Each year in Russia, 30,000 children are born with facial deformities. Another 20,000 children experience such defects due to trauma or illnesses developed after birth. Limited number of hospitals in Russia have specialists able to undertake such
Consequently, families are often torn apart. The stress of having a sick child leads to isolation, embarrassment, disappointment and financial hardship. Affected children, highly conscious of their appearance, suffer from maladaptive behaviors, irritability, depression as well as suicidal tendencies. Some parents solve the problem by sending their children to orphanages. Others have appealed to the general public for direct financial assistance for necessary operations by writing letters to newspapers. The latter approach has led to the Society's most recent undertaking on behalf of Russian children.
Over seven years ago, RCWS launched a project "Give Beauty Back to the Children" in partnership with Lev Ambinder, Head of the Russian Aid Foundation (Rusfond) to benefit the Moscow Center for Children’s Maxillofacial Surgery (MCCMS), headed by Prof. Vitaly Roginsky.
MCCMS is one of the most innovative facilities in Russia providing treatment and rehabilitation for children with facial deformities. Depending on the case, surgeries can range from $2,500 to $5,000; a cost that is far beyond the means of the families involved. Professor Roginsky insists that early diagnosis and treatment of facial deformities is critical not only for the patients' physical health, but also their psychological development and social integration. While many of these children will undergo multiple surgeries over a period of time, it is better to fix the problem before the deformity's negative physiological impact sets in and damages their self esteem for life. Using the most advanced medical micro technology, computers as well as Professor Roginsky's highly motivated staff, the Center for Maxillofacial Surgery has seen its patients learn to smile for the first time and watch, as their personalities grow more hopeful.
According to Prof. Roginsky, “Give Beauty Back to the Children” has helped transform these children both physically and mentally by instilling in them the courage to pursue their goals unhampered by any limits. Prof. Roginsky stated that “such philanthropic organizations are indispensable to our society, for our world is such that it needs people ready to lend a helping hand to those experiencing the anguish of tragedy and who need a source of faith.”
This program is a testament to the positive difference Russian and Russian-American organizations can make in the lives of children when they work together. No child should ever feel less than beautiful and we believe that more children will receive comprehensive care and eventually have access to more state-
The Russian Aid Foundation was formed on the basis of the Kommersant Publishing House. The Foundation is headed by Lev Ambinder, an advisor to the President of the Russian Federation for the development of institutes of civil society and human rights, a journalist and a publicist. The Foundation was formed in 1996. A great deal of work has been done over these years, and many children have received charitable help. The Foundation specializes in assisting children with diseases such as heart defects, cerebral palsy, defects of the nervous and musculoskeletal systems.
Official government statistics indicate that there are 333,332 Russians infected with HIV making Russia home to the highest number of people living with HIV/AIDS in Europe today. Since many more are unaware of their HIV status, international organizations believe that the true figure may be somewhere between 800,000 to 1.5 million.
In 2007, RCWS started working with the Foundation "Future without HIV/AIDS" and the All Russia Pediatric Aids Center in St. Petersburg, which provides assistance to infected orphans and pregnant women. At the Pediatric AIDS Center there is a community of 40 sick and orphaned children who receive the attention of a dedicated staff of medical and educational professionals who foster their emotional development and integration into society. The Society commends the Pediatric AIDS Center for its commitment to children that many regard as a lost cause.
RCWS Board member Nadia Lipsky was inspired to establish a program that helps children who are stricken with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis after she witnessed the crippling toll it took on her niece without the proper course of treatment. Over the last several years, RCWS has purchased specialized arthritis equipment for the Moscow Institute of Rheumatology and Sechenov Medical Academy. The Society has also helped facilitate training for Russian rheumatologists in New York and in Russia. Dr. Thomas Lehman (Professor of Clinical Pediatrics at Cornell University and Chief of Pediatric Rheumatology at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City) has been instrumental in the success of this project. Dr. Lehman advises and guides RCWS on how best to help Russian children suffering from JRA.
Of the approximate 30,000 children in Russia born each year with facial deformities approximately 30–40% are cases of cleft lip and palate. Over half of Russia’s 89 regions do not yet have medical facilities capable of assisting such patients.
In the fall of 2000, RCWS partnered with The Smile Train, an American
In April 2006RCWS, together with the Smile Train, Russian Ministry of Health, and the Moscow Medical Stomatological Institute, held the 2nd Training Symposium on Cleft in Moscow, which was attended by 450 medical professionals from 39 regions of Russia.
The surgery takes as little as 45 minutes, costs as little as $250, and changes a child's life forever.
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