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  • Doug Brendel

Exactly 10 years ago

Ten years ago yesterday, our beloved photographer Oleg was shooting portraits.

His subjects were families of children with disabilities, from the Belarusian town of Dzerzhinsk.

In that culture, people with disabilities used to be more or less hidden away.

Many parents would abandon a child with disabilities, often leaving the remaining caregivers financially strapped.

A courageous mom in Dzerzhinsk determined to bring children with disabilities out of the shadows. She established a support group.

Our “Response of the Heart” team began helping with humanitarian aid. I had the joy of visiting the group several times.

And we decided to shine a spotlight on this extraordinary group.

The result of Oleg’s work that day was a remarkable book, Look at Us.

It’s still available on Amazon, but you can view it, or even download it, here.

Today, the Dzerzhinsk group has an enormous profile. They even produce a big annual festival!

As a result of this group’s work, generations of Belarusian children with disabilities have moved into the light, experiencing life just like “other kids.”

Friends of New Thing have been honored to stand with them.

New Thing is long-term work. Ours is a long-term commitment.

Thanks to all who journey with us so faithfully.

More adventures to come!

Much love,

Doug Brendel

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