Get to know the children through their own words

Nikolaev Orphanage # 5

Pavel Kisliakov and his sister Tatiana, on November 17, 2002. 

Pavel Kisliakov and his sister Tatiana, on November 17, 2002. 

The first official function of I Will was an essay contest held for the children in the Nikolaev orphanage. The purpose was to learn about the children and understand their lives and experiences. The theme of the essay was “I Will….”. The children were free to write about their future and all of the accomplishments they look forward to.

The essays were touching, sweet and at times heartbreaking. At the first I Will fundraiser in October 2002, we introduced the children to Canadian supporters through their essays. Everyone was touched at how creative, loving and inspiring the children were. They were wise beyond their years and all shared very sad life stories.

Here are some excerpts from these well written essays.
Thank you children for all your hard work.

Yuri Viktorin, 14 years old.
Yuri dreams of becoming a military officer so he can protect his country. “What is childhood? It must be happy and joyous. For me – I was taken to the school – orphanage #5 because my parents died when they were very young and my old grandfather could not bring me up. I was a sick child and kind doctors and teaches helped me. Now I am doing sports to better my health. My little sister Julia is learning with me in the same school. I love talking to her to remember my parents and my favourite grandmother. I need to grow strong so that I can help my small sister and old grandfather.”

Yuri Pnomarev, 12 years old. Yuri loves soccer and has won multiple soccer awards for the school. “My dream is to be a soccer player. I dream about having my own soccer uniform like Michael Ovien, and boots too. In our class our caretaker Valery Sergeevich is like my farther and Vera Grigorievna is like my mother. When I have my own family I will never give my kids to the orphanage. I will love them with all my might.”

Pavel Kisliakov, 11 years old. Pavel likes soccer, boxing, acrobatics and history. “The orphanage has replaced a lot for me, but it can not replace my parents. My life in the past was very hard. What I have lived through (with my sister Tatiana) I don’t want to talk about because this is very difficult. Now I am studying here in orphanage together with my sister. When I will have my own family I will never allow it to break. I will never allow my children experience orphanage. Every child wants to have parental care and wants to be loved by all of their family.” 

Gotsenbiller Ludmila, 12 years old. Gotsenbiller likes gymnastics, dancing and soccer. “I like it here in this big nice home. I don’t have parents just an old grandmother. She is very old and can not come to visit me often. She also does not have money that’s why she is not buying candies for me. In my free time I help our caretakers.”

Olena Smetanova, 11 years old. Olena has been in this orphanage for 3 years. She loves drawing. “I would like you (Canadian friends) to come and see how beautiful my homeland is. My dream is to be a Ukrainian language teacher so that I can teach people more about my homeland. Our school has many kind teachers and caretakers that love us. They are like our parents. I have a sister here. Her name is Julia and she is in grade 3.”

Valentina Osadchuk, 12 years old. Valentina dreams of being an English language interpreter and also likes soccer. “My family was big until one day my father left us so then we only had our mom. Now, I don’t know where my brothers are. My mom’s parental rights were taken away. It is only my sister and I left and we were given to the school orphanage.”

Dmitry Lavrentiev, 13 years old. Dmitry likes physics, games, languages and tennis. “My dream is to speak English, German and French and work overseas in a firm. Now I also dream about being the best at sports. I want to travel to Peking, Rome and New York to see their architecture and learn about their culture”.

Ania Ivanchenko, 14 years old. Ania’s two sisters and a brother live in the same orphanage. “Forever childhood remains in our memory like a magical and bright feeling. I live in Nikolayev – the city is 213 years old. I would like to be a singer in the future so that I can make people happy and fill their hearts with warmth and joy. Our minds and our lives are possible because of the powerful love of other people.”

Anastasia Kirilichenko, 14 years old. Anastasia likes embroidery and dreams of being a fashion designer. “My name is Anastasia. I am in the 8th grade. Orphanage #5 has replaced my dear home. I was given to the school 3 years ago. My parents are in jail. I study hard so I will not repeat destiny of my parents”.

Igor Dovgan, 14 years old. Igor loves soccer and dreams of becoming an officer. “I love soccer. My friends say that I am like a God when it comes to defensive moves. I also love gymnastics, acrobatics and drawing. In soccer I won a silver medal and 12 awards. In acrobatics I have received 3 rewards. I have many different dreams. I would like to see Egypt, Rome and Paris. There are my long term dreams but for now I would be happy if I had my own bike.”

Svetlana Adziadova, 14 years. Svetlana likes nature and finished musical school. “One can live very quietly without effort. Everyday can be like this, but I want to live for a creative challenge.”

Julia Nikolaychenko, 14 years old. Julia wants to be a teacher, finished musical school and likes playing sports. She believes that she knows what happiness is. “This was very long ago, but I remember well – our house, my parents, especially my mom – happy, beautiful, and young. This is how I see her in my dreams and I don’t want to wake up. Millions of children have this happiness: they don’t even guess how happy they are because they didn’t lose happiness. But I did, even though I once had it. I am 14 years old, 8 of them I cried. I miss my mom. I cry, when don’t see her, and cry when I see her – can’t look at her, how she is killing herself with drugs. How would I love to help her!”


The emotions of the essays and the ambitious dreams expressed by the children, knowing no boundaries, inspired us.  Even if the life and a future of one child could be changed for the better, I Will would be a success.

From these humble and touching beginnings, I Will was founded and has gone on to make the lives of hundreds of children better, allowing them more comfortable living conditions, better clothing, access to medicine and medical devices, access to hot water, communication with the outside world through the internet, skills to use in higher education and the workforce, and social events with other children.

Through the Essays we learned more about the children and recognized the ambitious students for outstanding scholastic achievements. 


Here are the photographs of children who wrote to us.