Happiness is…, a Nationwide Photo Exhibit of Socially Vulnerable Children and Youths Opened in L’viv


According to the World Health Organization and the National Institute of Cancer the cancer morbidity and mortality rates have risen from 10th to 2nd place in the past 100 years. Cancer morbidity and mortality is surpassed only by cardio-vascular disease. By 2030 cancer mortality will increase by 45% when compared to 2007. Ukraine has the second highest incidence of cancer in Europe. Every year over 160,000 adults and over 1,000 children are diagnosed with cancer. 70% of children diagnosed with cancer can survive, but half die due to delayed treatment or because there aren’t funds available to cover treatment.

Starting in the fall of last year, Caritas Ukraine has been running a project called Providing Medical Help to Children at the Western Ukrainian Specialized Children’s Medical Centre. This project distributes funds donated by the Ukrainian Catholic Church in Australia. Nearly 2.5 million UAH have been earmarked for the project. As of March 2012, Caritas Ukraine has purchased medicines totalling 760.000 UAH. Funded for a year, the Caritas Ukraine project anticipates providing comprehensive social and medical services to nearly 30-35.

Every other homeless child uses alcohol and narcotics. Many homeless children subsist on proceeds from petty theft, robbery and prostitution. Studies conducted by UNICEF show that 10% of homeless children are illiterate or poorly educated.

The goal of the photo exhibit project is to acknowledge the problems these children live and deal with, and to draw the attention of the community, media and government to them.

The services and support given to minors and their families in crisis situations has been systematized and focused for over 10 years, and is a critical part of Caritas Ukraine’s work. In addition to providing this group with basic needs (clothing, footwear, hot lunches, laundry and shower facilities, and medical care); their first priority is to create the conditions for spiritual, creative, and psychological development.

Children and adolescents obtain informational assistance, psychological and legal counselling. Caritas Ukraine employees organize after school groups, art therapy, play therapy, specialized thematic trainings, discussions, sporting events, excursions, hikes, recreation and educational camps where children and adolescents can obtain new social skills and congregate.

The goal of this work is to help re-integrate and socially adapt children and adolescents who have found themselves in difficult life situations and to support families with children who are in crisis. Caritas socil workers don’t only work in Social Centres; they go out into the streets, visit schools and families in their homes. They are mobile and always focused on the interests and needs of children, society and time. The goal of their daily activities with disadvantaged children is to offer them an alternative, help them independently improve their lives, adapt their worldviews, become socialized and achieve self realization.

It is important to recognize, that because of the current difficult socio-economic conditions in Ukraine and the country’s past. The magnitude of the problem of crisis children is dangerous and sounds an alarm that we need to develop not only this group of citizens—that in the nearest future will become a moving force in the country—but society in general.

We invite you to visit the photo exhibit of portraits of disadvantaged, socially vulnerable children. Take a look at their world, values, visions of everyday life, and their dreams for the future—feel what happiness is for your new generation!

Time and Location in L’viv:
From 26 January through 9 February at the Artists’ Guild Dzyga, Art-Caf? Kvartyra 35 (Virmens’ka Street 35, 2nd Floor).

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