Within the last 9 years Tatyana Karpukhina has been an executive director of the State of the Former Street Kids and has taken on her shoulders all the hardships and joyful moments of the restoration of children’s lives.
Tatyana Karpukhina, the director of the center of children’s rehabilitation “Republic Pilgrim” has become a winner of the annual contest “The mariupolite of the year” The participation in this contest has become a great surprise. It means that the work of the entire staff and the interaction with social care of the city was appreciated. The ceremony of awards was in a solemn atmosphere. The people who made a great contribution to the development of the city in different spheres were gathered there. The mayor of the city Yuri Khotlubei personally handed the awards and spoke warmly about each of the winners.
This contest “The Mariupolite of the year” has been taken place since 1999, and it is about the people who significantly contributed to the life of the city – its social, economic, cultural and scientific life and those who make Mariupol known on the state and the international level.
Tatyana speaks about the award as of the result of the work of all the staff who on a daily basis tries their best to take care and help the children to be set free from the issues of all kinds and to find their way in life. However the most of the problems fall on the shoulders of the director.
We asked Tatyana a few questions.
Corr. Why did you choose to work with difficult children and adolescents?
Tatyana Karpukhina: I always loved to work with children even though it is not that easy at times and also we can say it is a thankless task because we can’t see the result of this work at once but we realize that what you invest in their hearts today will bear good fruits one day. This is why even before I became a director of the Republic Pilgrim I had got a pedagogical degree in the Mariupol State University of Humanities. I felt I could realize myself in this sphere.
Corr. How did you become the director of the Republic Pilgrim?
Tatyana Karpukhina: I came to the evangelical church in 1996 and took an active part in the ministry of the church. I loved the fact the church is always in action realizing different ideas. This is why when in 1999 the church purchased the facility which was ruined at that time I was one of those who would come regularly to renovate the building and to make it a decent place and I also took part in the work with the first kids who were taken from streets. The church decided to give this building to the ministry to street kids and orphans. This decision was supported by the Illych Metallurgical plant and they helped us to fix the building and to make it a good place for kids to live in. I was just a volunteer and would come to help the kids around. When I go t to know the first pilgrims better I attached to them with all my heart. I think nobody would stay indifferent after even one try to be in
involved in the life of these kids.
After some time there was a redundancy at my place of work and I had a choice to go find another place that won’t let me spend time with the kids or to continue serving them. I had to make a serious decision so I started listening to my heart and to pray. I realized that it would be too hard to never be able to help them again, just to leave them.
At that time there was a vacancy of the position of a social pedagogue in Pilgrim so I jumped on the board. It was an answer for me so I left my service and started serving here in Pilgrim full time. And then in some time Gennadiy Mokhnenko, the president of the charity fund “Pilgrim” out of necessity asked me to take a position of the director for couple months. 2 months passed, three, four and this temporary position turned into permanent.
Corr: Was it easy to get used to this new position?
Tatyana Karpukhina:It was very heard at first. Much pressure from the outside, state services, lots and lots of different commissions to check our work. But after some time when the authority of our center has grown many judicial things started happening more rapidly and simple and it happens with the support of the city authorities. One more difficulty is the staff turnover but step by step this issue has disappeared and now we have a staff of those who are devoted to their work.
Corr: How can you define the purpose of your work?
Tatyana Karpukhina: Our goal is not just to restore lives of difficult children but to restore their micro social cell – their families – because all the problems of a child derive from the family. We try our best to help those parents who really need changes in their life. It brings us such a joy when we see good changes not only in the life a the child but in his or her family as well.
Corr: Do you always see a positive result?
Tatyana Karpukhina: Not always everything is so good. At times we feel discouraged working with difficult children. Sometimes you put all your heart to it and see no result. In such moments I remember the words of Mother Teresa: “ People will forget tomorrow what good you did today do good nevertheless. Share with people the best you have and it still won’t be enough, share your best with people nevertheless. As a matter of fact not so much the people need it, you and God need it”. So if your goal is wider you don’t depend in the instant success.
Corr: What advices could you give to the pedagogues working with difficult kids?
Tatyana Karpukhina: Regardless of the life experience the main characteristics of a pedagogue is to love these kids and to be willing to learn continually and to improve.
Corr: What attitude does your family have to your busy schedule?
Tatyana Karpukhina: I am very grateful to my husband Julian for his understanding and support in this work. He has been a volunteer in Pilgrim for years now. It would be impossible to have such ministry of full value without his help. Our lives are devoted to the Republic Pilgrim and this is why I am happy to keep on going and not to settle for less.
It is such an honor that our work is appreciated and valued in the city since the children and teenagers of today is the future of our city and our country.