I have learned so much recently about Ukraine - orphans in particular. Here are some of the things that I have found interesting. I am cutting and pasting from various websites:
Ukraine has over 100,000 orphans.
· Only 10% of these are orphaned due to death of a parent; the
rest are social orphans – due to alcoholism, abandonment, or imprisonment of parents.
· Many social orphans have experienced abuse and
violence from parents who were drug addicts or alcoholics.
· Orphans typically grow
up in large state-run homes, which may house over 200 children.
· Many children run away
from these homes, preferring to live on the street.
· Children usually
graduate from these institutions between 15 and 16 years old and are turned
out, unprepared for life outside the home.
· Many girls will end up
in prostitution. Those who run prostitution rings target orphaned girls, who
are especially vulnerable due to their lack of options and lack of people who
care what happens to them. Though promised good jobs, they end up on the
streets and brothels of cities across Europe.
· Most of the boys will
commit crimes once leaving the orphanage. Many of these will die young of
violence or end up in prison. Most inmates contract TB in prison.
· Ukraine is now encouraging long-term foster
care in private homes as an alternative to large state-run orphanages.
Many families in Ukraine are poor, living at or under the poverty level.
These families are left in difficult situations, unable to provide for
themselves adequately. Poor living conditions and alcohol abuse often result in
the abuse or neglect of their children. The children of Ukraine have no way of
seeking assistance or rights to press charges against those that abuse them.
Death or suicide is often a result of such abuse. Many more of these children
are either abandoned or leave home to escape the torment.
As a result of such circumstances, Ukraine 's homeless, “street children”
find themselves in a terrible situation. These children often face the terror of
cruelty, torture, kidnapping, sexual exploitation, drug abuse and forced, hard
labor. Many beg in the streets or work in the sex industry. Food is scarce for
these children and at the same time they face the freezing temperatures of
winter without proper clothing or blankets for warmth. The majority of “street
children” have very little education. Many cannot read or write. They frequently
suffer from illness and disease due to lack of medical care and are often
The children in the orphanages are both orphans (without parents) and social
orphans (with at least one parent living). Many of the orphans in Ukraine are
abandoned to the orphanages or found in the streets and brought to the
orphanages. State funding to these institutions is very limited. Many lack
sufficient resources to provide for the number of children that are in their
care. There are shortages of food and clothing as well as, occasions without
electricity or heat. These facilities are often understaffed and cannot meet the
needs of the children physically or emotionally. Programs are not implemented to
care for these children properly. The children get very little stimulation. This
lack of stimulation is particularly harmful to the babies and very young
children, who are rarely held or comforted. Any neglect within the orphanages
leaves the children in a hopeless situation. They have no one to turn to for
The orphaned and abandoned children in Ukraine must rely on others for help
and support. There are currently no state agencies to assist them as needed. It
is up to us, people who care about the situation these children are in to make a
difference. Our work together will improve the lives of these children and help
provide them with the love and care they deserve.
or parents looking to adopt, providing a home for a child from a Ukrainian
orphanage is an opportunity to make an incredible difference in a child's life.
Despite the conditions they endure
in the orphanage, most parents find that their adopted children are
extremely resilient and are able to make up for any physical or emotional delays
given a healthy and loving environment. Given the crisis of abandoned children
and over-burdened institutions in Ukraine , adopting a child from these
orphanages is one of the best things a parent could do.