April 26, 2018

History of the Organization

Friends of the Morshen Orphanage

Ukraine Works Ltd was founded by Anne Linden as Friends of the Morshen Orphanage in the summer of 2004. The term orphanage was a misnomer as the facility was actually a detski dim, a children’s home.  Located in the Lviv Oblast, it housed twelve to fifteen children ranging in age from two to twelve. Most had learning disabilities.

Director Stephan Severylov with the two dumpsters purchased by Ukraine Works with your contributions.

Over a period of two years, Friends, working with the home’s director, assessed the facility’s most pressing needs and as funds became available purchased items ranging from a single pair of shoes to a washing machine. Friends paid for music and art lessons for several of the older children and at the detski dim director’s request it also provided English language textbooks and paid for a tutor.

Mykolychin Internat

In 2006, when the State closed the home, Friends, renamed Ukraine Works Ltd, began working with an internat (a boarding school for children with special needs) in Mykolychin, a town in the Carpathian Mountains close to the resort town of Yaremche and the multi-million dollar Bukovel ski resort.

During Mrs. Linden’s first visit, she noticed splinters of glass surfacing on the many paths crisscrossing the school’s property. She was informed that having no alternative, this school for 125 children buried all of its garbage and had for years. The town of Mykolychin had recently begun providing a garbage collection service, but without dumpsters, the school was unable to take advantage of it. For Ukraine Works’ founder, the decision was simple. Within four days the necessary documents had been signed, the money transferred and two dumpsters were on site.

Within the next two years, Ukraine Works was able to provide the top two items on the internat director’s wish list: equipment for a small exercise room including three climbing walls, weights, mats and other related items (Some of the school’s children were physically handicapped as the result of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders and required specially designed exercise programs.) and a karaoke with two microphones for use during the school’s weekly competitions. These competitions were not only one of the school’s only forms of entertainment but they also led to a marked increase in self-confidence among the competitions’ many participants.

On July 25, 2008, four days of heavy rain devastated much of the Ivano-Frankivsk oblast nearly wiping out the Mykolychin internat. It succeeded, however, in wiping out Ukraine Works’ dream of providing sewing classes to the school’s teenage girls.
Reopening the school demanded 100% of the internt director’s time. “I can give you ten minutes,” he told Mrs. Linden. To her surprise, he asked not for help rebuilding the school but for information about Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders

Ukraine Works translated Strategies Not Solutions and Teaching Students with FASD into Ukrainian for use by the internat. These were done with permission from The Child and Youth Working Group, part of the Edmonton and Area Fetal Alcohol Network and Alberta Learning. Both can be downloaded from our website (www.ukraineworksltd.org) at no cost.

In September 2009, Mrs. Linden met with the Eurasia Foundation’s Executive Director. His message was clear, “What you’re doing is very important. But you could do so much more. The entire country has need of the information you’ve chosen to supply to one small school.” It was as a result of this meeting that Ukraine Works changed its focus from helping a single institution with a variety of projects to preventing Fetal Alcohol Syndrome through education and the education of children with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders throughout Ukraine. This remains the organization’s focus today.

Public Charity

Ukraine Works Ltd was incorporated in the State of Vermont on February 20, 2008 and was granted tax-exempt status as a public charity under IRC Section 501(c)(3) on February 2, 2010 effective as of the date of incorporation.

Early Accomplishments

Translations of Liz and Jodee Kulp’s book The Best I Can Be into Ukrainian and Russian have been made possible thanks to the generous support of The Kulp Family (www.betterendings.org). Three hundred copies of the Ukrainian edition are being donated to pediatricians, psychologists/psychiatrists, obstetricians, and educators working with children with special needs. Both the Ukrainian and Russian translations can be downloaded from our website (www.ukraineworksltd.org) at no cost.

Translations of Diane Malbin’s book Trying Differently Rather Than Harder into Ukrainian and Russian have been made possible thanks to the generous support of FASCETS (www.fascets.org). Two hundred hard copies of the Ukrainian edition are being donated to neonatologists, pediatricians, psychologists/psychiatrists and educators working with children with special needs.

Ukraine Works began collaborating with The OMNI-Net Ukraine Birth Defects Program (ibis-birthdefects.org/start/uabdp.htm), a not for profit international organization incorporated in Ukraine, to disseminate information about Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders. Through OMNI-Net Ukraine, Ukraine Works Ltd has been able to provide copies of the Malbin and Kulp books to doctors and educators in oblasts in which Ukraine Works does not operate.