‘I Just Keep It Cool’
Dima was born in early October, and it possibly explains his nature, a bright and extremely deep kind of guy that he is. He looks successful and cheerful, on the threshold of adulthood, but you’ll never tell by his looks what he’s been through by his 16th birthday. There’ve been losses, hospitals, foster care, a series of orphanages.
Dima tells about his life with a dash of irony and a huge desire to make himself heard : orphanages are nothing but an attractive picture, what children truly need is a home!
Before Dima turned 9, he’d lived with his mom and sister who was 15 years older. It happened all of a sudden : he’d had a severe headache before, then he fell on the spot, he had suffered a brain haemorrhage. After he’d been operated on, he fell into a coma, and stayed in intensive care. The operating surgeon told his mom that Dima needed an operation at Burdenko Institute of Neurosurgery, and if she didn’t want to be on the waiting list, she’d better find 200 000 roubles because it was urgent. Mom worked as a seamstress, her salary was very low, and she couldn’t pay. Then Dima’s sister had found a way out. If the mother gave up her parental rights, Dima’s would get a status of a child deprived of parental care, and would get an immediate and free medical treatment. So she did. Dima had regained consciousness, he had to learn how to walk, how to speak, how to do elementary things all over again.
After that, he was sent to the children’s home ‘Rainbow’. ‘ It was a boarding establishment for children with retarded mental development. I had attended a regular school before, so it was a shock to me. Nobody to talk with, no schooling at all. He’d spent 2 years there, when a married couple wanted to become his foster parents. ‘At first everything went smooth, I was happy to live in a family, but pretty soon both of them started drinking, they were not abusing alcohol, no, but something had changed. They were picking on me all the time, like I didn’t learn a poem for school, and my foster mother made a huge scene claiming I was not doing anything. She threw things at me, she put me down, she beat me up. The last straw was when I came home 20 minutes late, and they beat me up again’.
Dima decided to never come back. After the night outside, he came straight to the local Guardianship and Tutorship Agency and told his story. He said he’d like to live in an orphanage. The Agency sent him to hospital first, then they’d found a proper children’s home for him. ‘There I felt comfortable at last, I made friends with a lot of guys, I started to learn more, I just relaxed, finally’.
Dima has a great ear for music, he plays football, he’s keen on pen-tapping ( sort of beatbox, when the beat is tapped on the table with a pen). He’s a kind-hearted, talented boy, the one who thinks of others, and cares about them.
His eyes light up, he can ask questions and listen to the answers, he possesses the insight and the flexibility of judgment. Dima dreams about travelling to Europe, and Prague is the first on his list of destinations. ‘I’ve been to St Pete recently, absolutely fascinated with it! I’d won this trip, first place in the City of the Future competition, was so happy!’
‘ I think that nothing is impossible as long as you keep it cool and learn. For example, the Chance’s Campus organised by the ABC of Good has given me the opportunity to learn how to manage my resources, control my body, and, first and foremost, I’ve found out what gives me inspiration.’
Asked about what he’d like to change in the system of orphanages, Dima doesn’t come up with a fast reply, and after a while he says, ‘ You know, nothing should be changed, it just doesn’t make sense. What we need is to find families for all the children. I’ve been lucky, but my case is an exception, it’s only possible to live in a family, that’s the only way!’