Community Connections Belarus
"Preventing Child Abuse and Neglect
Ten Year Anniversary Update"
Keep Our Children Safe
Child advocates around the globe are dedicated to creating safe, stable and nurturing families and communities for all children. Ten years ago, a USAID Community Connections delegation from Belarus spent three weeks in Wisconsin sharing ideas about how to prevent the abuse and neglect of children and build resilient families. The country leaders returned to Belarus inspired by new ideas that changed the lives of thousands of children and families in Belarus.
Katerina Kovrova adapted the Big Brothers Big Sisters model that builds positive relationships between young people and older mentors and then achieved her dream of opening a Family Center. The “Senior Friend” project has now been replicated in 40 education institutions, including schools, orphanages and boarding schools. The program has trained a cadre of 150 child protection specialists and 50 volunteers. Learn more about the "Healthy Choice" project on Facebook. Opened in 2008, her dream Family Center offers activities for children and education sessions for parents. Read more about her achievements recognized by USAID here.
Margarita Priakhina implemented a “Blue Ribbon Campaign” to end child abuse after meeting with Wisconsin’s Child Abuse and Prevention Board. As President of the NGO “Children Not For Abuse” (CNFA), she created an awareness campaign during April’s Child Abuse Prevention month events using the Blue Ribbon model. “Children Not for Abuse” has been affiliated with the international ECPAT Network (End Child Prostitution, Pornography, Abuse, and Trafficking) since 2000. Follow CNFA on Facebook.
Andrey Makhanov, developed a vision for a comprehensive child abuse prevention and response system for Belarus through expansion of the NGO "Ponimanie”. Over the past 10 years Ponimanie expanded to include a Child Helpline, 18 multi-disciplinary child advocacy centers for interviewing, Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and a Clinical Model for rehabilitation of children who suffered from violence and abuse. Andrey has returned to the La Crosse area several times and partnered with the National Child Protection Training Center at Gundersen Health System in La Crosse. In 2014, the International Society to Prevent Child Abuse and Neglect (ISPCAN) recognized Ponimanie with its Multi-Disciplinary Team Award. Read about the most recent child advocacy center here.