08 Apr Five Children’s Homes Safely Evacuated: Update as of April 8, 2022
We have officially evacuated all five of our partner children’s homes and have settled them in safe, semi-permanent homes. We have encountered numerous obstacles along the way, including getting through various military check points and moving over 25 tons of supplies across the border to meet needs. One of our biggest challenges was collecting all the required documents for each of the children, and completing large quantities of paperwork at the border. At times, these challenges seemed impossible to resolve. However, we have experienced God’s grace, provision and protection time and time again throughout this entire process.
Pilgrim Republic Safe-house for Children:
Just a week ago, the children of Pilgrim Republic were declined entry at the border because of missing paperwork. After some strategic planning and coordination, we were able to secure all of the documents needed to grant them access. It took three full days, including 10 hours at the border to get them out of Ukraine. Once they made it through, we surprised the children and staff with a night at a Marriott Hotel in Poland and took them to explore the Black Forest. It was priceless to see the joy on their faces, especially after everything they have been through.
By God’s grace, our field coordinator, Coleman Bailey arrived safely to Germany with the children and got them settled into their semi-permanent home. We are thankful for all of our partners working with us to secure these resources and prepare everything prior to the children’s arrival. This week, the children will be registered with the German Government so they can receive additional services and support. They will have access to free health care as well as additional monthly support for each child. We are thankful for the coalition of churches and other organizations willing to step up and join us in assisting the children. We are in the process to furnishing the building to ensure each child has a safe place to sleep. We are also working with staff to establish a more stable routine for the children.
Last week, we secured a large charter bus to take the children of Native Home to Germany. Like Pilgrim, we were also faced with paperwork issues at the border. After being declined entry, we tried again, this time with success. Because of their network of support, the staff of Native Home felt that it would be best to relocate to Spain. We were able to secure a great facility and arranged for the charter bus to take them there. They will have similar benefits to what Germany is offering.
We have been working for weeks to get the children and staff from Pearl orphanage moved to Germany. When they left Ukraine, they made the decision to temporarily stay in Lithuania. However, there weren’t enough resources to support them there. A German National COG Ministry has been an invaluable resource in helping us to find a facility in Germany. We are still compiling paperwork, but they will be in a safe and comfortable facility. They will have the same government benefits as Pilgrim.
Father’s House in Kyiv were the first to evacuate. They also assisted two other orphanages in Kyiv out of the country into Germany. In total, they now have 200 children under their care. Currently, they are staying in four buildings that were formerly used as a Syrian refugee facility. They are in the process to looking for a more permanent solution. They are safe, and we are assisting them with resources.
Sails of Hope:
The vast majority of the children and staff are staying in a border town of Poland. Prior to the invasion, Sails of Hope served orphaned and vulnerable children in their community of Slavyasnk. This included providing a home and a variety of programs for both orphaned children, as well as those whose parents are alive, but not equipped to care for them. They worked to explore the possibility of reunification with extended family members and supported local foster families. Because of this, some of the children who were legally connected with extended families opted to resettle in other places where they have better connections and resources. We are still in communication with the Eva, the director on their status and well being.
The impact of your support:
With your support, Serving Orphans Worldwide has officially moved 340 children living in orphanages out of danger, and settled them into a semi-permanent home as we prepare and plan for next steps. This number is not including staff and other families. Furthermore, your support allowed us to fund a significant portion Pastor Gennadiy’s humanitarian work and as a result, touched the lives of literally thousands of civilians. Each night, hundreds of refugees have stayed in our orphanage buildings and churches that are closely connected with our children’s homes. We have also been able to connect with the Polish and Romanian churches to move a lot of food, blankets, heaters and other resources to make this transition more comfortable for the children, staff and other refugee families. We have moved somewhere between 25-30 tons of humanitarian aid so far.
Now that all five of our children’s homes are safe, the difficult work of planning our next steps will begin. We are currently navigating through legalities and trying to explore all of our available options. Of course, the leadership of these homes will be involved in this process and it will take time. In the interim, we are purchasing furniture and other essential items to make life comfortable for the children. Getting them into a routine after so much chaos is our utmost priority. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you for every dollar you have given and every prayer you have lifted up. It has made a world of difference and we truly believe that it directly impacted the outcome of our rescue efforts.