A report from Doug Brendel to all who support or follow our New Thing ministry in Belarus...
From ÒdisabledÓ to ÒenabledÓ
Faces with a future!
Head toward Lithuania, pull off on a cobblestone path, and after it turns to a dirt road, youÕll come to this boarding school for children with physical and mental disabilities.
Welcome to Чеховщинская — in English: Chekhovshchinskaya (pronounced Check-off-sh-CHIN-sky-ah).
As many as 120 children at a time live and attend school here.
In most cases, their parents canÕt or wonÕt care for them because of their disabilities.
Professional staffers assess the children and, if possible, place them in appropriate school situations closer to home.
Otherwise they stay here till age 18 — and learn a trade in preparation for adulthood.
Either way, the future for every child is here is a productive one:
TheyÕll work for a living and contribute to society.
Our 13-year-old Lydia Charlotte reports, not surprisingly, that she was somewhat uncomfortable with the visit to the boarding school.
But she kept occupied as junior photographer-videographer.
The children live here 24/7, which means cooking, cleaning, laundry, everything it takes to maintain a household — but on a huge scale.
The school program is as complete as that of any school in the country.
A pretend camcorder produces images and sounds that help stimulate childrenÕs minds.
We brought candies. For some it was a puzzle, for most a delight!
In her 3 years on the job, director Tatiana (at right) has labored valiantly to make this institution as much like a home as possible.
The teachers are amazingly, endlessly patient with their sometimes difficult students.
A generous couple in California saw our photo report in February, and spontaneously responded to the boarding schoolÕs need for new kitchenware by sending an immediate gift of $1,000.
Our friends at the Music Serving the Word organization were inspired to provide the balance — another $1,400. (They had already funded a new washer and dryer.)
So, soon the children and staff will have all new pots, pans, cutlery, and other implements to replace the ancient stuff theyÕve been using forever.
The facilities are aged. Director Tatiana is working to refurbish the childrenÕs bedrooms, one by one.
Photos donÕt adequately convey the ruinous condition of the walls and floors.
Maintenance is a continuous challenge; repair and replacement are mostly just dreamed-of luxuries.
Windows in many rooms are so dilapidated, they canÕt be opened in summer. Yet the cold comes in all winter long.
New windows are a top priority — but expensive. So only two bedrooms have been renovated thus far.
But itÕs a place of warmth and love and hope...
and itÕs our joy to have at least a small part in it all.
More photos to come.
Thanks for journeying with us!
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