Mission Focus

Ministry Outline 

1. Partnering with Agape Ministries
Serving as volunteers within the many areas of orphan care work currently underway with Ukrainian Nationals already working diligently and expansively in many regions throughout Ukraine.  More information in all that Agape is doing, and the variety of ways that we can serve with them can be found at agapefororphans.org.

2. Proclaim the Gospel and Make Disciples
-Orphanage Outreach and Evangelism
-Orphan Discipleship Camps
-Food, Material & Medical Assistance
Caretakers and Orphanage Staff
-Tutoring Assistance to students
-Evangelism and care for teachers and staff
Community Participation
- Small Group Facilitation
- Partnering with local church evangelism efforts through English Club activities.

3. Assist Aging-Out Orphans
Transitional Housing and ‘Parental’ Care
Education and Training
-Life Skills
-Social Skills
-Job Skills
Discipleship through Family Life
-Training in the Word
-Serving God by serving others
Follow-Up Care

4. Hospitality House
Accommodations and moral support for adopting families visiting our region.

The information below describes the urgent need for the gospel in the lives of children in Ukraine

Orphans in Ukraine— the Current Problem

The greatest victims of the 70 years of communism in the countries of the former Soviet Union are the hundreds of thousands of orphans that fill decades-old institutions throughout this vast region.

In the countries of the former Soviet Union, there are an estimated 2 million children on the streets, and over 700,000 children between the ages of 0-18 years living in close to 1,800 orphanages, with well over 100,000 more being abandoned to the already overrun orphanages of Ukraine. 

Of that population, some 30,000 children live in these former Soviet Union orphanages.  The others are what is known as  ‘social orphans’ - those who are living ‘non-existent’ lives, out on the streets alone.
The numbers of abandoned children are increasing every year, overburdening an already taxed system. Resources are stretched to the limit and there are not enough staff to bring up these children properly. The easy way out is to say nothing can be done with them, and that’s what happens all too often.              

Thousands of children in Ukraine also run away from home, usually to escape alcoholic and abusive parents, who rarely try to find them. Moreover, abandoned children often face abuses in the state-sponsored and underfunded orphanages.

...an Orphan’s Future

According to a report from the Russian Procuracy General, within three years of aging out of the system (anywhere between 15-18 yrs. old), 2/3 of the boys will have served prison time, 60% of the kids will be classified as heavy drinkers, more than half of the girls will have engaged in prostitution to one degree or another, 60% will be homeless, and 10% will have committed suicide.
For thousands of street children in Ukraine, daily life is a fight for survival. One of the most difficult and tragic times in an orphan’s life is when they are forced to ‘age out’ of the system, and yet are not prepared for real life outside. Their rights are often violated and normal childhood is often replaced by drug addiction and violence. Inhaling glue, sniffing metallic paint fumes or injecting a cocktail of cold and flu medicines are common ways of taking drugs among homeless young people. Sharing needles and engaging in promiscuous sex make them one of the groups most at risk of contracting HIV in Ukraine.  Meanwhile, violence, sexual abuse and drug addiction often lead to crime. Many of these children say they expect to die on the streets.

Institutional Effects
They do have “classes” in the orphanage, but a child might leave with the equivalent of a middle school education.  They do have “clothes” in the orphanage, but none belong to any one child, they are all shared. There is fighting, smoking, drinking, hate, rape, theft, abortions, and way too many other things that no child should never be a part of…

Psychologists have determined that for every three years a child lives in such an institutional environment, they fall one full year behind developmentally. A girl who has spent 18 years of her life in a Soviet-era orphanage, may only be the equivalent of 12 years old developmentally. Without an ‘advocate’ or ‘mentor,’ and the support they need, they are vulnerable to control, manipulation, many turning to  prostitution, and many becoming the victims of human trafficking.
Labeled for Life
“When orphans finally leave state-run institutions, they suffer the damaging effects of institutionalization, and the second class status with which society labels them and which follows them the rest of their lives.”
Human Rights Watch, “Abandoned to the State: Cruelty and Neglect in Russian Orphanages,”

In a country where the average standard of living has decreased by eighty percent over the past fifteen years, poverty and sickness are brought on by the inability to maintain adequate nutrition and healthcare.  Least able to fend for themselves are the children who have been abandoned and orphaned.  Few in society feel any responsibility or compassion to help these who cannot help themselves, or worse yet do not deserve to be helped (in their thinking), making it near impossible to break free alone.

Catch-22 Choices
Ukrainian orphans are provided free education, even university or trade school training, and an apartment in which to live after they age out, if they so choose.  So what’s the problem? 
These apartments are not free (only the education), are often the most deplorable conditions imaginable, placing “students” within dormitories alongside recovering drug addicts and drunks.  These conditions further perpetuate feelings of despair and their 2nd rate citizen status.  Since housing is not free, the orphan must face a choice - go to school and find themselves homeless, or find any way possible to make money in order to keep even the most horrid of housing options - a perfect opportunity for predators of prostitution and human trafficking.  This is really no choice at all, a lose / lose situation.


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