In September of 2005, Petrova’s Promise made its first visit to Russia. The purpose of the trip was to start contact with and get support from various Russian organizations that work with disabled orphans. These organizations included Maria’s Children, Diema’s Dream and Magic House.
In the years since Petrova’s Promise began, Kim has made over 20 trips to Russia visiting various orphanages. She has assessed the needs of the children and then returned to these same orphanages to fulfill the promises that she made to the children.
The children were in dire need of leg orthotics (braces), walkers, hand and leg prosthetics, and most of all, love.
Maria’s Children is a foundation that uses art therapy to rehabilitate orphans and children with special needs. In Russia, people with deformities are looked down upon and are not assimilated into society. During Kim’s visits to this art studio, Kim has met many orphans and participated in dinners made by the children meant to replicate a family atmosphere.
During Kim’s first visit to Maria’s Children, she met Sasha. Sasha is a gifted teenage Russian orphan who was born without hands and part of one leg. Sasha looked Kim in the eyes and asked for artificial hands so that he may someday be able to live without public humiliation. Petrova’s Promise fulfilled the promise of giving Sasha artificial hands in 2007. Kim arranged for Sasha to receive three sets of artificial hands, which had varying degrees of function and cosmetic appearance.
Despite his disability, Sasha is a gifted painter and a true inspiration to other disadvantaged Russian orphans. Sasha is now living independently and is self-sufficient as an artist, due to the support and education provided by Maria’s Children Art Studio.
Through Maria’s Children, Kim also met Nadya, a 14 year old orphan who lost her leg when she was run over by a train. When Kim learned of Nadya’s story, she promised to provide her with a custom made artificial leg.
The proper construction and custom fitting of a prosthetic leg is an involved process. To enable the proper fit, Nadya needed to come to the USA so that a specialist could custom design, construct and fit a leg that worked with her unique conditions. The prosthetic leg was made by Geauga Rehabilitation Engineering in Chardon, Ohio.
Nadya stayed with the Wepler family during this process so that daily trips could be made to the prosthetist office. After struggling with the stigma that such medical conditions create in the Russian culture, Nadya is extremely grateful for her new leg.
Nadya has continued to make trips to the USA to stay with the Wepler family so that adjustments could be made to her prosthesis. Kim has stayed close with Nadya all these years, even recently having lunch with 25 year old Nadya and her daughter! Nadya plans to become involved with the foster home when it opens to “give back” as a way of saying thank you.
Petrova’s Promise continues to work closely with Maria’s Children on various projects. This includes bringing a group of teachers and psychologists from a Russian orphanage to tour various schools in New York City that work with children with disabilities. These teachers and psychologists are eager to learn how they can improve their programs in Russia by observing the teaching programs in the USA.
Diema’s Dream supports Charity House, an orphanage for disabled orphans. While there, Kim has met with many children, including Katya. Katya is a young orphan girl with hydrocephalus that Kim has visited many times during her trips to Russia. Katya is unable to do anything more than lay in bed. She is unable to turn her head or speak.
Despite her horrible illness, every time Kim visits Katya and says hello, Katya responds with a huge heart-warming smile. Petrova’s Promise is proud to provide this Russian orphanage with funding and much-needed medical equipment, such as leg braces, walkers and physical therapy programs to help the lives of Katya and the many other disabled orphans who have so little.
Orphanages in Ermolino and Fryazino, Russia
Many orphans with neurological disabilities including Cerebral Palsy live in these orphanages in Ermolino and Fryazino, Russia. Kim has made many trips to visit the children that live there, to assess what medical equipment they need. She has returned with the proper leg braces, walkers and physical therapy programs.
Orphanage: Vischgorad, Russia
This orphanage in Vischgorod, Russia is made up of approximately 60 children, ranging in age from 10 to 17, who have been labeled with learning disabilities. Toothbrushes, toys and personalized gifts are provided to the children to brighten their day.
In 2006, Petrova’s Promise established a Pen Pal Program with some of these children. On various visits throughout the years, Kim has delivered correspondence from children in the U.S. to the children of this orphanage to let them know that there are others out in the world that care about them.
Petrova’s Promise also delivers books and educational supplies to help the children improve their English. Petrova’s Promise is committed to providing continual emotional support and much needed supplies to these children.
Magic House was a foster home for teenage orphans that provided rehabilitation and education opportunities. Petrova’s Promise provided financial assistance and supplies, equipment and emotional support to the orphans during her visits.
How you can help
where your money is going—and that it’s making a difference. Petrova’s Promise is seeking funding to pay for the care of the children, medical supplies and furnishings including furniture, dishes, towels, etc.