Update on the situation in Odessa, Ukraine

Update on the situation in Odessa, Ukraine

A partner from the Ecumenical Diaconal Year Network writes on the situation in the Ukraine

[This March 5 newsletter is written by colleagues in Kiev, Ukraine from the Living Hope NGO, a United Church of Christ partner in the Ecumenical Diaconal Year Network, through which volunteers are placed in the United States.]

First of all I would like to thank everybody, who has contacted us during the last weeks. And I would like to let you know that we are fine with us.

We have been through a very hard time, but we are looking forward with hope and but also with concern. In these days our faith in such an important help for us! To know that God is in control of everything, gives many people strength. When I saw how thousands of people kneeled down and prayed together the “Lord’s Prayer” or how priests went to stand between the lines it was moving to tears.

For the first time since 1996, since I live and serve in Ukraine, we as an NGO felt a real danger that we might not have the possibility to go on with the work we do the way we do it. The old government tried to implement new laws on NGOs that would label us as “foreign agents” trying to control everything we would do. This law was voted for on the 16th of January in a very chaotic voting. Praise God these laws were cancelled already now after the revolution.

It is very tragic that these changes took the life of about hundred people, many were hurt and hundreds are still missing. I think that everybody who has the privilege to live in a peaceful and free country should become more thankful for that watching Ukraine in these days.

Please keep on praying for Ukraine! Right now we are looking with great concern to Crimea. Many people especially in the East and in rural areas are very bad informed (due to the Russian propaganda on Russian TV channels streamed there), what tries to sow or increase hatred between the East and the West. As I see the Russian invasion during the last days works for the unity of the country.

We as an organization and I am personal are even more motivated to do whatever we can to ensure the work of our three day care centers as a place where they the children, youngsters and families feel safe, understood and can make plans for the future. This is very important now.

At the moment we care for about 100 people daily. The new center in the village Petrowka, what we were able to open thanks to your support as well is running very well. We really would like to improve the surroundings of this center in summer, because there are no play grounds or even benches outside. As well we would like to renovate two more rooms and the kitchen, which we cannot use so far. In Petrowka live two handicapped children and one of our young Ukrainian volunteers who did an European Voluntary Year in an institution for this special children, will work individually with these kids. It would be wonderful if she could use also one of the rooms for that, which we would like to make a sports room.

The German foundation “Lebendige Hoffnung” has collected many useful things that we would like to bring to Odessa this spring. The transportation will cost about 3000 Euro. Many furniture, cloth and medical equipment will be in this convoy. If somebody has any idea how to raise funds for that I will be thankful for any idea communicated.

For the summer we have many plans: we expect many guests. We will have two summer camps for children from excluded families (for about 100 kids). We also organize a journey for 26 children to Germany and a youth exchange with Italian, Armenian and Ukrainian youngsters in Yerevan.

We thank you all for your support in prayer, words and deeds! Without you we could not do what we do! May the Lord bless you richly!