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Knowledge is Power

In November 2014 Maya’s Hope funded Behavior Therapy training for caregivers from three different orphanages in Zaporozhye, Ukraine.

If you would like to contribute towards further education / training click HERE!

Thank you to our trainer, Yevheniy Sukovskyy and to Mariya for all her hard work organizing the training.

Article by our partner in Ukraine, Mariya Syemashkina.


All this time that we’ve been helping children and adults with special needs, we’ve been encountering lack of knowledge, our own knowledge and knowledge of caregivers that work with these people. This is because Ukraine never really had any educational programs for such specialists. Also, for a long time people with special needs were considered incapable of being educated.

In New Zealand a nurse needs to have a bachelor’s degree; in the U.K. people spend years learning to play with special children or feed allegedly learning-disabled adults; in Ukraine everyone learns only through trials and errors.

Some day-to-day situations, like children biting themselves and others, having hysterics, running away, etc. make us think of what should be done, but often we don’t have a ready answer.

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From time to time, volunteers from the UK or adoptive parents from the US, who have experience bringing up such children, tried to tell us how they deal with difficult situations. However, it is very hard to reach out to every caregiver, especially since everyone knows that in the West there’s much more personnel working with people with special needs.

When Keshia from New Zealand visited local orphanages this summer, we’ve discussed the personnel training issue again and she found a person from Ukraine, who could help us with training.

Last week, a three-day training was held for the employees of Zap, Kirov and Kalinovka orphanages. The training was focused on children behavioral therapy. For three days we were discussing daily problems that nannies, caregivers, and educators encounter and the ways these problems can be resolved.

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Turned out that different orphanages have same problems, like children fighting, biting, having hysterics, or even stealing other children personal belongings. The trainer from Lviv didn’t provide any ready solutions, but told about his personal experience working with special needs children. Nannies, caregivers, and educators from different orphanages worked in small groups trying to develop problem solving plans for their most problematic children, which they later implemented in practice.

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In few months we are planning to hold another training for the same group and will find out if they managed to apply the received knowledge in practice. We also hope to extend our training to other employees of these three orphanages, who take care of children with special needs. In order to do that we would need your financial help. One training for 20 people cost us almost UAH 10,000, but this money is a long-term investment into the lives and souls of dozens of caregivers and hundreds of children. Thank you everyone who cares about our special children!

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Translated by Lyudmyla Korchevska