More than 4 years "Ukraine without orphans" Alliance worked on the problem of orphans in Ukraine. We got a positive trend towards reducing the number of orphans, decrease of child abandonment, as well as increased numbers of rehabilitation and restoration of biological families. In Ukraine, the issue with street children was resolved, and there was a tendency to improve the quality of social services and support families in crisis and families in difficult circumstances. But this year the war came in Ukraine, which led to the emergence of a large number of widows and orphans. 12,000 social workers have been cut In Ukraine due to the economic crisis. This action resulted in the growth of social orphanhood, family breakdown, and an increase in the number of children in boarding schools. "Ukraine without orphans" Alliance develops projects aimed at involving churches to provide the necessary assistance to the families who have lost their husbands and fathers in the war in eastern Ukraine and popularizes ministry as social workers in the Christian churches.
After outbreak of fighting in the East of Ukraine from the state boarding schools were evacuated great numbers of orphans. Since the evacuation started late, it was not possible to take the children with disabilities of two boarding schools, who are in occupied territory by militants. There is also a huge problem with children who are in boarding schools at the request of the parents and do not possess the status of orphans. Often, the parents of these children did not perform their duties, and did not visit them. But heads of orphanages did not provide boarding status to these children, so they won’t be adopted. And in this case boarding continued to receive funding. Or parents knowingly send their children to these institutions in order to avoid the financial burden, etc. Many of these parents have drug or alcohol addiction, and succumbing anti-Ukrainian propaganda, oppose the evacuation of children in safe Ukrainian region. Without parental consent to evacuate these children is impossible. Now these children join the ranks of street children. They are fed Ukrainian soldiers and volunteers, since the import of necessary for the existence of these institutions have become things or irregular or impossible. In its turn, the Alliance continues to work towards awareness of the Church and society in general regarding these issues, as well as increasing the activity to address them. The Alliance is also actively working on building cooperation with relevant ministries and representatives of the new authorities in Ukraine to address the issues of reforming the orphanages.
In early March 2014 "Ukraine without orphans" Alliance one of the first stated the need to prepare for the evacuation of children from orphanages and foster families and children's centres in Eastern Ukraine. We proposed the creation of coordination centre to provide all necessary assistance to the displaced. On 15 May 2014, the centre began to function on the basis of the Alliance "Ukraine without orphans." During this time:
- The coordination centre received more than 4,000 calls for assistance to IDPs;
- 1,668 people (992 children and 676 adults) were provided with housing (including, 112 orphans and children from problem families, children from 4 Christian social rehabilitation centres for children and 20 foster families and children's homes type).
- Held a camp for 192 children of IDPs.
- Delivered kits containing food and things essentials for 162 families, worth $ 137 each.
- Delivered 26,000 pairs of children's shoes;
It was possible to make with the efforts of organizations that are members and representatives of the Alliance in 23 areas. To accommodate the refugees were provided homes and premises of social centres of Alliance members in Zaporozhye, Kiev, Chernigov, Transcarpathian, Kherson, Lviv, Cherkasy, Rivne, Odessa, Dnipropetrovsk, Zhytomyr, Khmelnytsky, Kharkiv, Poltava region, as well as in the Crimea. In general, we received proposals from 83 organizations for mass settlements and 150 proposals from private individuals. Now all of these organizations are actively encouraging local churches, public and charitable organizations to support IDPs, their further adaptation and employment, as well as working with local authorities to address certain issues. Also, a lot of work carried out in the direction of attracting partners to provide financial and other resources needed to ensure the evacuated families.
Coordination Centre has become a model for the creation of the Mutual Help Centre "Save Ukraine" - a platform for effective cooperation and joint efforts of all community initiatives dealing with internally displaced persons from the Crimea and Eastern Ukraine.
Family of Marina and Alexander Skoryk: The spouses Alexander (41) and Marina (42 years), from Dzerzhinsk (Donetsk region), economic status - income below average. There were evacuated in early June and returned home in early September.
"Today, Ukrainians are still not actively taken on the education of orphaned older children or children with special needs. The couple Alexander and Marina gave a real parental love and care for 4 orphans: two girls - Mary 16 years and Ellina 14 years, the boy Bohuslav 11 years, as well as David - 1.5-year-old child with Down syndrome. Marina and Alexander ordered a medical operation, for Bohuslav, who had physical malformation of the jaw and badly spoken. This operation improved his pronunciation. And David was taken at the age of 6 months, when the baby is not even able to hold its head up. But parental love, attention and perseverance have done their job, and now David is a cheerful and active child. Biological children of Skoryk family also learn to be gentle and kind - 11-year-old Timothy and 4-year-old twins Zachary and Nazar. Skorikov family lived in the city of Dzerzhinsk, Donetsk region. But with the beginning of military operations in the East of Ukraine, this family was forced to flee to safer areas. "At first time the situation in our city was relatively calm. Of course, the vast majority of people under the influence of Russian propaganda took anti-Ukrainian position. But my husband and I have always loved the Ukraine and raised children in the love of God and given them their homeland. But on the eve of presidential elections in Ukraine the situation started to become more and more dangerous with lightning speed. There were armed men, who began to seize buildings, shoot and rob. It became dangerous even to go out. We started to look for the way to leave the Donetsk region, which was swept with a real war. Friends told us about the "Ukraine without orphans" Alliance which undertook to help needy families from Eastern Ukraine with the move. Late in the evening I phoned the organization and asked for support. The very next day they sent me train tickets from Donetsk to Kiev for our entire family. My husband put us on a train and went back to help people who remained in the city. In Kiev, I have met representatives of the Alliance and we were taken to a social centre, which caters for refugee families such as ours. There we felt completely safe. We got everything we needed - food, comfortable accommodation, and most importantly - a strong spiritual support. For us children even made a few weeks of rest and recovery in the Carpathians. I thank God for what He has opened the hearts of the people for the salvation of our family and other families and children in distress. We pray for the restoration of peace in Ukraine, for the wisdom of the new government, for the reconciliation and unification of all our people. But especially we pray for the people who are now in the "hot spots". God bless their health and life. "Recently, the family returned to the Dzerzhinsk, which was liberated from terrorists. "Ukraine without orphans" Alliance purchased train tickets for them. They rejoiced Ukrainian symbolism, with which the whole city was decorated, and thanked God, and of those who care for the opportunity to return to his home safe and sound. But the main gratitude from Alexander and Marina was the adoption of another orphan; they decided to take him on the upbringing immediately after their return to hometown and family reunification.
We managed to help a lot of families with children who are in need of urgent assistance, and whom government was not ready to help. We managed to offer an effective model of assistance to IDPs, as well as to show government agencies the effectiveness and potential of Christian organizations.