Launch of the "Opening Doors for Children" civil campaign
Kyiv, concert hall Mala Opera, 20 November 2013
Rinat Akhmetovs Foundation for Development of Ukraine, within the program «No to Orphancy» will become the main national partner of the civil campaign «Opening Doors to Children»
On 20 November, the world celebrates the Universal Children's Day — the day of joint activities in the best interest of children, but our country is still debating about what is best for children. Despite significant progress in the development of family-based care, the scale of usage of institutional care for children remains impressive. Although the international community has long ago recognised the dangers of institutions for children and made decisive steps to overcome this problem, Ukraine still lags significantly behind. More than 80,000 children live in isolation from the society. They are not only orphans, but children with special educational needs, children placed at the request of their parents due to the difficult economic situation of the family. It's a city of children living in behind closed doors.
Halyna Postoliuk, director of the Hope and Homes for Children charity (National Coordinator of the Campaign): Each year, the state spends billions of UAH in preserving the inefficient system, disrupting the child's right to family care and safe environment. Institutions are not the solution but reaction to poverty and distress in family. It is a system that harms children, is incompatible with respect for the rights of children, and a waste of taxpayers' money.
The Small Opera (place of the event) met guests with the atmosphere of a typical institution. A bright banner 'INSTITUTION - ALL THE BEST FOR CHILDREN' hangs in the hall; the song "Our institution, thank you for the love from children" plays in the background. We all are well aware that no teacher, toys, candies can replace what family can give — mother's love, care and attention. But ignoring the problem, the institutional care advocates continue to speak about "quality and balanced diet", "full state support" and "a ticket to the future" the institution gives to children. However, children get second-hand clothes, strict regime, lack of personal space and prospects for the future. When you leave the premises and go outdoors, you breath in trying to get rid of the feeling of being in a distorted world, yet you come to understanding that it is not another world, it is a real life for thousands of Ukrainian children — a world behind closed doors.
Yuriy Pavlenko, Ombudsman for Children under the President of Ukraine: I am convinced that no institution regardless how good it is and how professional its personnel is can replace a family for a child.
Natalia Korolevska, Minister of Social Policy: Our task is to secure the right of each child to have a family. We have to move away from the old system of institutional childcare by replacing it with family-based forms and gradually, step by step, to change the current childcare system.
The civil campaign 'Opening doors for Europe's children' united civil society organisations, charities, international organisations and media to create social pressure to stop institutional care of children. The campaign is an ambitious project being implemented in 12 European countries. It shows a realistic way of transition from institutional to family-based care of children. Rinat Akhmetov’s Foundation for Development of Ukraine will be the main national partner of the Opening Doors for Children civil campaign within the framework of the foundation’s program "No to Orphancy!"
Sergey Polyuk, Sector Manager on Health and Welfare, Delegation of the European Commission to Ukraine: Transition from institutional to family-based childcare has finally been included in the EU’s agenda. Now we have to ensure that governments will take action to change lives of hundreds of thousands of children.
Daria Kasyanova, project manager "No to Orphancy!", Rinat Akhmetov’s Foundation for Development of Ukraine (main national partner of the campaign):
For more than five years, Rinat Akhmetov’s Foundation has been in the vanguard of the efforts. We have seen how physiologically traumatised are children who move from institutional care to foster families. We have been implementing the European approach to addressing the orphanhood problem, which is aimed at moving away from institutional care, reforming the system and advising the society of the negative impact of institutional care of children. The Opening Doors for Children campaign is one more step on this road.
At the end of the event in a bright performance children showed what difficulties they had to overcome in institutions. They showed their dreams of happy childhood they did not have, and invited everyone to take a symbolic key to the doors thousands of children across the country are waiting to be opened.
Campaign’s website: www.openingdoors.org.ua