From the idea to the realization

LET ‘S GIVE CHILDREN A CHANCE began, you could say, due to severalcoincidences.

The principle of helping children from Children ‘s homes was something I had been thinking about for several years already. It occurred to me at the time when the so-called “adoption at a distance” began in our country. People liked the idea that they could help a particular child and I said to myself that it was a pity not to direct this kind of help towards Czech children, who need it no less than the children of developing countries. I carried the idea in my head for a long time and I was always waiting to see if someone else would come up with the same idea… This did not happen and a desire to do something about it began to grow in me, but I was under quite a lot of pressure from my work and looking after my family, so was not left with much time or energy. When, after many years, I gave birth to my youngest son to add to my two now grown up children, I said to myself that, if I really wanted to concentrate on this problem and I didn‘t do it now, then I would never do it at all.


It came quite naturally for me to decide which were the children I wished to help. From my youth I had come into contact with children with various handicaps. My mother provided a child-care service in an institute for deaf children, my grandparents worked in a recreational centre for invalids, where, during my holidays, I often visited them and met children with various forms of problems as they came and left the centre. I have always had a very positive relationship with children and unconsciously I probably always tried to help those that needed it most.

So many causes exist that are in need of our help, so it is up to each one of us to find and support a cause that means the most to us. For me children are the clear choice and as we have 3 children, it upsets me very much that far from all children have the possibility to grow up surrounded by the loving care of their parents.


I am convinced that people should give aid primarily to the needy in the country that they live in. Surprising statistics rank Czechs as being in the front line in relation to support being directed out of our Republic, appearing therefore to leave support of our own regional areas in last place….. Why is it like this? I have no idea. But I believe it is a great pity!!


The idea of the possibility of helping children from children’s homes in the form of direct financial support for a particular child, from a particular individual, lay in my head for a very long time. To provide savings for one of the children, who do not have the luck to grow up in a functional family, so that they would have at least some financial capital for starting out in life as is usual in normal families, seemed to me to be a great idea. To know whom I am helping and with the view that, at an acceptable distance to all, I have the opportunity not only to write to the child, but also later on perhaps even to meet them, I found literally inspiring. And I believed that many other people would find it so too.

It was not until my third pregnancy and following maternal leave that I was able to turn my life completely upside down. Thanks to my friend Marketa, now my colleague, a lawyer who has already giving her services to the help line Legal Aid for the Foundation for Our Children for several years, I was introduced to Zuzana Baudyšová. She liked my idea and brought me to the conclusion that I should found my own organisation for the aid of children. Thanks to her I was able to visit my first children’s homes. The more I came to know about the children’s loneliness, of the reasons why they end up in children’s homes, of the situations that arise when they have to leave the homes, the more the desire to help them grew in me. And when I decide to do something and decide to get on with it, I nearly always see it through to the end.

I began by finding out more information relating to problematic children growing up in children’s homes. I must admit, as a complete novice I knew absolutely nothing about how the children’s homes functioned, about the specifics of children growing up in them, neither of the possibilities of adoptive families or of host care. There was a whole row of often shocking surprises waiting for me.

Because of this, I am very aware of how important it is to keep the public informed. There is terribly little written or talked about on this subject and amongst the public there are still many misconceptions and the spreading of incorrect information, which has a marked effect mainly on how the people view these children.


The more I found out, the more I wished to turn my attention professionally to something completely different to that which I had done up to now. With the support of my husband I decided to leave my work, which, although it was a highly-rated job left me feeling unfulfilled, and to concentrate my energies on something I felt had real meaning.


It took me almost a year to find out the necessary information relating to all the different problems either via the internet, from the children’s homes, from social workers and from non-profit organisations until I felt that I was beginning, at least a little, to be able to orientate myself amongst all these problems. I regard the most important thing to be the possibility to talk straight to young people who have personal experience of living in a children’s home. I am convinced that if you want to help someone, the simplest thing is to ask them directly, what they need…..


I managed to infect even my friend Marketa with my ideas and enthusiasm. We met many interesting people, their stories could often be written as a book. Together we attended, among others, a seminar on host care, given by the public organisation Children Belong at Home, it’s founder being Mrs Dagmar Zezulová. She became one of the people that, during the time I was preparing my foundation, I turned to often and I have a very great respect for her. Host care is a subject almost unknown in the public domain, yet, for many of the older children in children’s homes, it is the only possibility for them to see how an ordinary family, and the relationships within it, work.

The will to bring my dream to fruition was very strong but it was clear to me that, if I wanted me idea to work according to my ideas, only two people would not be enough to cope. So I connected two of my ideas into one. I had long been planning to give a dinner party and invite all my friends that I don’t get to see as often as I would like. So I organised a benefit evening, I invited my friends and as it was December it could even be attributed to being Christmas. I decided that with the help of the donations of my friends I would support the organisation Children Belong at Home. There were 43 of us “girls” at the meeting and we managed to make over 50 000 crowns!

During this benefit evening I approached my friends who were present with the offer of joining the project with the working title “ Find yourself a child…”. By the middle of January three friends had called and by the 8th of February 2011 we became a registered non-profit organisation.


Since that time we have a large amount of work behind us, just as our other colleagues have who, one by one, became part of our team. Luckily, even after three years we have not lost our initial enthusiasm and spirit with which we founded the organisation and I believe that that can be seen in our results. I am convinced that this work has real meaning and that it is the responsibility of us all to help children who did not have the luck to have the start in life that most of us do, to be able to grow up in a functioning and loving family.


It is not in our power to help all children, but every improved life counts!

During the time of our activities we have had the possibility to meet many children who live in children’s homes and I have become convinced that it is definitely worth giving them a helping hand! I hope that with our resources and with the support of the wider public we will be able to offer help to as many of them as possible.

Help them realize their potential already at the time when they are still in the children’s home, give them the chance to pursue their hobbies, make it possible for them to study a specialized subject that interests them, offer them the possibility of becoming a member of a host care family at least in the form of weekend visits and generally maximise their chances of an easier entry into adult life, so that they one day may become contented people and good parents to their own children.


                                                                            Michaela Chovancová