It seems the attention of the whole world is drawn to Ukraine and the events that are taking place, especially during the last few days. Many are asking what will happen, what will be next? We don’t know the answer; so we pray and ask God for peace and wisdom, for His mighty hand to protect and to bring us all closer to Him.
What we do know is how all the current political changes in Ukraine have greatly impacted the economy, which is not strong and very close to default. Because of this, any political waves of instability are immediately felt by people at risk such as the elderly, disabled, foster families, orphans and such. Within the last three months life in Ukraine has become nearly 30% more expensive and in the turmoil some have lost their jobs.
Due to the changes happening in the government, the budgets for orphanages were not fully approved at the beginning of the year. The minimum funds they receive are designated for utility bills so they are not turned off, and salaries because if they are not paid in time the orphanage is fined.
In January the Plyskiv orphanage has received no funds for food, medical needs, soaps and cleaning supplies, or transportation expenses. Thankfully the workers and children collected a good harvest last fall and they have a small farm (a few pigs and a cow). Even our school children had their own gardens and berry patch. They have basic things like flour (and bake their own bread), milk, potatoes and vegetables so the children are being fed.
In February no funds came, not even for salaries! Ivan, the director of Plyskiv orphanage, called to ask for some help with transportation expenses as he had to bring a few children to the hospital in Vinnitsa. It is not a lot, about 40 USD, but even that is not available in the orphanage budget now. He also asked for some cleaning products, for bathing and keeping the environment safe and sanitary for the children.
Our last shipment of clothes and other material aid has arrived safely and has helped but many families are asking for food and some of the orphanage graduates we keep in touch with are asking if we have some work they can do to earn some cash.
We still don’t know what will happen in Crimea and with the rest of Ukraine, but even if everything goes well, it will take a long time for the economy to improve and government budgets to be established. Because of this reality we foresee a substantial increase in the needs that we are called upon to help with. In a month the planting season will slowly start again and a bountiful harvest to get families and orphans through next winter will depend upon their ability to purchase seeds now. It is very wise to grow one’s own food if there are fields for planting and Ivan with the help of orphanage workers would like to plant wheat, potatoes and all kinds of vegetables.
Please, pray with us for these needs of Plyskiv and the other orphanages that are home to so many children, for families and the elderly, and especially for peace in the country, we need it more than ever before.
Blessings, Ira and Lynnise