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Helping Hands cares for vulnerable persons in southeast Ukraine, with its programs focusing on children and the elderly. The organization meets the physical needs of underprivileged persons in its community by providing much-needed food and clothing, and is driven by the Christian call to care for the needy among us. With a bevy of orphaned children in Ukraine – the vast majority of which are social orphans, due to alcoholism, abandonment and imprisonment of parents – many of Helping Hands’ efforts revolve around distributing sustenance, hygiene products and medical supplies to three local orphanages. The organization also provides counselling for the orphans and adults dealing with substance abuse problems. One of Helping Hands’ key programs is a summer camp it runs for orphans and under-privileged children on the Sea of Azov in southeast Ukraine. At Camp Mayak, children have a chance to escape harsh living conditions and to play sports and engage in various fun, uplifting and educational activities. Several sessions are reserved for children with disabilities. In its orphanage programs and at Camp Mayak, children receive the encouragement and attention that are all too often lacking in their lives. Helping Hands also provides services to elderly persons, such as delivering food and helping them with daily chores.
Orphans, however, remain the focus of Helping Hands’ operations. And for good cause; there are currently over 100,000 orphans in Ukraine, with some 2,000 mothers abandoning their newborns in maternity hospitals each year. State-run orphanages are overcrowded and children leave under-skilled and unprepared to care for themselves. Around 10% of orphans commit suicide after leaving an orphanage but before their 18th birthday. Over 60% of orphaned females end up in prostitution, while 70% of males enter a life of crime after leaving the state orphanages. Many struggle to survive in the orphanages, as nourishment is often lacking and medical supplies are scarce. Helping Hands aims to meet the physical needs of struggling orphans as well as to provide skills-training that will enhance orphans’ chances of staying off the streets and away from detrimental endeavors such as drugs and alcohol abuse that lead to disaster for so many orphans in Ukraine. Its Christ-centered orphanage programs instil a sense of dignity in children and give them hope for a brighter future. Helping Hands summer camp, Camp Mayak, has provided the experience of a lifetime for many orphans and disabled children who would never otherwise enjoy the sea or spend time in a safe, loving environment where they are truly valued. Between these programs and its elderly assistance program, Helping Hands transforms lives for Ukraine’s most vulnerable citizens. Aid Worker History Helping Hands was formed in 2004 by Ivan and Elena Vlasova, two Ukrainian businesspersons with a heart for helping the needy. While initial efforts were focused solely on enhancing the quality of life for children in local orphanages, the organization’s programs have expanded over the years to account for the diverse and significant needs of so many in impoverished southeast Ukraine.
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Aid Workers Country
- Location: UKRAINE / Eastern Europe and Russia
- Language(s): Ukrainian (official), Russian, other including Romanian, Polish and Hungarian
- Currency: Hryvnia
- Religion(s): Ukrainian Orthodoxy, Christianity (Roman Catholicism and Protestantism), Judaism
- GDP per capita: USA: $47,400 | UKRAINE: $6,900