Shpola Orphans

COVID Summer for Orphans

COVID Summer for Orphans

September 07, 2020

In an effort to control the spread of the Coronavirus, this past spring the government of Ukraine issued a nationwide quarantine, closed the border, all schools and orphanages and sent the children “home”. Instead of online distance learning, writing happy messages with chalk on sidewalks and sourcing the cutest mask, orphans were thrown back into the very environment they escaped from. So, what did they do? How did they cope?

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Caring for the Sick and Vulnerable

Caring for the Sick and Vulnerable

April 14, 2020

Over the years, as we have cared for orphans, families, and their communities we’ve encountered an overwhelming and often unmet need. Many orphans face pressing medical needs, including emergency surgeries and life-changing procedures, but they lack the funds to pay for them. While the Ukrainian government may promise free medical care for all, the realities of rampant corruption, poverty, and subpar medical facilities make this promise fall drastically short. 

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Ukraine: Orphans, A Disturbing Situation

Ukraine: Orphans, A Disturbing Situation

February 03, 2020

Right now, there are over 650 institutions housing 70-110,000 orphans in Ukraine, with the majority of them being “social orphans” who were abused or abandoned by their parents and were placed in the care of others. In Ukraine, the orphanage, known as an Internat, is a mixed boarding school for orphans and children from families living in poverty and is a catch-all for children of every background and need.

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Unloved boys do not Grow

Unloved boys do not Grow

December 17, 2019

Depending on which “official statistics” you believe, there are between 70,000 – 100,000 orphans in Ukraine living in about 750 institutions. This is a huge number. The Ukrainian government is doing its best to reduce it and is in the process of developing a foster care system.

But life is not about numbers; rather the children behind those numbers. Children who need our help. Children like Andrei. 

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Elevate Scholarship: First Semester at Sophia School is Almost Complete!

Elevate Scholarship: First Semester at Sophia School is Almost Complete!

December 18, 2018

Joy to the World! Over the past several months, God has brought an exciting partnership and program to Hope Now – the Elevate Scholarship. This scholarship allows orphan graduates to finish their high school education in a Christian school in Cherkasy while living with Christian host families. If this is your first time hearing about the scholarship, please read more about it on our recent blog post, Elevate Scholarship Gives Hope.

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#MyGivingStory: How my Pulled Heartstrings Led to Sponsorship

#MyGivingStory: How my Pulled Heartstrings Led to Sponsorship

November 15, 2018

With his head bent low and hands in the pockets of the suit he wore earlier in the day for his graduation from school at Shpola Orphanage, Vlad contemplatively walked up and down along the tall grass in the woods away from the celebratory bonfire and smores everyone else was enjoying.  The sight of him pulled at my heartstrings.  Was he thinking, "This is the only place I have been provided for and felt safe.  What now?"  Did he feel frightened and forsaken?

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#MyGivingStory: The Forgotten Children of Ukraine

#MyGivingStory: The Forgotten Children of Ukraine

October 16, 2018

One of our faithful volunteers and supporters, Chris Antaya, shares why she chose to partner with Hope Now and how it has affected her life…

If you had asked me about the orphans of Ukraine five years ago, I would have very little to say. If not for a lovely lady that I met through my church, I would not be writing this story.

 

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Elevate Scholarship Gives Hope

Elevate Scholarship Gives Hope

September 28, 2018

Most adults can look back and fondly recollect an experience, person or even a gift that positively influenced our lives. Maybe it was your parents’ sacrifice that enabled you to receive an excellent education; perhaps it was a coach who encouraged you to never give up; maybe it was a particularly hard time in your life that led you to depend on God; or possibly it was a gift from a complete stranger that set you on the path to where you are today. However, most orphans in Ukraine do not find themselves in positive circumstances or surrounded by supportive people. Because of the isolation and social rejection that many Ukrainian orphans face, they are not privy to the social resources and networking opportunities that many of us have had.

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The Plight of Orphan Graduates in Ukraine

The Plight of Orphan Graduates in Ukraine

September 21, 2018

When you think of the country of Ukraine, what comes to mind? Maybe you think of the Russian conflict, delicious chocolate, or harsh winters and fur hats. For one moment, we’d like to draw your attention to the lives of seven siblings who live in Ukraine - the Pikuyev children. Although each of these seven kids is unique and gifted in their own way, their story is unfortunately very similar to many other orphans in Ukraine. For many years, the Pikuyev children lived in a home with both parents, a surprising fact for many people who first hear their story. 

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Coming back to Kompas Park

Coming back to Kompas Park

August 14, 2018

Danny and I had the opportunity to go back to Kompas Park Youth Camp in Ukraine this summer, and it was an encouraging week for many reasons. Both of us have volunteered at camp multiple times over the years (this was Danny’s 12th year!), and we praise God that He’s allowed us to be a part of this ministry over the years. There is something truly relaxing and peacefully familiar about driving through Khreschatyk Village into Kompas Park.

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Created to love like Jesus, but I’m still learning how

Created to love like Jesus, but I’m still learning how

July 27, 2018

I was thrilled to return to Ukraine again this summer to serve at Hope Now’s Kid’s Camp. I wanted a break from my normal routine and to be with my Ukrainian friends again. I desired to be in a different culture and to see the children I’ve gotten to know over the years. I was excited about the normalcy of going to Ukraine again in the summer. But I wasn’t necessarily ready for conviction…


So often I fail at loving people the way Christ calls me to. I am quickly thrown off by my own selfish desires, focusing on my own agenda rather than the needs and wants of others. Truthfully, as Christ followers, we should be constantly in a state of loving others. Unfortunately, it’s a lot easier to dislike people who are different from us rather than love them. But Jesus told us to literally love our enemies (which is way easier in theory than in practice, but yet I am called to do this). He modeled what real love looks like; He is love. If I’m honest, I fail every day at loving people like Jesus did.

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How did you spend your Spring Break?

How did you spend your Spring Break?

April 20, 2018

When Cyndee asked me to join the team going to Shpola Orphanage to teach at English Language Week, I have to admit I didn’t feel the same kind of excitement I usually have leading up to trips to Ukraine. Maybe it was the thought of being away from my life in the states during Spring Break, or maybe it was the idea of staying at the orphanage for a whole WEEK without the possibility of a shower and comfortable bed, or maybe it was a bit of dread for what I expected to be a tiresome week only to be met with a stressful week at work on my return to Atlanta. Whatever the reason, my heart was not in a very humble place as I boarded the plane to Kiev. Thankfully, God showed himself to be much bigger and wiser than any of my selfish thoughts and worries.

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