Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Ukrainians to Help Children with Down Syndrome

From February 1 through March 29 the fourth stage of the “Silver Coin” charity project will kick off in all branches of the UkrSibbank BNP Paribas Group.

The project, a joint initiative of the bank and the Ukrainian Down Syndrome Organization,  is aimed at raising funds needed for comprehensive diagnostics and providing consultations to the parents of children with Down Syndrome throughout Ukraine .  The initiators of this program plan to publish a special manual for parents. The remaining funds will be channeled into financing programs offered by the UDSO Early Development Center.
“The joint efforts of the bank, volunteers, and enthusiastic parents have resulted in this unique opportunity to help families that have children with Down Syndrome, to teach parents and specialists, and to build a decent future for these kids in Ukraine , without abandoning them or immigrating abroad,” says Serhii Kurianov, president of the UDSO and the father of eight-year-old Illia. 

According to the global statistical data, one newborn child out of seven hundred is affected by Down Syndrome. In all cases, this is the result of a purely genetic accident and is in no way connected to the lifestyle of the child’s parents. Nevertheless, even today Ukrainian society is still wary of children who have this condition. People continue to believe that such kids have no future and all attempts to educate them are merely a waste of time.

According to official Ukrainian statistics, every year more than 420 children are born with Down Syndrome in our country.. This is by far the main reason why parents abandon their child in the maternity hospital. As a result, these children become orphans practically from the moment they are born. They simply do not receive enough care and attention to develop properly because, instead of being helped to adapt, they are isolated. As a result, 20% of the children living in childcare centers in Kyiv alone have Down Syndrome, while up to 57% of residents in orphanages for children with disabilities are have Down Syndrome.
Scientists say that proper attention and care can actually have a significant impact on the development of such children. As BNP Paribas said, special programs can help bridge the gap between the child’s intelligence and physical development. Children with Down Syndrome who grow up in families can go to school, create works of art, work, engage in hobbies, and eventually integrate into society.
“As members of the bank of positive changes, we at UkrSibbank are striving to break the mould and make a change that will ease the entrenched (and utterly obsolete) negative attitudes to children with Down Syndrome. Increasing numbers of people are gradually realizing that these children have a soul like any other kids; they can feel joy, sorrow, love, and are able to make friends. Their hearts are open to people and they wait for openheartedness in return,” says Kostiantyn Lezhnin, Deputy Chairman of the Management Board at JSC UkrSibbank. “This is the fourth year in a row that the bank is supporting the “Silver Coin” project, and we are truly excited to see some real results. Reconsideration of life values comes at a slow pace, but people are extending a helping hand to these wonderful kids more and more often. Once again we are happy to encourage everyone to join us in this heartfelt initiative and deposit their pocket change in the piggy bank of good deeds. These children deserve our love.”

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