Our Children’s Hearts programme in south east Ukraine, has been giving direct support to desperately vulnerable children and families since 2008
Orphans: initially set up with local authority permission to promote fostering and then supporting these families through the early periods of having orphans in their homes. This programme has proved such a success that the local authorities have in place a model based on our programme. Our partners will however continue to support families who are fostering orphans.
Older orphans: our partners offer educational support and life-skills coaching from the basics of managing money, essential cooking skills, through to relationships, and helping those seeking employment and housing. A respite accommodation unit provides facilities for a small number to live whilst at the local Technical School or College, as they endeavour to secure their own place.
Disabled children: although the city has a population in excess of 250,000 there are little or no services for those children living with disabilities. Twice a week our partners provide a care and support programme at the Children’s Hearts Centre.
Vulnerable families: are offered emergency aid in the form of food, clothing, medicines, relationship and crisis management; they also provide support and advice to clear debts and effectively manage any family income. Children are given a place of fun and fellowship to visit, along with access to summer camps based around age and disability. Local authorities are now referring an increasing number of families to partners.
Abandoned: whilst working to prevent abandonment some babies and children still are. We employ a nurse at the local hospital along with staff at a local the Baby Home to have direct responsibility for providing a loving, caring level of nursing care and attention.
Three sessions per week are provided for children from vulnerable families, with at least 80-100 children attending each week. These are all held at our “House of Light” premises in the city centre. Children receive friendship, educational support, healthy living advice, a quality meal, and just a little piece of childhood through play and learning.
Children also receive, many for the first time ever, the Good News of the Gospel. Alongside Bible studies the children are prayed for individually and corporately.
Furthermore, weekly group sessions are held with mothers in vulnerable families, providing group counselling, advice, and friendship. Clothing is always distributed at all of these sessions.
In addition, Children’s Hearts make regular visits to a large number of families in their homes, undertaking repairs, ensuring the children are cared for, and offering whatever support a family might need to help tie them over until they are able to live independently. This project provides for a self-sustaining existence for these families.
The annual budget for Children’s Hearts is £45,000 plus £10,000 in one off and emergency aid.