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I will not give him up… I will not be able to live knowing my child is somewhere along…

Olena was born in a family of five. Her family was poverty-stuck and sometimes children remained without any food for several days. The family was fatherless. Her mother many a time brought men of all kinds in the house. With them she hit the bottle whereupon was not able to be mother of five children. She was deprived of paternal rights for this reason. Olena, as well as other children, was sent to a residential school.

One day, when Olena has reached the age of fifteen, she met this man. The girl graduated nine grades in the residential school of Kherson region and started studying in training college. He, the restaurant proprietor in two cities of Kherson region, was almost fifteen years senior to Olena. After several dates he proposed Olena to move to his apartment. Olena was never hedged round with care and attention, warmth and love, thus she accepted his proposal.

They started to live together in rather expensive hotel in Skadovs’k city.

Four months of living together have passed. One day Olena learned that she was pregnant. She decided to inform her man right away. She wanted to boast of, to gladden him… However, she did not expect his sharp negative response. He refused to own a child and drove her from the house. No matter how hard she tried to explain the situation saying she would do anything but pick up the threads. Though it was in vain. He was irresponsive. Their relationship came to an end.

Olena came back to the training college hostel. There she hid her pregnancy as long as she was able and she was afraid that she would be expelled from the college and then from the hostel, as far as she had no place to live and no place to go… The situation came to a standstill. She had no parents and her other kinsmen didn’t want to help her. Instead, they advised her to get rid of a child as soon as possible: to have an abortion or to give a newly born child to an orphan home. They were saying that Olena was so young; she was far from clever to bring up her own child; she was a child by herself and she would manage to have a lot of children in due time. 

Olena, despite hard time and realizing she had no one behind her, couldn’t follow the advice and put firmly to all:

- I will not give him up. I will break down knowing my child lives somewhere but I don’t know how is he doing … No! I am smart and strong enough to bring him up.
Religious Community that kept in touch with the college graduates patronized residential school where Olena lived. It was the members of the Community staff who advised her to seek assistance in Kherson City Mother and Child Centre. Olena went to the Centre when she was eight-months pregnant. Shortly afterwards she gave birth to a boy whom she named Danylo.

Olena’s sojourn in the Centre was the saving of her. Centre staff carried on the psychological adjustment, communicated constantly with the girl. They tried to comprehend her situation and offer optimal path to go out. However, as the Centre counselor Yuliya Zhytyakova says, first and foremost the Centre became real shelter for Olena and the possibility to live in normal conditions before the time when the child could grow a little and Olena could solve her problems.

During the time being in the Centre, Olena had the chance to consider her present life and to think over her future. Even then a sixteen years old girl, after a half of a year in the Centre, saw clearly her further steps towards her better life and the little Danylo’s life too:

- First of all I want to settle the matter with our documents to achieve government assistance for the child. Owing to which I will buy a small apartment in Kherson city. It will be rather good solution for us for some time. Then I want to enter a training school and gain the qualifications of hair stylist and cosmetician. 

Olena could stay in the Centre almost for one year. Nevertheless, she decided to solve all her problems till September of the current year and to start a new life since autumn, meaning to make her home in the small apartment and restart her studying.

Thus she planed her future life and she managed to carry out her plans. Olena, as she wished, has started her studying in the training school to be a hair stylist. And recently her grandmother arrived and decided to take Olena and Danylo with her. That is why they left the Centre and moved to grandmother’s apartment situated not far from Kherson city. Today Olena’s grandmother helps her bring up her little son.

- “Kherson City Mother and Child Centre was founded four years ago under the auspices of UNICEF”, Centre Director Nataliya Nadyelina says, - it has become the first institution in Ukraine that charged of mothers who intended to abandon their antenatal or postnatal children. During our functioning we saved family for 43 children. That is so much moms are bringing up their children a lone hand today in spite of various tough circumstances.

Kherson regional Child guidance and family counselling centre was founded in 2003 with the active support of UNICEF. It has become the first institution in Ukraine the activity of which was and is now aimed to help mothers who intend to abandon their children at an early age. Today this institution is the stakeholder of a project aimed to implement a systematic basis to prevent children’s abandoning at an early age. The project is carried out by NGO “Hope and Homes for Children” under the auspices of UNICEF.




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