VILLAGE OUTREACH

Many villages in Ukraine are full of families barely making it. Often times, the kids in village homes are worse off than kids in the orphanage. Abuse, hunger, neglect, and alcoholism often run rampant in these homes.

In 2015 our team purchased a house in the village of Ivanivka and began building and growing relationships with the families there. Our house has needed and still needs a lot of work so much of our time is be spent working on our house – constructing some sort of kitchen, bathroom, shower, and other necessities we are currently lacking. We get to host movie nights, games, and other small events for the kids while in the midst of constant upkeep and working to improve our 100-year-old houses without a lot of the normal conveniences we’re used to. We have always dreamed of planting a church in Ivanivka and are thankful that our house provides a place to begin this with a few small house church meetings there.

ORPHANAGE MINISTRY

90% of orphans in Ukraine are considered “social orphans”, meaning one or both of their parents are still alive. These kids have been placed in the system often after seeing a lot of alcoholism, abuse, severe neglect, one or both parents in prison, and usually some combination of all of the above. Orphanages in Ukraine are run by the government, and the kids eat, sleep, play, and go to school there.

The Pravdinska Orphanage, where OAU does the majority of our Orphanage Ministry, currently houses around 65kids between the ages of 4-14. We sometimes helps with projects at the orphanage throughout the year – painting the playground, helping buy tiles to fix a bathroom, buying seeds to plant on their farm, etc. In 2018, we hope to begin helping improve their English skilsl by partnering with their staff to help teach English. We seek to begin building relationships with the kids when they’re young, with the hope that they will carry through into their young adult lives after they leave the orphanage. 

POST-ORPHANAGE GRADUATE MINISTRY

At their 9th grade graduation, most orphans are between 15 and 17 years old, though sometimes as young as 14. After their graduation, they leave the orphanage and usually attend a trade school and are essentially forced into adulthood and independence. As a young teen with very little experience in the world, they are very unprepared for life on their own. Alcoholism and skipping school quickly become their norm; gangs and crime are a huge issue for the boys; abusive relationships and even prostitution for the girls. They struggle with proper hygiene, personal health, cooking, money management, healthy relationships, and finding a place to live.

This is where OAU seeks to meet these “grads” in their various needs with temporary housing, food, healthcare, and encouragement. Working with a local Christian church, there are weekly youth group meetings we encourage the kids to attend and get to know others their age. We host “Grad Camps” throughout the year, giving them a time to get away, be safe, eat 3 meals a day, hear lessons on God’s grace and love, and just be teenagers. All in a place where they continue to hear the gospel and see it in action through our team. We continue building relationship and give the kids a family and place to belong. Our goal is to help them grow into healthy, independent adults, physically and emotionally, while growing in a relationship with Jesus Christ.

Want to get involved by coming to serve at one of our Graduate Retreats?
Email Melissa Keane at MelissaOAU@gmail.com for an application.

FAMILY SUPPORT

All too often, we have seen kids grow up in the orphanage, graduate and have kids of their own who end up in the same situation they did – back in the orphanage. Our family support and outreach seeks to stop the cycle by helping young families grow and stay afloat. Through financial support and training, parenting skills, babysitting, and more, we encourage young single moms and families that they can give their kids a different life than they knew. Buying diapers and groceries, holding a job, and raising a baby is very overwhelming for an 18-year-old who has never seen an example of good parenting. We seek to help support them as they face the joys and challenges of parenthood, while helping ensure that their kids receive the love and care that they often lacked as they grew up.