The right help, at the right time: Radion’s story from Ukraine
Our Child and Family Support Teams’ commitment and tenacity to prevent family breakdown, reunite families and create new families is at the heart of everything we do.
Radion loves playing outside with his big brothers, Kolya and Alexander. But even before he was born, the war in the east of Ukraine threatened to tear Radion’s family apart. His mum and brothers were forced to flee the fighting and move to the centre of the country to live with relatives.
The trauma of the war and the pressure of trying to build a new life in a strange city drove Viktoriya to a breakdown soon after Radion was born. She was struggling to care for her newborn son and so the authorities took Radion to an emergency reception centre. If Viktoriya’s situation had remained unchanged, the next step would have been to place Radion in the local baby orphanage for good.
“When they let me see Radion, he had been in the centre for a few days and his was crying all the time,” Viktoryia remembers. “He couldn’t do without me. Until that time, I had never left him alone for even one day.”
At this critical moment, Family Support Workers trained by Hope and Homes for Children stepped in to help Viktoriya cope. They gave her the therapeutic and practical support she needed to get her life back on track and bring Radion home again. Without the right help at the right time, made possible by your generous support, Radion was in danger of spending his childhood confined to a loveless institution. Instead, he’s free to enjoy the adventure of growing up with a mum and brothers to love and protect him.
“We were determined to do all we could to help and make sure that Radion was not transferred to the orphanage”: a family support worker’s story
Dariya Doshchuk, Hope and Homes for Children’s Regional Co-ordinator in Ukraine, tells about how she met Viktoriya and her children:
“It’s always lovely to visit Radion and his brothers at home! The older boys are so full of energy,and Radion learns so much and has fun copying them and trying to keep up. When the local Child Protection Department first told our team about this case, we were determined to do all we could to help and make sure that Radion was not transferred to the orphanage.
I have visited that place and it’s terrible. There were 115 babies and toddlers there and they were kept in groups of 40 so there was no chance for them to be given the kind of individual love and care, let alone the physical contact, that’s so essential for such young children. When we met Viktoriya and her older children, we could see that she was a good mum and really loved her kids, but she had too much to cope with on her own. Together, we were able to provide the support Viktoriya and her children needed to put their lives back on track.
My work is challenging but it’s also very rewarding. I am always on the move and my phone never stops ringing! But families need to know that we are there for them and that we believe in them. I am so glad that we were able to help Radion return to his family. His future will be so much brighter growing up with the love and attention of his family—something an orphanage could never give him.”
You can help reuniting families
On average we invest approximately £2,200 to reunite a child, rescued from an institution, with his or her family. If you gave, alongside 12 other supporters, £15 each month, you could help us to reunite another child with their family every year.