The Church lends a helping hand to expectant mothers who found themselves in a difficult situation. They are provided with a shelter, food and clothes in order to save unborn children.
Father Grzegorz visited all maternity welfare centres in Kirov, Slobodskoy and Kirovo-Chepetsk in order to find expectant mothers who need help. The good idea was endorsed in all but one centres. As a result two women who were forced to have pregnancy terminated (one of them sometimes had nothing to eat, the other was beaten by her husband), decided to keep their babies. It is a great pleasure for father Grzegorz because these are two saved lives.
Father Grzegorz Zwolinski, a priest of the Roman-Catholic parish: "One of our parishioners offered her apartment which she inherited after her grandmother's death for those who have no shelter or have problems in family: husbands beat them or drink or parents reject their daughter."
The major part of money is devoted by Polish Catholic Church, but the Kirovites, regardless of their confession, help as well, providing with clothes, money or food. The project lasts more than a month.
Any woman who wants to keep her unborn baby can get help hear. Nobody insists on a woman's or her child's entering Catholicism.
Tatiana learned that she was five-months pregnant. Aware of her difficult family situation, her friends reasoned her into having the pregnancy terminated. But Tatiana wanted to give birth to a child, though there was no one to help her.
Tatiana: "He beat me for the first time after the birth of the elder child. Then it began to happen again and again. There were sleepless night. It was impossible to stay, it influenced the elder child and myself as well. When I learned about pregnancy I wondered how it is still alive inside me, survived in such situation. It seems it wants to live very much."
Today Tatiana is six-months pregnant. She feels that she bears a girl, and wants to name her Katerina. She is sure now she and her two children will be alright.
Tatiana: "The baby's health is the most important."
But several weeks ago Tatiana was going to have an abortion. She does not show her face, because is afraid of her former husband's relatives. Tatiana was forced to leave her husband because of his alcoholism. She took her three-year-old son and left her husband, and only a month later she learned that she is pregnant again.
Tatiana: "The situation was difficult enough when I learned that I am pregnant for the second time. I did not know what to do, and my friends told me: "Do something, now you can do any thing for money."
It was impossible to have another child. Provincial girl found herself in the city without dwelling and job. Abortion was the only way out.
Tatiana: "In that situation I had only one aim: to take the child out of it. I did not think of myself. I knew that I had nowhere to go, and they took advantage of it. But I thought there had to be the place, because it is impossible that a mother with a child have no place to go."
Nevertheless the way out was found. The head of a maternity welfare centre gave Tatiana the phone number of father Grzegorz. So the woman became the member of a project "Bathlehem in Vyatka". In this church the lives of unborn children had been saved since April. The idea of the charity project appeared five years ago. But the project turned into reality only this year. The priest of Catholic parish visited all maternity welfare centres in the city and some in other towns of the region. He did not just agitate against abortions, but offer real help.
Father Grzegorz: "It may be a future teacher, doctor, engineer, priest, scientist who is not let to be born for the proud of his family, city, country."
The money for the help for expectant mothers is received from Poland. Kirov businessmen help too, providing with food and money. Parishioners bring clothes.
She comes here every day, tells father Grzegorz about her joys and unburdens her mind. She found here the solution of her difficulties.
Father Grzegorz: "We hire an apartment for Tanya. She may live there till the birth of the baby and two years after it."
Tatiana has two jobs. Her husband promised to be better, but is still drinking. Tatiana has not yet took off her wedding ring, but does not find herself dependant.
Father Grzegorz decided not to be satisfied with what has already been achieved. In September the priest of the Catholic parish is going to deliver lectures in perinatal centres and in schools.
Yelena Chukorova, Vladimir Krestianinov
Information Channel "Gorod"
We speak often of the rights of the child, forgetting sometimes that the first and main right is the right to life. The society does not often give the child opportunity to exercise this right, allowing it not to be born. Not many folks know, that in the city there is a project providing help for pregnant women so that they can decide to keep their babies. Firstly, it is moral support. For this purpose father Grzegorz visited maternity welfare centres and told their heads about the project. In fourteen centres of fifteen they support the idea.
Father Grzegorz: "Only in one maternity welfare centre they rejected the idea because of rather funny reason. They said they would not talk to me without documents. Until I get documents, they will not discuss it. It seems the life of a person depends on documents."
Only two women decided to participate in project and accept help until now. One of them told the head of the maternity welfare centre about her difficult situation.
"She told me: "If you decide to have the pregnancy terminated, we will not do it in this centre. If you go somewhere, it may be dangerous for your health and the elder child may not stay with you. You will have a lot of problems. This is dangerous. Do not even think about it. I can offer you a way out: there is a certain person, there is a project..."
Religious affiliation has no importance in this project. Catholics have no purpose to insist on project members' entering Catholicism.
Father Grzegorz: "I am very happy that the Orthodox Church supports the project. I told metropolitan Chrisanph, he is very happy. Father Aleksandr Perminov, the deacon of the Cathedral of the Icon of Our Saviour Not Made by Hands, supports the project too and is ready to help because both women are Orthodox, and we do not insist on their or their children's entering Catholicism."
