Crimean Republic center for HIV-infected youngsters and children is looking for more funding and volunteers

Last week I went to meet people from the Crimean Republic center for HIV-infected youngsters and children, situated in Pochtovoe, Ukraine. Before going there, I tried to find some information about this Center online, but I found just a few records of them in articles with official statistics or state documents. No pictures, no references, but enough contacts to call and get an appointment. Pochtovoe is a distant village close to the Crimean mountains with bus and railroad connections to the nearest cities Bahchisaray and Simferopol.Looking at the village, I expected the Center also to be destroyed and poor. But I was wrong. Everything looked nice. The Crimean Republic Center for HIV-infected youngsters and children was founded by the Crimean state in September 2008. It is situated on the second floor of a local hospital and can receive up to 50 people younger than 35 at the same time. But normally the largest amount of clients, as they are called by Center staff, is up to 30 people. They are provided with meals and comfortable rooms and staying here is free and voluntary. After finishing the program, people from the Center are trying to keep in contact with former patients and help them with adopting in real every day life.   Tatiana Kokul is the Director of the Center and the diplomas on the wall behind her belong to her. She says it's not about boasting, but to set an example for youngsters who come to her office for a first talk.      Konstantin now is a social worker here. Before, he was one of the first clients of the Center. He started taking drugs at 15 and ended up becoming a homeless person, but he was strong enough to rise up again to be able to lead a normal life. Everybody who stays in the Center as a client/patient has a double diagnosis: HIV positive and injection drugs abuse.  At the moment, some rooms in the Center are empty because of a lack of financing. Almost everywhere, you can see pictures drawn by youngsters, who lived there.   "We want to live"Normally, patients refuse to show their faces and look suspicious at strangers, but you don't have to ask them a lot to understand how different and hard their lives are.  This is the youngest client here, she lives together with her mother in the Center. They are both seropositive and have no other place to go. This sad story is much happier than hundreds of similar ones in Ukraine, as at least, they have a roof above their heads and friends who are trying to help. Many of them are finding help in faith.   This Center does not only need financing, but also volunteers, who can help with this hard work -the Center does not mind to host foreigners. Are you interested to help? For any questions you can always contact me by email: elephant-studio@yandex.ru Or Tatiana Kokul: cvdm@mail.ru