Christmas came early to prisons, hospitals and orphanages inPridnestrovie. For the past two weeks, American volunteers from aProtestant charity have been distributing aid in the unrecognizedcountry. They represent Children's Emergency Relief International(CERI) which has helped Pridnestrovie on a regular basis for the pastsix years.Christmas came early to prisons, hospitals and orphanages inPridnestrovie. For the past two weeks, American volunteers from aProtestant charity have been distributing aid in the unrecognizedcountry. They represent Children's Emergency Relief International(CERI) which has helped Pridnestrovie on a regular basis for the pastsix years.
TIRASPOL (Tiraspol Times) - In the past two weeks, American aidworkers visited orphanages, correctional facilities, hospitals andboarding schools across Pridnestrovie.
The volunteers, from Children's Emergency Relief International, CERI, distributed humanitarian aid.
One of the aid trucks from Children's Emergency Relief International, CERI, arriving in Pridnestrovie with help for orphans
CERI has worked in a close partnership with Pridnestrovie for sixyears now. Their work here started in 2001. Since then, charitableactions have been conducted on a regular basis. They are focusedprimarily on providing needy children with clothing, footwear, andmedicines. Whenever necessary, qualified medical assistance is alsoprovided.
The main goal of the organization, however, is to help orphans andstreet children find new foster care families to live with. To makethat happen, CERI works closely with local NGOs and aid groups. InPridnestrovie, this collaboration takes place with the Tiraspol-based"Giving children a childhood" group, which provides information abouthomeless children to CERI. For each child, CERI then locates anAmerican sponsor who provides a monthly sum for an adoptive family.
Santa'shelper: One of CERI's aid workers helps a Pridnestrovie orphan try on anew pair of shoes donated by the American charity.
The program, known as Foster and kinship care family sponsorships,covers all the needs of a child for $135 per month. Children'sEmergency Relief International describes it as "the deepest prayer ofan orphan":
"The foster and kinship care family sponsorships can answer the deepestprayer of an orphan – the desire to live in a loving family who willclaim them as their own. CERI is committed to finding loving familieswho want to help children by providing them with a subsidy that willrealistically meet that child’s needs, and not just keep them at themired poverty level. $135 per month can feed, clothe and meet theeducation and healthcare needs of a child and make such a prayer cometrue. Additionally, you have the opportunity to communicate back andforth with your sponsored child via email messages translated by ourstaff, a service that is available with all our sponsorships."
As part of the program, representatives from the charity conductregular inspections of the conditions of the residence and theeducational progress of each child.
- Meeting with President Smirnov
In an interview with local media, Dearing Garner, CERI's regionaldirector, explained why the organization was created. He said that theaid organization was formed in 1999 in the United States to handledonations which mostly come from Protestant churches. Despite itsorigins as a church-based group, CERI limits itself to charity and isnot engaged in missionary work. Since the organization was founded in1999, it has expanded operations and now helps children worldwide.
Aid is of a permanent, ongoing nature and the programs areimplemented with the full support of the governments of each country.In the case of Pridnestrovie, this means the PMR government, andDearing Garner said that he met personally with Pridnestrovie'sPresident Igor Smirnov in 2005. During the meeting, the two sidesagreed to help each other with the work done in Pridnestrovie.
Another set of disadvantaged Tiraspol kids helped Arild "Battle ofthe Bands" Bordøy with his latest music video. The Norwegian musicianand TV cameraman filmed the music video at Pridnestrovie state-runorphanage and home for mentally handicapped kids.
Americanvolunteers are in Tiraspol to distribute the aid among needy kids,seeing firsthand the harshness of life in an unrecognized country.
Pridnestrovie relies on private organizations for aid shipments. Asan unrecognized country, it has no formal membership in theinternational community and no access to international governmentinstitutions. Due to a still-unresolved territorial conflict betweenPridnestrovie and Moldova, foreign aid sent to Moldova is not sharedwith Pridnestrovie, despite occasional Moldovan claims to the contrary.
Children's Emergency Relief International (CERI) is a non-profitorganization committed to helping hurting children around the world.CERI has programs in Latin America, Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia andmost recently Africa. CERI's mission world-wide is to provide Hope forChildren, Healing for Families and Help for Communities. (Photos: Olvia Press)