There are 9 social centres in Belarus. What makes them so necessary?

- Many families in Belarus face unemployment and struggle with a range of social problems including alcoholism and mental health issues. I’ll give you an example.

We recently helped one family make a positive change. The mother had been born to alcoholic parents and had been very neglected as a child. She now has three children and was living in poor conditions. After her husband's death Olga became an alcoholic and struggled to care for her children. The state wanted to take the children away, but we could see she had a good attitude and really wanted to improve her situation. We helped her find work and clean her house and gave her the necessary tools to care for the children. Today, the children are still with their mother and the family have been given a chance.
However, not every story has a happy ending. We came across an 11-year-old boy who had been living in extreme poverty. He had lived through his father’s death and his grandmothers’ death and was not doing well. He was taken away from his mother by the state and placed in an orphanage. He then became depressed and tried to kill himself. The boy is now receiving help from SOS Children, but I know that his future remains uncertain.

Lilia, what keeps you going when faced with such difficult cases?

My biggest joy is when I see a family who have been able to make a change for the better thanks to the help of SOS Children.

Many children, despite their difficult start, go to become happy independent adults. For example, Vlad came to the Village as a seven year old boy. His mother had sold their flat so she could fund her alcohol addiction. He now works as an SOS Education Coordinator in our projects.

Maxim and his sister Ekaterina came to the SOS Children’s Village when they were 5 and 3 years old, after their alcoholic mother could no longer look after them. Today, Maxim works for the Village as an Assistant to the Village Master and Ekaterina is studying linguistics at Minsk University.

Lesson 6, Ex. 4

1. Our families give us an identity. They provide us with a moral, social and economic support. Today, however – even in rural areas– the idea of the family itself is changing and is sometimes being replaced by other groups whose links are based on confidence, mutual support, common problems or interests. Religious groups, office colleagues and friends are now sometimes seen to operate as ‘family’. This new way of thinking about the family is radically different and is not based on correct biblical teaching.

There are also changes in values, economics and government policies. These changes are making unfaithfulness and divorce more common, marriage less serious, child rearing more confusing and stable relationships more difficult. These changes go against correct biblical teaching. We need to learn to control and cope with this rate of change.

2. The role of a family is in caring about its members. I believe today families have lost their knowledge, skills and resources in providing for the elderly. The common thing these days is to place them in a nursing home while we carry on with more important things. The communities also have lost the knowledge, skills and resources to look after the needs of disadvantaged people and rely on organisations instead. Today we see a rising population, which is getting older, government resources are being stretched etc. etc. In fact I really think that it's too late.
3. One of the primary functions of the family is to produce and reproduce persons, biologically and socially. However, producing children is not the only function of the family; the family is necessary for the formation of an economically productive household. Anthropologists have often supposed that the family in a traditional society forms the primary economic unit.


4. Well, the bottom line is the following: The family -- the glue that holds our communities, nation, and world together -- is weakening, and the moral foundation necessary for a civilized and well-functioning society is falling apart all around us.

A loving mother and father within a committed marriage is the very best foundation for the family, for the economy, and for the nation. Yet currently, divorce is a common issue, moreover, about forty percent of American children are born out of marriage. That fact affects everyone and all of American culture. When the family becomes nothing more than "any group of people living together," there is no moral authority in terms of standards of behavior. Children are left to hang around aimlessly. Family problems always hit our pockets -- hard!

5. Family is a natural way of protection because society is ever changing. Families automatically protect each other against the competitive and aggressive outside world.

6. I believe it depends on the society. I come from Eastern Europe, Poland. The family here is the centre of the social structure. One’s obligation is to the family first and foremost. Extended families are still the norm and really form an individual’s social network. We Poles draw a line between the inner circle and outsiders. Family members are naturally part of the inner circle along with close friends that are usually “family friends”. Poles will interact differently with their inner circle and outsiders. The inner circle forms the basis of a person's social and business network. The people from the inner circle can be relied upon to: offer advice, help find a job, cut through bureaucracy, or even rent an apartment.

Lesson 7, Ex. 2

Family traditions are things that families do together on a regular basis. These things can be patterns of behavior, enjoyable activities or a certain food that a family likes. They can be repeated daily, weekly, monthly or once a year. It is important for families to observe their traditions even as their children get older, here are five reasons why:

First of all, family traditions create good feelings and special moments to remember. They are fun things to do. These are the memories that will last a lifetime.

Family traditions give every member of the family a stronger sense of belonging. Being a part of a family is more than living in the same home or having the same last name. It is about relationships and family ties. Since family traditions are something you do together, they strengthen the ties you have between each other creating a stronger sense of belonging to the family.

Family traditions help children with their identity. It helps to know that you ‘belong’ when you are trying to figure out who you are, which is a main job of the teenager.

Family traditions help parents impart the family’s values to their children. To start, you get more time to model your family values to your teen. You will also find more opportunities to talk to your teen about serious issues and keep the conversations light.

Family traditions offer children a sense a security. Everyday a teen faces some very difficult issues. Knowing that he/she is secure and has a family to turn to is a powerful tool to use against negative peer pressure, drug use influences, etc.

There are more reasons for families to observe their traditions, but the five above are the most important for families to remember.

