Paul* is an incredible father to Yulia, a 9 year old girl with special needs. He is also a designer, book illustrator, interpreter, poet, and a co-founder of a charitable foundation. As a result of the generosity of MTU’s supporters, Paul started to dream big. I asked Paul to share his story. He asked me to keep it confidential. I hope, this interview will inspire you.
Tanya: Your love for your daughter goes beyond anything I have heard of. You are the one who protected her even while she was in the womb. Tell me more about it.
Paul: I was about to move to Warsaw for a well-paid job when we found out we were pregnant, so I turned down the job to be with my family. Six months into the pregnancy, the ultrasound showed problems in our girl’s development. The doctors immediately suggested an abortion, and I said ‘no’. Outside pressure started mounting – relatives, friends, doctors. They just didn’t understand her value. For me, our child’s birth was the brightest, most joyous moment of my life. Nothing else even comes close. After Yulia was born and placed on my wife’s chest, the first thing the doctor said was, “Would you please sign a letter of rejection for your disabled child?” I hit him in the face, broke his jaw, and he ran away. Yulia is a living, breathing child that I love and will always take care of, even if finding support is difficult.
From what I understand, even though you needed help you didn’t trust MTU at first.
Well, yeah. Why would they want to help me? At that time we had nothing. We were in debt and help from our relatives was scarce. But our daughter desperately needed professional care, and I decided to give MTU a chance. Now I know that everything MTU does is so valuable. I don’t know any other organization in Ukraine that does more for children with special needs and their parents. We take all MTU can offer. I’ve see huge changes in Yulia. Now she can stand still, sit by herself without falling, and she can interact with others. Though she doesn’t speak, she shows emotions. She understands, and she responds because of MTU’s exceptional care and therapy. MTU’s great example of doing good and doing it with excellence.
So how did you come to a decision to start a charity?
Several years ago I went to MTU to pick up our Christmas gift. I really wanted to return the favor. I asked ‘What do you need?’ I earned little, and was in debt, but still felt like giving back in whatever way I could. They suggested that I could help with monthly diaper packages. I posted an ad for donations in social media, and people actually gave! Over the next few weeks, we received several thousand grivna. At that point, I realized that I wanted to make charity a part of my life.
So how did it happen?
Several months later, I met a marketing specialist with a vision for a global charity project. I told her “If I ever wanted to help anybody, it would be MTU. They helped my daughter with special needs.” So we started a charitable foundation called ‘Charity Postcard’. Our mission is to support rehabilitation centers in Ukraine. We raise money by selling postcards with the art of famous Ukrainian painters and illustrators. All profit goes to help various projects for people with special needs in Ukraine.
Thank you for your grateful heart and support! What are your plans for the foundation’s future?
Our ultimate goal is to raise enough support that rehab centers can continue to expand until every disabled child in Ukraine has access to a rehab services.
That sounds fantastic! We are with you. Thank you for your time and your passion. May God bless your family, your work, and your charity.
*Names changed for confidentiality purposes