It is important for us to initiate support for such social projects, as they allow supporting children with health related disabilities and their families near their homes. It is problematic for them to travel long distances in order to take the child to school. In this case, it’s important to develop the centers near homes where such children can get the whole range of rehabilitation services, and where the management knows all of its wards, their stories and development routes. By helping such organizations in various regions of the Moscow region, our Foundation implements a contribution in support of children with health related disabilities throughout the Moscow region.

The Conference "Career guidance and employment of people with mental and other disabilities"

Sharing experience with other NGOs and organizations helping people with disabilities, on March 24, 2017, the Absolute-Help Foundation together with the partner “Our Sunny World” organization, which helps children and teenagers with autism, held a conference on employment of people with mental disabilities.

Experts from public and parents’ organizations, representatives of the business community, as well as people with mental disabilities gathered at the discussion platform to share their experience, tell personal stories, discuss pressing issues and possible solutions.

Practical experience of job placement and work with children, teenagers and adults with disabilities showed that the situation can be changed by expanding and modernizing the list of specializations in vocational training institutions and boarding schools, introducing a system of continuous support for people with mental disabilities and provide a mentoring system in the work process. But employment is a comprehensive work, where the non-profit sector, the state, and business should work in cooperation.

On March 24, 2017 in the Moscow office of the Agency for Strategic Initiatives a conference on the employment of people with mental disabilities was held. Specialists from public and parents’ organizations, representatives of the business community, as well as people with mental disabilities gathered to discuss the difficulties and prospects, the best domestic and foreign practices in career guidance and employment.

In the job placement of people with disabilities in Russia there are many obstacles. On one hand, the unpreparedness of employers to perform additional educational work, the absence of an institute of mentor and support, on the other hand, a limited choice of specializations and individual characteristics of candidates, lack of motivation and difficulty in observing labor discipline, especially for the graduates of the orphanages. According to the project manager of the Absolute-Help Charitable Foundation Kaleria Lavrova, the situation can be changed if the list of specializations in vocational training institutions and boarding schools is expanded and modernized, a system of continuous support of people with a mental disabilities will appear and a mentoring system in the work process will be worked out.

The leading recruitment specialist in LLC "Absolut Group" Alexandra Vdovichenko shared her experience of training and career guidance for the graduates of the orphanages. In her opinion, it is necessary to start career guidance at school, to conduct regular interactive trainings on employment practices: to learn how to make a resume, to simulate situations of interviewing through workshops, to popularize applied professions.

The importance of adaptation in the workplace was also expressed by Anna Kochineva, director of the "Keepers of Childhood" Foundation. Beneficiaries of the Foundation pass internships in different companies from large bank institutions to flower shops. At the same time, according to Anna’s words, most companies are interested not only in financing the project, but in all-round interaction. A team mentor helps a beginner to adapt in the team. He accompanies him during the internship. Passing several internships in different job places, the children learn about different professions, and this helps them to understand better their own place in life and their calling. "The most important thing that the children receive on these internships, except the experience, is a sense that they are needed, because they are respected, they are interesting for somebody and their abilities and skills are needed," Anna says.

Deputy Director of the “Big Change” Foundation Elizaveta Parshina talked about how it is difficult to analyze objectively the results of finding a job by a person with disabilities. " The results of such assistance can be analyzed only in the context of the whole life of a person," - says Elizabeth.

The experience of the Penza project "Louis Block" was interesting. Alexey Gazaryan spoke about it. The "Louis Block" is a commune in which the graduates of the boarding schools and people with disabilities lead a common life, study and work. In the "Louis Block" people live, write poems, play musical instruments, some of them manage to create a family. "Our joint task," says Alexey, "is to come up with a world in such a way that everyone who lives in the "Louis Block" could move towards his dream."

The special guest of the conference was Stephen Shore, a professor, a doctor of special pedagogy, a man with an autism and an international expert in the field of autism. "For business, it's very important to focus your attention not on the fact that a person with a mental disability cannot do but how he can help the development of business due to his characteristics. And, of course, it is very important to know more about the characteristics of people with mental disabilities and develop a support system in the workplace. In the world there are excellent examples of successful employment of people with autism in such global corporations as Microsoft and SAP", Stephen said in his speech.

Thus, if potential employers understand the need for an integrated approach to the adaptation of people with physical disabilities in the workplace, as many participants have said, this will help improve the quality of life of disabled people and solve the problem of their job placement.

Day of Career Guidance at Hewlett Packard Enterprise

April 27, 2017, our students from the "Absolute" boarding school visited the office of the company Hewlett Packard Enterprise, which employees organized the Day of Career Guidance specially for the children.

The children were told the story of the company's creation. Its experts shared the secrets of success and the subtleties of their work. The children took part in a conference with representatives of HP offices from Germany and the Philippines. Eric, Marcus and Petot told about themselves, their work, showed their countries on the world map. From the enthusiastic faces of the children it was obvious that it was unusual and interesting for them, as if they were opening the doors to another world. The most interesting part of the day was waiting for the children ahead. It was visiting the server room - sanctum sanctorum of a computer company. The children were told what the computer is made of, how it works and saves information.

Children also learned about the subtleties of creating cartoons. It turns out that the DreamWorks Animation studio creates its legendary cartoons on HP super-power computers, thanks to this we see our beloved heroes so real and alive. The kids were surprised when they learned that the most technically difficult thing in creating cartoons was to make furry heroes really fluffy, so that the wool was like a real animal, moved in the wind, became wet under the water. At the end of the day, the kids had a delicious lunch and good farewell. Children left cheerful and charged with new thoughts, ideas and, we want to believe, new plans for the future.

"I liked it so much that I did not want to leave! It was so interesting about the creation of cartoons, about the filling of computers - I did not know all this, and how we found the Philippines on a world map. Super day. Thank you! ", a participant of the event said.