Breath Family Centre Kharkiv
Ukrainian-Dutch actress Victoria Koblenko (Breath Care for Kids Ambassador) performed the opening ceremony of the Breath Family Centre in Kharkiv on 12 June 2012 together with the Kharkiv province vice-governor Igur Shurma. Since then this centre has become the meeting place and communications centre for everyone who is involved in the care of street children and other vulnerable groups of children in the Kharkiv region.
The top floor of this building in the city centre houses the office of Breath Ukraine, but this centre is much more than just that. The centre focuses primarily on the children themselves. It is also the place to go for care parents, the parents of children's homes - our so called Small Group Homes en those parents who are considering to foster a child. The centre is furthermore open for everyone who is involved with sheltering, caring and accompanying street children.
Warm and friendly surroundings
Many issues ask for an intimate, warm and friendly environment and can't be discussed in cold, bleak state offices. The Kharkiv University has a Child Psychology Faculty. Students will volunteer to help and support both children and parents.
Step by step the purposes of the Breath Family Centre Kharkiv will be expanded. The following are or are currently. being implemented.
Other (future) roles are:
- To children who leave our houses because of their age (18 years and up) education and support are offered to help them with taking decisions and considering the consequences of their decisions. They will also be guided with independent living and all further required skills such as learning to handle money.
- Helping children choosing their education and future careers. Building and maintaining a database of companies who would like to be engaged and who are able to offer these children real future jobs.
- Confidential psychological help with problems. Available for children and parents. A dedicated helpline and website are needed where questions can be asked anonymously. I should become a forum that offers help and assistance.
- Sexuality Education is one of the greatest needs according to the director of the Kharkiv Oblast Child Service. In the former Soviet Union no attention was paid to it and current parents hardly know how to deal with it. Problems in this area are on the increase because of multiple reasons. Focus and education on this subject but also on various other matters, like alcohol use and drug use, are badly wished for.
- Volunteer Centre. Inside the Breath Family Centre a volunteer policy will be founded. Volunteers will have to know their rights and duties and they should know exactly what to expect when they become volunteers.
- Educational opportunities like English language courses. Also Cooking classes for children and training in general etiquette and manners are desired.
- Talent development in the fields of music, dance and arts.
- Sports have an important place in giving structure in the lives of children. On top of that playing sports is healthy. From our centre all sorts of sports activities will be initiated. This will be done in combination with our Breath Football Court.
- A database can be built to utilise available clothing, toys, (school) books, etc. The care families and Small Group Homes will greatly benefit from this.
- Promoting exchange of knowledge. For instance between people who have adopted a child. or between new parents of a Small Group Home and the people who already have lots of experience. Future parents do at the moment get sometimes misleading information.
- Medical support. A medical post dedicated to first aid will be built inside the family centre. The post will be linked to regular doctors who are able to support the assistance of ill children.
- Nutritional Centre. (Because of malnutrition) Children sometimes have a stunted growth, intestinal problems. allergies and eating disorders. Proper assistance is essential for a healthy growth.
- The Centre will also have to add to the understanding for the children who live in these difficult situations and will facilitate various meetings and conferences and will also give legal assistence.