Who We Are
HFIC was established in 1992 as a group of volunteers to help orphans find appropriate medical care and answer their other needs. Since we became incorporated and licensed in New York state as a non-profit organization, we helped over a thousand children find appropriate treatment, surgeries and homes . HFIC has worked with many orphanages in Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Guatemala, Tanzania and other countries, helping to improve their conditions.
Dr. Natasha Shaginian-Needham is the co-founder of HFIC. She completed her residency in Psychiatry at the Medical School in Moscow. Her extensive background in this field began when she was working with children in the orphanages. Natasha then began working with special needs children in an effort to find them the medical help they needed in the United States. HFIC has helped several children with minor and serious problems such as spina bifida, bladder extrophy, missing limbs and heart defects. In 2003 the Congress of the United States awarded Dr. Shaginian-Needham the distinguished honor of the Congressional Angel in Adoption award for her dedication and outstanding services in improving the lives of orphaned children.
Dr. Shaginian-Needham produced a documentary “Children on the Other Shore”, showing the day-to-day activities in the lives of adopted children with their American families. The film premiered in Moscow in December 1996 and was broadcasted on the Russian TV channel “Culture”, and in New York City at Lincoln Center Square Sony Theater in April 1997, as part of the Audrey Hepburn Hollywood for Children Film Festival. After completing her degree in TV Journalism in Moscow, Natasha continued filming and writing stories in order to get attention towards orphaned children. In 2012, Natasha co-produced the documentary “On His Own Two Feet” with Vasiliy Arkanov .The documentary won the 2012 Audience Award at DocMiami International Film Festival. The film was broadcasted on TVC in Russia in 2012.
Since 1998, for 10 years straight, HFIC organized a successful summer program “Russian Children Folk Festival”, which allowed children to have an experience outside of their orphanage, sharing their culture with American people. These trips changed the children, as they gained new hopes and learned to believe in themselves and their futures.
Since 2009, HFIC, in partnership with the Artist Foundation in Russia, has been running the “I Want to Walk” program. The program is dedicated to allowing Russian orphans, who have missing limbs to get prosthetics, a new life, renewed hope and a brighter future. We developed a relationship with Texas Scottish Rite Hospital (http://www.tsrhc.org/), which provides the best prosthetic surgery and physical therapy. “I Want to Walk” supports the education for children after they leave the orphanage, which helps them to begin their independent lives. HFIC, together with a great team of partners, sponsors and volunteers, regularly organizes international social events to support children in need.