Today is Polina’s 7th birthday and that makes it even more exciting for us to announce that Polina’s Promise has received a $5,000 matching grant for a very specific purpose!
In the middle of March, Polina’s Promise was introduced to missionaries working in Ukraine. The hope was that we could somehow assist with orphan care during this transitional and unstable time in Ukraine. Earlier this week, Andrew Kelly of Jeremiah’s Hope send Polina’s Promise a proposal for a very specific project. We shared the information with some donors and through thoughtful consideration and prayer, they have offered a very generous $5,000 matching grant.
Let me tell you a little about Jeremiah’s Hope. They are located in the Ivankiv region comprised of over 20 villages with more than 600 children listed with social services as living in abusive or neglectful homes or extreme poverty. In fact, they are in the last “county” before the Chernobyl zone and the hopelessness and despair there is indescribable.
Five years ago, the organization broke ground on Pine Branch Christian Camp. How awesome is it that in former Soviet Union country where kids were required to go to camp for 21 days every summer to be indoctrinated in Communist ideals, orphans and at-risk youth can now go to camp and be introduced to Christ! Pine Branch Christian Camp hosts 250 orphans and at-risk youth every summer. They also host spring, fall and winter retreats. In addition, they host a weekly Sunday School for local village children and quarterly medical/dental/optical outreaches that last two days and treat 60-75 patients. Sounds fantastic, right? It gets better!
In 2010, several dozen children from surrounding villages attended Pine Branch Christian Camp. These are all children who are being monitored by the Department of Social Services. The Sasha Project was born in response to the situation a young boy, Sasha, was found living in during a follow-up visit to his family’s home. While the Department of Social Services is charged with watching after and providing for these children, they just don’t have the resources to do it. Today, they serve over 80 children living in a home with alcoholism, neglect, abuse, abandonment or abject poverty. Every two weeks, Jeremiah’s Hope staff visit these children, spending 15-30 minutes in each home and make reports to Social Services, as needed. Additionally, they provide families with simple food packages (bread, macaroni, rice, cream of wheat, cooking oil, butter, eggs, cheese, sausages, cabbage, carrots, onions, apples, oranges, juice and milk) to help meet the need of providing for these children. They also provide school supplies and other material needs like blankets and warm clothing for winter.
The most recent project opened in the Fall of 2012 when the local orphanage was shut down due to a lack of government funds. Jeremiah’s Hope was asked by the local government to open a rescue shelter. The facility was build under contract with the local government to house up to 18 children on a temporary basis while both the government and Jeremiah’s Hope works to rehabilitate and reunite families. In unsuccessful cases, children are then placed in Christian foster homes.
Jeremiah’s Hope has grown by leaps and bounds since they broke ground on the camp in 2010. They are a multi-faceted organization that works with orphans and at-risk youth which Polina’s Promise considers to fall into the special needs category. Due to their amazing growth, and recent events in Ukraine, they have a need we want to help them meet.
All of the ministries I wrote about above are run eight individuals. As you can imagine, it is their vision to grow their staff to be able to more effectively serve the children. In order to do that, they must be able to provide housing. There community is in a rural village with no paved roads with approximately 300 people living in homes wehre 80% of the villagers have no running water or indoor kitchens or bathrooms. With no housing available, they cannot bring on more staff. As it is, two of the current staff are living in cabins and using an unattached shower block. This is also cabin space where 10 additional campers could attend each session.
Recently, Jeremiah’s Hope received a $20,000 matching grant from a Christian foundation to be used to build additional missionary/staff housing and a meeting room. Over the winder, those funds were matched and they plan was to add two small cottages to provide housing to two single staff members and free up a small house currently occupied by a single person for an incoming couple. The meeting room would allow the ministry a separate building in which to hold Bible classes, Medical/Dental clinics, sort humanitarian aid, etc. rather than trying to do this is in the main dining hall.
Unfortunately due to the current economic situation in Ukraine, the cost of the buildings has increased about 20 cents to every US dollar, leaving the ministry about $7,000 short to complete the purchase and installation of the buildings before summer.
We hope that you will join us in our partnership with Jeremiah’s Hope to provide the need to expand the facility and improve their ministry and outreach to the children of Ukraine.
Don’t hesitate to email us with any questions or concerns you have about this project. We can be reached via email and donations sent via paypal to email@example.com