Create Yourself

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The Moscow Times together with the Charities Aid Foundation, of CAF, began the charitable creative program "Create Yourself" to benefit children with disabilities in May. Thanks to the help of our partners and friends, many people have learned about the program, which aims to provide art therapy to needy children.

There are, of course, illnesses that art cannot heal, but it is still possible to help children express themselves artistically in an attempt to make them happy and feel important.

What have we done so far? We have created the web site www.sotvorisebya.ru, where children post their drawings and photos. We also have:

• Conducted a press conference with RIA-Novosti about the issue of social adaptation of children

• Raised about 800,000 rubles for the treatment and education of children. All the money was raised by nonprofit organizations: Downside Up, Quality of Life, CBOR, SOS children's villages, ROON

• Participated in the premiere of "Insight" (www.pro-zrenie.com), a film about how a person, in the grip of circumstances, may lose faith in life until something happens that lets him find the strength to carry on. It's a story about faith, about love, about hope.

Within the framework of The Moscow Times' program "Create Yourself," we have started a series of publications about people who, despite having serious health problems, have been able to find the power and desire to live and grow. Some of them have achieved things that even healthy people can only dream of. Here are two of them -- the others you can read at www.sotvorisebya.ru

The Create Yourself section did not involve the reporting or the editorial staff of The Moscow Times.

We also have started collecting inspirational stories -- real stories from the lives of people who, despite having health problems, were able to find strength in themselves, not just to live on but to achieve proper accomplishments.

In addition, we are organizing and conducting master classes and educational seminars for disabled children.

In October, a photobook of children's drawings will be published. Each participant will receive a copy of the album and feel like a real artist.

In November there will be an exhibition of the work of the young artists at the Moscow Museum of Contemporary Art.

Also in November, the presentation of the photobook along with a press conference and a charity auction will take place with the help of the Marriot Aurora hotel.

Next year, the project "Create Yourself" will be presented to Moscow city government in connection with the "2009 -- Equal Opportunity" awards.

We have already done a lot, but we want to do even more. We would like for even more people to learn about the project so that our little participants can go to the exhibition and see their work, receive photobooks, get money for treatment, and learn something new. We look forward to welcoming more children into the program.

You can get involved. Give yourself the opportunity to hear the gratitude of the children.