Back to School
For a child at Shpola Orphanage in Ukraine, “Back to School” is very different. It’s NOT the familiar waxy smell of crayons, freshly sharpened pencils and a cool new backpack.
It’s much more basic. Instead, it’s hot food at meal times, a safe place to sleep, indoor plumbing and clean school uniforms. Maybe, it’s painfully saying goodbye to Mom or a relative that probably won’t be seen again for months. For many, it’s readying oneself for the torment soon to be dished out from bullies and teachers alike. It’s being resigned to the fact of spending another year with 137 other kids in a dismal institution, and it’s a relief.
On September 1, schools (even orphan schools) across Ukraine officially welcomed a new school year at a ceremony called First Bell. Children picked flowers to present to their teachers, dressed up in their best clothes and came to hear encouraging speeches, poems and songs. It has become a tradition for Hope Now to open the orphan school at Shpola, and I prepared a speech about “Peace” that I hoped would inspire and challenge the children and staff.
After the big ceremony, our dedicated team of volunteers spent time with the all the kids, took photos, played sports & games and ate bananas together! In addition, most of our 70 sponsored orphans at Shpola experienced an even more positive “Back to School” because they received an encouraging letter from their sponsor in the USA.
The kids were engrossed in the personal letters and photos their sponsors sent them. These letters let their sponsored child know that someone cares for them, believes in them and will be praying that they have a great new school year. The love and guidance of a sponsor means the world to a lonely child at Shpola Orphanage.
But what about the 67 children at Shpola who are not yet sponsored? They wait. They dream of a sponsor. They crave having a personal connection from someone halfway around the world who cares about them. Won’t you consider being that person? Sponsor one – or even two orphans today by clicking here… I will personally select a child that has been waiting…waiting for you!
Thank you for your faithful support and love, for the least of these.
Also in News
Today, August 24, is Ukrainian Independence Day! This national holiday honors the indomitable spirit of the Ukrainian people and remembers all who’ve given their lives for their country — including those still fighting now. On this day in 1991, Ukraine gained its independence and joined the world stage as a sovereign nation. This year’s Independence Day holds particular significance as the country continues its struggle against the ongoing Russian invasion. Here is the true story of one family who just arrived in America on Sunday, and how they have been spending the past 546 days of the war.
The Last Bell has been rung in Ukraine, and school is officially out for summer! That famous Alice Cooper song is not well known in the orphanage, but nonetheless, children all across the country of Ukraine, those that are now displaced in Europe and in the USA, and indeed those students who switched to online learning in the face of war, are celebrating that school is out for summer! Last week, our kids celebrated Last Bell, complete with 11th grade Graduation and our dedicated team made sure they had an audience! They brought flowers, chocolates, ice creams and most importantly themselves. I hated having to miss Last Bell and celebrating with the children and teachers. I traditionally give an end of year speech, and this year (as last year) Inna had to read my speech at the closing ceremony, in my stead. Here’s what I wrote, and here are some of the gorgeous photos taken that day…
Memorial Day is a day to remember and honor all military personnel who died in the service of our country, particularly those who died in battle or as a result of wounds sustained in battle, according to the US Department of Veterans Affairs. This Monday, Americans all across our country will have the opportunity to do just that.
Meanwhile, just in the past year, Ukraine has suffered 124,500-131,000 total casualties, including 15,500-17,500 killed in action and 109,000-113,500 wounded in action, according to the document entitled "Russia/Ukraine - Assessed Combat Sustainability and Attrition." And not just on Monday, but on every day in Ukraine, people just like us remember and honor the loved ones who have died these past 457 days defending their country. With your help, Hope Now does whatever we can to help protect Ukrainian lives – civilians and soldiers alike.