Physical Rehabilitation goes from strength to strength

St Gregory’s has worked with Ekaterina Klochkova to improve the care of disabled children since our beginnings as a charity. In recent months, Physical Rehabilitation, the charity she founded in St Petersburg, has developed significantly, allowing them to serve more families.

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Deaf Club welcomes refugee family

Parents and children having snack round the table.

Our colleagues in Russia have had serious adjustments to make in recent weeks.  Some have had grants cut with no warning.  All have had access to Facebook blocked.  For some this was a very active way of communicating with the people they helped directly, and also with people from further afield who looked to them for advice.  The Club for hearing impaired toddlers is filling this gap by using WhatsApp and being available on the phone to families that need advice in between sessions.

The Club has also welcomed a refugee family from Ukraine.  Anastasia and her son Nazar are both deaf.  They have found a warm welcome at the club and the support from other parents is very important for them.  They left home without Nazar’s hearing aid, but the Club has been able to help them.  When children get a cochlear implant fitted, parents donate the hearing aids that they no longer need.  This means the Club has been able to give Nazar a hearing aid straight away.

New fitness app for physically disabled

Keeping active is vital for children with physical disabilities, but it can be hard to do. This is why, our colleagues at Physical Rehabilitation in St Petersburg developed Move4Fit. The first fitness application for children with motor disabilities.

Surprisingly, until now, such fitness apps for children with cerebral palsy and other physical disabilties have simply not existed. The app allows families to draw up fitness plans and set goals. The regular workouts develop their motor skills, increase confidence, and are fun.

Move4Fit won first prize in the Inclusion category of the prestigious Social Idea competition2021 organised by Russian mobile operator MTS. All the exercises and methodology behind the app were developed within the SGF-funded A-Tech project. Your support for the project is now furthering innovation as well.

Kondopoga Parish welcomes disabled children

Group of children, volunteers, parents and the very popular dog.

Last summer was a very special one for the Parish of Kondopoga, Karelia. An easing of restrictions allowed the summer activities to go ahead and the Parish invited ten disabled children and their parents to join the summer programme for children from disadvantaged families. As the weather was warm and sunny, most lessons and games were held outdoors and children learned new skills and made new friends.

“What a wonderful summer! We all enjoyed meetings, friends, laughter and a wonderful atmosphere at the parish. A huge thank you for this support dur- ing the hard time of covid. We also received food, shoes and school uniforms. We are looking forward as a family to growing more with the parish and cannot wait for next summer.”

Food parcels and books and school uniform for the new school year were also distributed by the parish to local families living in poverty.

Alternative Communication helps Vladik

Vladik uses Alternative Communication

The world can be a confusing and frightening place for Vladik, aged 5. Sudden movements or sounds can scare him. Vladik has moderate learning difficulties, restricted mobility and delayed speech. Fortunately, our partners Communication Space in Moscow, have been supporting Vladik for more than a year. He is extraordinarily lucky to have such skilled, patient and compassionate people working with him. They are able to spot all the small things that Vladik can do, and have the knowledge and experience to be able to build on this.

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Helping deaf children’s development

Milana painting at our Club for deaf children

Milana is two and a half and she started coming to the Club for hearing impaired toddlers that we sponsor a few months ago. She’s a good example of how this club helps deaf children in their whole development. Families and children with deaf children often find it difficult to take part in mainstream children’s activities, so it’s vital we look at the child’s needs as a whole, and don’t just focus on their hearing.

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Summer newsletter – out now

Image of front page of newsletter PDF

Our newsletter is out now with stories from Moscow, St Petersburg, Kondopoga and Tbilisi. To celebrate our 30th anniversary we look back and appreciate how far we’ve come. We take stock of the extraordinary present day and look ahead to future plans. Dive in, and join our efforts to create a brighter future for the most disadvantaged and vulnerable people in our regions.

The Olympic spirit comes to St Petersburg

Children taking part in the sports day.

Recently, our colleagues in St Petersburg held a wonderful sports day for children with complex disabilities.  Everyone was able to take part, whether they were standing on their head, or bashing the punchbag.  The physios running the day were using a framework set up by the Special Olympics, which allows everyone to learn new skills and enjoy sport, even if they find it difficult to compete in a specific sport.

Supporting disabled children and their families online

How do you explain to a child who cannot speak that they can’t leave their small flat for the foreseeable future?  How do you provide physiotherapy, such a hands-on discipline, online? These are the questions facing our partners at Physical Rehabilitation in St Petersburg and Communication Space in Moscow.  They have been pulling out all the stops to make sure that families are supported at this difficult time, and parents equipped to deal with the new challenges. Continue reading Supporting disabled children and their families online