Tatiana: "He lent me moral support and helped me with the lodging. I hired an apartment and they pay for it. They help me with food as well."
If we say that children need protection, that is first of all protection against us, against our rash decisions and thoughtless actions. Give the child the most important right - the right to live.
When Tatiana learned that she was pregnant, she was anything but happy. The young mother has already one child and a lot of family problems. She wanted to live independently long ago, but did not have an opportunity. The second child could make the situation only worse.
Tatiana: "I have no apartment, no moneyed assistance, I was alone. I understood I could rely only on myself, if I left. When I learned that I was pregnant with the second child, I was shocked. Of course, there were possibilities to have the pregnancy terminated. If one wants very much, one can have an abortion. But I did not want."
She did not know what to do. It was late to have the pregnancy terminated, but it could be done, however, with danger for health and even for life. She consulted many doctors, but they refused. At last, upon the recommendation of her friend she consulted a person who could help.
Tatiana: "I came, explained her everything. She was the head of a maternity welfare centre. I told her everything. She answered that she understood but she could not help already. It was to late, it was impossible. The only thing she could offer was this project. But she told me nothing about it, just gave me the phone number of a certain person. I read: father Grzegorz..."
Now she meets with father Grzegorz, the priest of Roman-Catholic parish in Kirov, almost every day, tells how she is, how she feels. She does not think of abortion any more.
Tatiana: "Of course, I was shocked. I get used to the fact that no one helps nobody, that you can rely only on yourself. But during one week these people showed their deeds, helped me with apartment and with money."
In other countries there are programs helping women who want to have the pregnancy terminated according to some circumstances. These programs have been working long ago. The idea to create such project in Kirov appeared four years ago, but there were no opportunities. At Easter one of the parishioners took up this idea again. She inherited an apartment after her grandmother's death, she could offered it without payment for those who need shelter. After this father Grzegorz make a good deal of work. He met with Kirov businessmen and doctors, representatives of the Orthodox Church. Now there are only two members of the project: along with Tatiana the parish helps sixteen-year-old Vlada.
Father Grzegorz: "She lives with her mother who does not have permanent job. She even cadged in streets sometimes because she does not have money to buy food when her mother did not work. In her case we help with food for five thousand roubles per month."
This project is not valid for one occasion only. "Bethlehem in Vyatka" will last twenty years. The church can take care of fifteen women simultaneously, help them before the birth of the child and two years after it. Nobody insists on their entering Catholicism.
Father Grzegorz: "There is no such condition that we help only Catholics. This project is for everybody, regardless of their religious opinions. Since these women are Orthodox, we do not insist on their or their children's entering Catholicism, though our parish is Catholic. There is no such danger. I will be glad if we need help of the Orthodox Church: discussions, sacraments, religious support."
Tatiana: "For me it does not matter, for me there is no difference: Catholic, Orthodox or Protestant. What is important is that it is belief in good, divine, that which really helps."
Four enterprises agreed to participate in the project. Everyone who wants to help to save lives of unborn children, can learn the further information on the website of the parish.
Irina Syrtseva, Aleksandr Bykasov, News Service "Centre".
"Bethlehem in Vyatka"
Long-awaited godsent gift "Bethlehem in Vyatka". In Kirov the project to help expectant mothers who are in a difficult situation.
A member of a project named her little daughter Dariya. The woman says: "She is godsent", meaning that the girl would not be born without the help of the Catholic parish. When Tatiana found herself in difficult family situation, many of her friends persuaded her to have the pregnancy terminated, but father Grzegorz advised her to keep the baby, helped with lodging and money. Today, happy mother of two children (the elder son turned three recently), she plans for the future bravely.
Tatiana, the member of the project "Bethlehem in Vyatka": "I graduated College of Art, have certificates of a plasterer and painter and of staff assistant. And I have another job. I can take care of myself."
As father Grzegorz, the organizer of the project, says, Tatiana's happiness is achievement of many people. All this time the Kirovites have been helping with clothes, money and food.
Father Grzegorz Zwolinski, the priest of the Roman-Catholic parish: "Five women have been participating in the project since May. Four children was born, and the fifth is due in a month. There will be five saved lives, five little angels."
The rooms where expectant mothers live till they put their lives in order, were provided by one of the parishioners. There cannot be unnecessary apartments, but Yulia persuaded her mother to sacrifice self-profit to totally unknown people.
Yulia Gruzdeva, the owner of the apartment: "We planned to benefit from the apartment. Then my mother get acquainted with Tatiana. Now she understands, how it is important to give what you have to people who have nothing. And she agreed."
Recently another guest appeared here. The girl came from Perm two days ago, when she learned about the project. Lena was five-months pregnant when her own father banished her from the house. The was living at the railway station two weeks, without an idea what to do next.
Now the expectant mother feels good, doctors promised her a boy. Lena says that she will find reason to live with little Vanya.
Yelena, the member of the project "Bethlehem in Vyatka": "He kicks harder, wants outside, has had enough of sitting there. I tell him: "It will be soon, wait for another month."
The girl is sure that her family will be happy because she kept her child even in the most difficult situation.