Today was without doubt one of best days of my professional life for it was surely work in the legal industry that made it possible. Today my wife and I visited an extremely special place in Gorlovka, Ukraine. We visited the children’s specialist ward at Hospital No. 2 and met some real life Angels, new to this world … and a few that have been around for a little longer.
For those of you who don’t know much about the Ukraine, it is Europe’s poorest country. The Ukraine has been literally pillaged by decades of rampant out of control corruption. In what should be one of Europe’s greatest countries, with its abundance of natural resources, the average monthly salary in a city like Gorlovka is just USD500. It is no wonder that much of the country looks back to the former USSR with great fondness - life was better then.
If the last few decades have not been tough enough already, this beautiful country is now in a state of civil war. But the people of the Ukraine are strong as that is what life here requires for many. Here family is strong, tradition is strong, culture is strong - the people are passionate. But for some though, in this already tough country, life will be harder still. Life will not begin with or offer the comforts of family.
Sadly, in the Ukraine many children are abandoned at birth to the care of a State that is bankrupt. A mother who gives birth can sign a form and her child is whisked away into State care - there is more paperwork involved in selling a car. We at GLS so desperately wanted to help these children because who could be more deserving than a beautiful baby who has entered this world in such a harsh fashion.
Having previously had cause to visit the children’s hospital in Gorlovka we had decided that this was where GLS would help. Just try and imagine what a public health care system would be like in the Ukraine, particularly at this time when funding for many public institutions in the East of Ukraine has been interrupted. The tireless doctors just do not have the basic resources, let alone medical supplies, they need. Yet, each day they perform seeming miracles in the circumstances. Cries are quieted, tummies are filled, and pain is eased. Health is returned for many.
When we asked how we could help Hospital No. 2 we thought it might be a new x-ray machine that was needed. We were blown away by what they requested. It was not some new high-tech piece of medical equipment – it was just simply baby change tables. The ones that they had were so old and dilapidated that they were not safe to place babies on them to change their nappies and otherwise administer care.
So, this was something that GLS could take care of. We commissioned the construction of 16 new hospital grade baby preparation tables – two for each room in the children’s ward. Today we delivered those tables to Hospital No. 2. The gratitude with which these tables were received was humbling. Just think about it - the biggest help we could provide was a safe table on which to prepare these newborn Little Angels. When we asked what next we could do they showed us their baby cots. Believe us - we have our next project!
The nurses in this hospital earn around USD120 per month - the doctors not much more – USD250 month. The staff at Hospital No. 2 care for these babies as though they were their own. These children, and so many more just like them, need more than a little help and we were so pleased to be able to help make a small start. There is still so much more to be done, particularly for those children who, when they are well enough to leave the hospital, will be taken to a State orphanage. We met some of those babies today and it was impossibly difficult to consider their fate – life ought to be kinder to these Little Angels.
My 16-month old son has just climbed up on the bed where I have literally just finished this post. He is jumping around on the bed just as happy as can be. I am sure he knows how much he is loved but I feel the need to go and hold him close and tell him again for the twentieth time today. And, as I do, I think of those children at Hospital No. 2, and all those hospitals across the world just like it. Where is their home? Such Angels deserve a far better welcome to this world