By Gennady and Mina Podgaisky
The city of Kiev, Ukraine is home to 4 million people. Several thousand of those residents are children between the ages of 2-16 years old who live on, in or under the streets of the city. The Ukrainian Christian Cooperation Center, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of North Carolina and Stitching Little John from the Netherlands, came together to establish the Village of Hope.
We have been serving as CBF field personnel in Kiev, Ukraine since 2003 with urban/poverty/street-children and children at risk ministries. The Village of Hope was officially founded in 2003 when the buildings located on a 17 acre camp were purchased.
The Village of Hope is a foster family ministry center where three foster families and one refugee family from Eastern Ukraine live. Located in a former pioneer camp in the outskirts of Kiev, every year since 2004, short-term volunteer teams have come to the Village of Hope to renovate their buildings, lead in English, facilitate medical clinics and lead VBS and summer camps.
One of our foster families at the Village of Hope, recently received into their home two girls.The girls were found in the basement of an apartment building living with three drunk men. A neighbor heard the girls crying and called the police. The Department of Social Services has no information on who the parents may be, the age of the children or where they live. We can assume the youngest girl is around 2 to 3 years old and the older sister is between 4 and 5 years of age. The girls are scared and confused. They also show some signs of neglect and abuse.
The Village of Hope has become a refuge for vulnerable and at-risk children in Ukraine. Some of the children living in the Village of Hope have lived in the streets, some are orphans, some come from orphanages, some from extended family members that can not take care of them. Some come with a brother or sister and some come alone. All come afraid and with big hopes that their lives will be different in the future. All hope to have someone to call “mom” and “dad.” There are 23 children and youth living at the Village of Hope that now have a mother, a father and siblings.
This can only be possible because of your donations to the CBF Offering for Global Missions. These children and youth need your support in order to continue to have a warm home to live in, a family to call their own and hope for a better future within a Christian home.
Gennady and Mina Podgaisky are CBF field personnel serving in Kiev, Ukraine. The CBF Offering for Global Missions supports their presence and ministry there. To learn more about the Offering and how you can partner with CBF to support the Podgaiskys, visit www.cbf.net/OGM.