Prior to the escalation of the war between Russia and Ukraine with Russia’s invasion in 2012, Ukraine already had the highest number of institutionalized children in Europe.
The rates of crime and suicide among orphaned children in Ukraine indicated were true even before the terror of 2022, when Ukrainian cities across the country began to be regularly and viciously bombed by Russian invaders, without regard for civilians or green corridors. Over 100,000 orphans were dismissed from the internauts (orphanages) to return to their families during this time, and many have not since been accounted for.
The Hard Truth
Approximately 10 percent of Ukraine’s orphans are “legal” orphans without family ties who are able to be adopted. Ninety percent of the children in Ukraine’s orphanage system are social orphans, whose parents are unable to care for them, whether due to poverty, alcoholism, or the special needs of the child.
- 105,000 + orphans are in Ukraine
- 663 orphanages and residential facilities
- 40% of orphaned girls end up in prostitution
- 60% of orphaned boys end up in crime
- 26,000 children scattered by war still unaccounted for
- 10% of orphaned children eventually commit suicide
- 1% or less of orphaned children make it to university or higher education
Founded by Taras Danilenko, who grew up in an orphanage in the Donetsk region of Ukraine, Project Joy is an outreach to social orphans and impoverished children who live in Skvira, a district of Kiev.
The children who he reaches are all from varying levels of poverty. Many are neglected or have been abandoned by their parents. Most of the families suffer from alcohol and drug abuse of the parents. Volunteers from the church meet with the children at least once a week and teach them lessons from the Bible. They also teach the children how to cook and spend a meal with them.
The church advocates for the children to social services and children’s services to the greatest extent possible. The church is also actively trying to help better the lives of these children by providing food for lunches at school and groceries at home, backpacks, clothing, and other essentials. Taras has created a familiar atmosphere with these children and they truly look up to him. They learn about the Lord, play games, take classes, and more! Overall, he brings joy to the lives of each of these children.
Change One Life
Change One Life is a nonprofit in Kiev, Ukraine. Their mission is to make video profiles of all of the orphans in Ukraine, so that potential parents can find them faster.
They provide research, training, education resources and counsel about adoption and parenting. Leonid Lebediv, founder, is a constant advocate and voice for the betterment of the adoption and fostering processes of Ukraine and works closely with the government in the creation of child profiles.
Lifeline Hosting is a Ukrainian hosting program that is assigned orphans by the Ukrainian government to find host families for in the USA. Hosting seasons are throughout summer and for one month during the Christmas break of the Ukrainian schools.
Many children who are hosted by families as part of Lifeline Hosting form lasting bonds with those families and may go on to be adopted by or supported through those families. In addition to hosting work, Lifeline Hosting works closely with the directors of the orphanages from which their children come, and is already fervently raising funds for restoring these children’s homes.
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