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Meet Albert Pavlov, president of Happy Child Foundation

Albert with his wife Ludya, their beautiful children, and their cat Alisa (hiding)

We’ve teamed up with Happy Child to help find a guardian angel (a.k.a. caregiver) for the Kalinovka special needs children.

What is Happy Child Foundation and who is Albert Pavlov?

Happy Child plays an active role in the lives of the Kalinovka orphans. For example, Happy Child restored a new house for a family-like program for children aged 7-17. They also recently led a training program for the orphanage’s caregivers, with up-to-date methods for providing care to special-needs children.

Objectives of the Happy Child Foundation:

  1. To provide financial and psychological support for seriously sick children and their parents
  2. To find homes for the orphan children through various means
  3. To provide educational, psychological, social, and financial help to orphan children

Albert guided me to Kalinovka orphanage when I visited Ukraine last year. Here’s his story, from Happy Child’s website (deti.zp.ua):

In August 2004 our daughter Masha was born. During the first month of Mashenka’s life she was very sick, and I made a promise to God after our daughter’s recovery to help in a concrete way by taking at least one of the children from the orphanage into our family. Masha recovered, and in the summer of 2005, we assumed guardianship over twelve-year-old Vitya. Two years later we took in Vitya’s brother, Sasha (two years younger than Vitya), and in the fall of 2009, Vladika (15).

Naturally, real life with teenage foster children has proved a lot more complicated than mere daydreams. Disagreements crop up, mainly on account of homework. Much of the literature we read on the topic of bringing up foster children has not always helped. Real knowledge, after all, comes only through experience and learning from mistakes!

2006 turned out to be a crisis moment for our family. While playing outside, Vitya fell on his back and was unable to stand upright by himself because of the severe pain. X-ray revealed a compression fracture of the spine. But this was only the beginning. Further tests revealed a large tumor around the heart (lymphogranulomatosis with a lesion of the mediastinum). Against this background, the fracture seemed trifling. There followed three operations in Kiev, months of chemotherapy, a trip to St. Petersburg and Moscow for tests. Happily, the treatment turned out to be successful; Vitya returned to normal life. In 2009, for example, he ascended Mt. Chatyr-Dag in the Crimea (1527 m).

In the course of Vitya’s treatment my wife and I had a somber encounter with the problems of children with cancer. Many of the children, with whom we lived on one ward, are no longer among the living. We saw the eyes of the parents full of despair after the loss of a child. It seemed as if the entire universe was turned upside down; our former materialistic values ceased to have meaning for our lives.

We began to place requests for aid for children with cancer on the sites www.donor.org.ua and www.deti.zp.ua. Helping others made it easier for us to get through the illness of our own child. In the summer of 2006 I came to realize that helping children in need was what I felt called to do at this stage in life.

He is an amazing father and compassionate individual for orphan children and especially children with special needs. If it wasn’t for him, I would never have found a little angel named Vanya who stole my heart.

We will be helping Albert and Happy Child find a new caregiver for the special needs orphans at Kalinovka. If you’d like to join us and help in any way, please write to me at maya@mayashope.org with the subject “Kalinovka!” :)