What we do
Centre for Children in Need “Our Kids” is an innovative project for helping children that was realised thanks to a trilateral partnership between the GPUS with both private and civil sectors. Today, the Centre is administrated by German-Polish-Ukrainian Society in Ukraine and acts as a pioneer reference project for other NGOs, public-private partnerships and energy efficient projects for all countries of the Eastern Partnership. The Centre has a status of the model innovative project and all its actions are under special regulations by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine.
The creation of a centre for children in need was the initiative of Barbara-Maria Monheim – the founder of the GPUS. During one of the seminars for the journalists of Eastern Europe in Warsaw, a young man told Mrs. Monheim about homeless children in his hometown. Together they came to Kyiv to see the issue for themselves: the lady was deeply affected by the harsh lives of the kids, so she promised them a home, where they could live together. This is how Centre “Our Kids” was born in 2001.
In the following years thanks to active support from Germany, Poland and Ukraine it became possible to realise the idea and start the project in Kyiv. Through negotiations, search for partners, sponsors and persistence we signed the contract that ensured the collaboration between the German Embassy and the Kyiv City Council. The city has donated a building for rent, previously used as kindergarten #233 located at 28-B Pavla Tychyny Avenue in the Dnipro district. In May 2007 the reconstruction of the first building was finished and the grand opening of the Centre was held. Starting with construction, we modelled the Centre with utmost care for the future residents and nature in mind. Therefore, all the buildings of the Centre “Our Kids” are equipped with latest technologies, the heating and water supplying systems are completely based on the usage of renewable - geothermal - energy.
In 2008 the Centre already welcomed first kids. Since then, thanks to a unique mechanism of public-private partnership, we were able to provide high-quality services for children in need, focusing on their social-psychological rehabilitation, development and reintegration into society. Direct assistance, according to the Pedagogic concepts of the Centre, enacted in 2012, is focused on adaptation, rehabilitation, correction and children’s growth, giving them pedagogic and therapeutic services.
Two out of three buildings can be lived in by 8 “families” total in separated apartments. In every apartment “social parents” take care of six kids or less. They live in the Centre until it is possible for them to live in their own family. A social pedagogue helps the family, the same as assistance provided by psychologists and caregivers. The residents divide the rooms among themselves for their leisure time: library, music room, playing ground. Kids can take in sports, vocal-choir studio and drum instruments ensemble, take care of the garden and the back yard, as well as their pets. Aside from that, for the kids who came of age, there are 2 apartments in the social dorm. The second, administrative building has the conference centre, office and a mini-hotel for the guests of the Centre.
By 2015, the Centre “Our Kids” has aided and supported 73 children, ages from 3 to 18. Kids go to kindergartens, schools and, if needed, visit specialists (speech therapist, tutor). A lot of work is done in order to get the children in stable families (reintegration back in biological families, foster care and adoption). Parents and relatives are able to visit the psychologist and social pedagogue. On the Centre’s basis, we hold meetings between the kids and their families, along with psychologists. Every year a significant part of the kids get a full family. We monitor them for 3 years afterwards after the child leaves the Centre, reducing the visit frequency with time.
This way, the Centre for Children in Need “Our Kids” is a unique social institution, whose work is focused not only on help to orphans and children deprived of parental care, their full rehabilitation, it also has the goal to reform the social, cultural and legal bases of development for the next generations of Ukrainians.