Lesson 8

My grandmother’s house has a very special place in my heart. I lived with my grandmother for many years when I was little. Her house always seemed to have something about it that set it apart from all the rest. As you walk into the front door of her house you notice a long, slender stairway that led up into the main hallway of the house. The strong smell of cigarette smoke is quite evident when you reach this point. Yes, my grandmother did smoke.
My grandmother's house was always full of laughter and many cheers. Our family used to call it Grand Central Station. There was always someone over her house visiting whether it be family or friends. My grandmother's doors were always open to everyone no matter what. When my grandmother had company she would tell us very seriously to act nicely in front of them or she would be very upset at us.
My grandmother always sat in the kitchen of her house. This is where she would drink her hot black coffee with no sugar and smoke her Virginia Slim cigarettes. She would sometimes sit in her kitchen for hours upon end and watch the ducks and the geese swimming by on the river and if it were warm enough outside she would crumble up some bread and feed it a little at a time to them.
In the summer time my grandmother and whoever happened to be at the house would sit out on the sundeck for hours and talk about anything and everything imaginable; she was known as the neighborhood gossip queen. The sundeck was a place for everyone to sit and relax in the warm sunny breeze. My grandmother was a very spontaneous person, she did what she wanted to at the drop of a hat and nobody ever stopped her. She was always very active in many things like Veterans Auxiliary, making crafts, cooking, cleaning, etc., but always had time for the ones she loved.
Living at my grandmother’s house was indeed a lot of fun because she was so easy going with me. She allowed me to do all the things that I wanted to do and dreamed about. She was always willing to lend me a hand in anything that I needed. She was a highly giving person to everyone around her and she never asked for anything in return. She always had an ear to ear smile that would brighten up anyone's day if it wasn't going to well.
My grandmother had a very soft-hearted voice that I remember sung us to sleep when we were little. She would wait with us until we fell deep asleep and in the morning she would wake us with the smell of hot freshly cooked breakfast on the table. Even as we got older she always tried to baby us when we were around her. My grandmother was the kind, gentle, loving, caring grandmother every child dreams about having.
My grandmother passed away two years ago and it has been a very rough two years trying to cope with such a big loss. After she died I moved out of her house because I was so overwhelmed by the thoughts of her not being there. It was almost like her kindred spirit still moved about inside the house. She always said that when she died she would always be around to watch over us and to take care of us and I think that is exactly what happened.
I find it very difficult to go to my grandmother’s house now that she has passed, but from time to time I will stop by. Even today, when I walk into the house I can still smell the Virginia Slim cigarettes she smoked and sometimes I swear I can hear her talking. When I walk into her kitchen I expect to see her sitting at the table drinking her coffee and smoking, but she is never there.
My grandmother was a very big influence on my life. She always instilled the best and finest qualities in me and always insisted that I be the best that I can be. She had a special knack for everything she did. She was always full of joy and tried to spread her happiness to everyone around her and I think that is what I miss most of all now that she is gone.


Lesson 1, Ex.2

1. I wonder what purposeI have in life. I'm sitting around every summer...every season.. doing nothing but entertaining myself. I have to do something. I have to act. I really enjoy working in groups, but I hate when a team member will look down on me simply because I don't understand something. I prefer hands-on work to doing paperwork. I enjoy people, watching people, and interacting with people. My dream job perhaps is being happy surrounded by people and all sorts of things around me.

2. I want to be a dentist to help people with their teeth because I've had problems with my own

3. I've always loved learning NEW things but there is nothing specific I want to learn. To be honest I'm still trying to figure that out.

4. I am 17 years old. And I want to do something that will make children happy because of the horrible childhood I grew up in.

5. I want to be a celebrity. Some would say it’s an unachievable goal but I think it’s possible. I have a strong passion for dancing and singing and I've always focused on that.

6. I want to bring a smile to children and give them the best in life. I think I will be a doctor or teacher; what ever happens is for the best!

7. I can't decide if I want to be a vet, a teacher, a missionary or a nurse.

8. I’d like to follow in my father’s footsteps and become a lawyer. It’s a fascinating job and well-paid, too.

9. I want to be a model/actor because I know how to be all of that. I walk in high heels and I act in school sometimes and everyone says I'm good at it. Ever since I was little I've been acting and modelling and I’ve felt so proud of myself ever since I wanted to do this.

10. When I leave school I want to become a journalist or an actress. The thing is - how? How do I achieve my goals?

11. I would really like to start a business; either by owning an ice cream store or stimulating the economy with a lending and banking firm....

12. The thought of working with computers is amazing! I'd love to animate something, or make a video game. It just looks like so much fun! Plus graphic design can be pretty amazing.


13. I think I want to be photojournalist. Maybe National Geographic? That would be my biggest dream.

14. I'd like to be a hair stylist - I'm great at cutting and coloring.

15. I'd like to be a vet and spend my time working with gorillas in Africa.

16. I would become a primary school teacher. Nothing is better than spreading education.
It will help the poor ones to break themselves out of the chains of poverty. The surest way for them is only education and motivation!!

17. I wish I played for Barcelona. That would be a dream job!!!

Lesson 4, Ex.2

I: And here’s some advice to school students from a career guide. We’re now going to talk with Jenny Ogden, who works in the Career Advice Service. My first question to Jenny would be: How important is it to choose a right career?

CG: Choosing a career is probably one of the most difficult things in the world. You want to be doing something that you love for the rest of your life. If you choose the wrong career, you might probably end up in a dead end job which you hate and which results in a miserable life.

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