Wednesday, November 6, 2013


Author: Ilze Skuja
PHOTO DONATION: Edgars Pohevičs

We met Kirils already in the beginning of the summer 2013 at the camp for the families with hearing-impaired children, which was organized by ABLV Charitable Foundation and Palīdzē ( Back then, Kirils surprised us by his generosity, openness, thirst for knowledge and perfect world of senses. Kirils is not only hearing-impaired, but also visually impaired.

This autumn we went to visit Kirils, in order to create a photo story about Kirils and his admiringly positive family together with the photographer from Liepaja Edgars Pohevics.

Eleven year old Kirils lives together with his older sister Jana, mother, father and innumerable animals and birds :)  in the city of wind – Liepaja. Here, he studies, attends classes and tries to find his place in this world.
As we arrive, Kirils is truly happy about the presents brought, particularly about the clay and plasticine, with which he will be able to work. Now and then we look through the “notebook of memories” about the great time spent at the camp, how Kirils being unable to see created many clay figures by touch, was happy to meet white Pyrenees dogs and participated in games with fairy tale heroes. “It is Christmas for me today!” :), he said, “so many presents!”. Kirils is thrilled about the wooden erector set, which he tries to put together, and he is happy that he will be able to screw and build it together with the father. Kirils gives us presents as well – own made bracelets.

Even though Kirils is visually impaired and hearing impaired, he goes to an “ordinary” school – school of general education – thanks to his mother’s persistence. There is no special school for visually impaired/hearing-impaired children in Liepaja. It is far too difficult to move to Riga. So it was decided that Kirils would be able to study in an “ordinary” school; and he succeeds in it very well! Undoubtedly, this is additional care and load for the parents, particularly the mother. Kirils does not write in exercise books, only on pages or mostly listens. The mother scans and enlarges each text that is to be learnt, and so it goes every day, with every task, with every text... It is a bit easier now, since they have got a screen magnifier. It is similar to a computer: the text is placed under the big magnifier, which enlarges it and allows Kirils to read. They were waiting to get this screen magnifier glass for 3 years; this is a completely out-dated model, but it still facilitates the studying process. He cannot see with an ordinary magnifier, while this magnifier ensures contrast – white screen and black letters. Newer models are a lot better, for instance, they have black screens and yellow letters, but the line to get this magnifier is very long...

The class in which Kirils studies is very friendly and compassionate, the form teacher is understanding and helpful. The class has a task – everyone should help Kirils – take him to lunch and help him move within the classroom. Kirils has very good memory, he tries to write himself. When he was in his first grade, it was a lot harder without a hearing aid and FM system. The teacher explained everything exactly to Kirils by speaking directly in the ear. The mother says special thanks to ABLV Charitable Foundation, ABLV Bank’s workers and clients, since Kirils has received a digital hearing aid and FM system, as well as a possibility to go to a summer camp thanks to their donations.

However, hearing is not the only problem, Kirils’ sight is getting worse over the years. Several years ago he was able to distinguish colours and see outlines with both of his eyes, but now one eye reacts only to light-darkness, whereas the other one – slightly sees outlines.

Kirils often goes to a swimming pool. He has certain difficulties in a swimming pool, since he has to take off his hearing aids and the coach is unable to be next to him all the time, Kirils does not hear other children. But he has remembered the contours of the swimming pool by touch and enjoys every minute in a swimming pool; it is impossible to persuade him to get out :).  We are even demonstrated a short film, in which Kirils’ swimming skills can be seen. During the summer, the boy often goes to sea or a nearby quarry to have a swim and to sunbathe. Kirils plays chess, goes to a chess club. The whole Kirils’ family is so positive that it seems impossible that the people, whose child has such severe diagnosis, are able to see good things in everything and to move forward by their own efforts.

The mother has to devote every day to Kirils – she goes together with him to school, participates in P.E. lessons and takes him to swimming classes. The mother cannot do a paid job, since Kirils requires attention and accompanying personnel all the time, he cannot walk in the street alone. The mother could have been granted the rights of a care assistant, but the State Medical Commission for the Assessment of Health Condition and Working Ability refuses to do so, since the diagnosis is insufficient (!). We will try to help the family to solve this problem.

As we are about to leave, Kirils treats us with a cake, since we have a long road to go and the teachers (this is how he calls us since the camp) definitely have to try the cake he has chosen himself :). As we are leaving, we agree that the next time we will meet in Riga at a hockey game.

And it happened so, in the end of October Kirils visited HC “Dinamo Riga” game together with the mother, after the game he had a chance to talk to hockey players and got presents and autographs; it was a great adventure for him. The mother says that he was talking about it for a whole week :).

In order to improve and develop Kirils’ health, the dolphin therapy in Ukraine was recommended. The mother plans that they might go there in February 2014.
The total costs are Ls 2,300.

Let’s help!

Kirls is already supported by Riga restaurant “Olīve”. Restaurant visitors have an opportunity to donate directly to Kirils.

On 12 December, in order to support Kirils the restaurant “Olīve” (56 Ģertrūdes Street, Riga) will organize a special “Dinner in the Dark”; all incomes from this dinner will be donated for Kirils’ rehabilitation. During their “Dinner in the Dark”, the visitors will be given an opportunity to enjoy their meal in the dark relying only on their hearing, touch and taste. Thus, they will able to feel at least a bit, what it is like to be blind.

The price of the dinner is LVL 15 per person, please, make your reservations by phone 27043010.

Thanks to the restaurant “Olīve” and particularly to its owner Ingars Kalnieks for the initiative and support!

STILL NEED HELP: LVL 684,75 (from LVL 2300,-; 27.12.13.*)
* We will be regularly updating the list of donators and the amount of the provided help
* We will definitely inform about the exact use of the donations in our next photo-report

Inga Skrastiņa – LVL 10,- (20.11.13.)
Vladimirs Šults – LVL 25,- (20.11.13.)
Anonīms ziedotājs – LVL 6,- (3.12.13.)
Sandra Blunava – LVL 15,- (06.12.13.)
Zigmārs Bunka – LVL 50,- (16.12.13.)
Anonīms ziedotājs – LVL 5,- (27.12.13.)
Aigars Rozentāls – LVL 15,- (27.12.13.)
Jeļena Hodarenoka – EUR 15,- (03.01.2014)
Jūlijs Adamovičs – EUR 30,- (15.01.2014)
Anonīms EUR 10,- (17.03.14.)
Anonīms EUR 5,- (07.04.14.)
Kristīne Buharinska EUR 25,00 (29.08.14.)
Agnese Treilone EUR 10,00 (28.08.14.)
Anonīms EUR 20,00 (02.09.14.)
Inese Iļjina Eur 20,00 (14.10.14.)

January 2014
In the end of the last year, we assisted Kirils and his mother during their visit to the State Commission of Physicians for Health and Work Capacity Examination. Mother expresses many thanks, because she believes that it is only due to our presence that she has been granted the rights of nursing assistant (an absurd situation yet still existing in state institutions).

Donations collected during the game of HC Dinamo Riga – EUR 614.50 (17.01.2014)

Kirils is supported by Riga restaurant “Olīve”. Restaurant visitors have an opportunity to donate directly to Kirils. Thanks to the restaurant “Olīve” and particularly to its owner Ingars Kalnieks for the initiative and support!
Donation phone: 90006888 (fee for the call EUR 1.42)


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