About us
Orphanhood and social abandonment still constitute one of the most acute problems in Russia. According to data published by the Russian Presidential Plenipotentiary for the Rights of Children at the beginning of 2013, there are currently 643 thousand orphans and children without parental care registered in state institutions. In order to reduce this number, the Timchenko Foundation is running the Child in the Family programme.
"Children should grow up within a family; but, unfortunately, not every parentless child can be adopted and, for some children, the professional foster family is the best kind of family arrangement. We regard fostering to be an important constituent part of the overall system addressing the needs and environment of an individual child. We believe that the foster family combines love with professionalism."

Elena Timchenko
Photo report from the Awarding ceremony
Press conference: Children's Stories and Non-Children's Problems: Foster
Children with Special Needs
In an attempt to highlight the issue, the organizing committee of the competition has Our Stories invited foster
families with dynamically challenging children to enter the 3rd all-Russian Our Stories Foster Family Diaries Competition
The press conference will take place at the conference hall of the Moscow Planetarium on 24 November.
Urban Russians now take in more children with disabilities, as proved by statistics from the foster family diary competition. But it is children with disabilities, special needs children, who are the most vulnurable orphanage inmates.
In an attempt to highlight the issue, the organizing committee of the competition has Our Stories invited foster families with dynamically challenging children to enter the 3rd all-Russian Our Stories Foster Family Diaries Competition. The diarists and diary content, special needs foster children, and the future of those of them who will have failed to find a family and will stay at the children's home are the focal points of the press conference.

The press conference will be attended by: Maria Morozova, CEO of the Timchenko Foundation, Elvira Garifulina, head of the Family and Children programme of the Timchenko Foundation, , Irina Shpitalskaya, head of the
Vera.Nadezhda.Lyubov [Faith.Hope.Charity] Fostering Centre. The press conference will also feature diarists such as Aleksandra Ryzhenkova, a foster mother who is raising a child with Down's syndrome and who won the 3rd All- Russian Our Stories Foster Family Diaries Competition in the category "Enabling Family", and Victoria Strizhak, the
author of a short story entitled "My Hard-Won Happiness" and the winner of the Grand Prix of the 3rd all-Russian Our
Winners of Our Stories foster family diaries competition awarded at Moscow Planetarium
The winners were presented with certificates and gifts – tablet computers and Home Planetarium projectors. The 3rd Competition was won by 12 diarists in four main categories: "Enabling Family", "Ticket to Life", "My Special Family" and "In with the In-Crowd", as well as in six special categories, which have been introduced by the competition's
panel of judges this year. The Grand Prix of the Competition went to Victoria Strizhak, 18, and Olesya Likhunova, acclaimed by the readers of the website nashiistorii.ru, won by Popular Vote.

Before the Awards Ceremony, the children from foster families went on a tour, where they saw space landscapes of the Planetarium and watched a 3D film about the Solar System on an enormous dome screen. The adults meanwhile discussed the challenges faced by foster families at the press conference titled "Children's Stories and Non-
Children's Problems: Foster Children with Special Needs"
.

The press conference was attended by Maria Morozova, CEO of the Timchenko Foundation, Elvira Garifulina, head of the Family and Children programme of the Timchenko Foundation, and Olga Sotskova, deputy head of the Vera.Nadezhda.Lyubov [Faith.Hope.Charity] Fostering Centre.
Maria morozova
"Unfortunately, families that take in a child with a disability are surrounded by many stereotypes – after all, it is human to be afraid of what is new and unknown. But we hope that when the voices of these happy families have been heard by society, there will be fewer prejudices"
Elvira Garifulina described the competition entrants:

This year, the majority of them are urban dwellers who have one
foster child in their family. Enabling Family turned out to be the most popular category - it accounts for 73% of all entries submitted. Top on the list of the states from where the organizers received diaries were Moscow Oblast and Krasnodar Krai.
The 2017 competition's focus on foster families with children with disabilities was no coincidence. Special needs children are the most vulnerable category of orphanage inmates. Once they come of age, they will spend their life in therapeutic homes.

"Yes, these establishments are under reform, but at this juncture we feel pain when we refer children there," said Olga Sotskova at the press conference. She also said that the Faith, Hope and Charity Centre had placed 37 children in foster care since 2014.
They all continue living in families. Thanks to the family support
provided by the centre's staff, no children have been surrendered. According to her, fostering of children with special needs took its first uncertain steps in 2014 and took off in 2015.

The press conferences was also attended by this year's winners. Aleksandra Ryzhenkova, a foster mother who is raising a girl, Vera, with Down's syndrome, said that she wanted to make her contribution to improving society:

"I don't want to live in a country where the only option available to a family with a child with disability is to give him or her up."

Victoria, the winner of the Grand Prix, told her story to those present.
Victoria
"I have DTsP [infantile cerebral paralysis (ICP)], and I was hospitalized, talked with other disabled children. To my regret, many of them don't even know their age. And I am aware that, if my parents hadn't taken me in, I just wouldn't have known some basic things"
Victoria is confident that: every child, whether healthy or sick, needs a family, and if the child should be diagnosed with a disability, he or she may not be betrayed again. Victoria herself was diagnosed with a disability when she was 2, and she had lived in a foster family since she was three months old.

"My parents took me in when they were doing
paperwork for placement in a orphanage."

Victoria thanked her relatives.

"I am 18 years old. Where would I be stuck now? In a therapeutic home? I am now a student and hope that I will have a good life."

Victoria not only took part in the press conferences, but also sang for the guests of and participants in the Ceremony.

Routines at the Ceremony were also done by Nikita Izmailov, head of the Nevesomost [Zero Gravity] contact juggling school, and an Odukhotvoreniye [Spiritual] inclusive dance troupe.

The event culminated in a traditional cake for the Our Stories entrants.
The Our Stories Competition has been held by the Timchenko Foundation for a third year now; in 2017, the competition was joined by 110 diarists. Among them are biological and foster children aged between 14-18 years from families that took in a special needs child. Entries to the competition were also submitted by young people with developmental disorders aged 18 to 25 years who grew up in foster families, and parents raising a child with a disability.
Another photo report from the awarding ceremony
Masha Petrova, 8 years old
Zhenya Ivanova, 7 years old and her mother
Fedya Zybin, 9 years old
Contact us:
+7 (962) 313-73-76
nashi_istorii@timchenkofoundation.org
119021, Moscow, Timura Frunze str, 11/1
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