According to the Illinois-based Slavic Gospel Association (SGA), the orphan crisis in Ukraine and Russia has intensified due to the ongoing war. The children are being taken away to overcrowded orphanages far away from their families, and the effects are dire. Most of these kids are from war-affected families, abandoned by drug-addicted and alcoholic parents, or simply orphans. These cold and depressing orphanages have become their homes.
An alarming 84% of children in these orphanages stay until they’re 18 years old and then released to the community to fend for themselves. Studies show that over eight out of ten of these children will end up in crime, drugs, or prostitution, leading to suicide in some cases. Slavic Gospel Association (SGA) launched Orphans Reborn to support local churches and people with a heart to show God’s love to these children and share the Gospel with them.
“The kids don’t understand why this is happening to them,” said Eric Mock, a missionary with SGA that supports local evangelical churches ministering in Ukraine, Russia and other nations of the former Soviet Union.
Orphans Reborn provides hope for over 14,000 orphans and abandoned children in Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Armenia. With growing support from individuals and churches in the US, local church volunteers often face severe challenges in the form of icy roads and sub-zero temperatures, yet they visit the same orphanages every week.
“The children assume there’s something wrong with them. They think they’re ugly, that they don’t matter, that no one loves them or wants them. They’re depressed, lonely and sometimes very angry.”
Sonya and Vlad
Sonya and Vlad are some of the children who’ve benefitted from Orphans Reborn. Sonya’s father has no time for her, and her mother is an alcoholic. When the Christians from a local Baptist church started visiting her orphanage, she finally felt loved. At another orphanage, Luda, a church volunteer, took 10-year-old Vlad, an abandoned boy, under her wing, and he now calls her “Mom.”
“Every time I come to pick up Vlad, there are 12 other children looking at me with a questioning look that says, ‘What about me?’. God, if only I could, I would take them all to my place.”