Kindergarten & Shelter in Odessa

Happy, sad & shy!

It is a privilege for SGA to partner with friends in Odessa who care for children and young people.

SGA is presently supporting a local Kindergarten which has been an outreach of the local evangelical church in the village of Ilinka for the past seven years. It operates between September and May. Summer activities are organized as well. In May they had as many as forty-five children attending on a regular basis and sometimes more. Fifteen of these have since started school, and their places are already taken by new children!

Kindergarten Class in Odessa

On four days each week pre-school children aged 3–6yrs attend. They are mainly from unbelievers' homes, and it is a wonderful opportunity to teach the Scriptures, to help the children learn the importance of prayer, and also help with reading and writing and other activities. It is also an opportunity to meet parents and build bridges into their lives.

Praise God some parents have started to attend church activities, either those organized for couples, or others organized separately for mums. Pastor Vlad Mirmir recently reported that six mothers had attended church on one occasion.

We pray for all parents of our kindergarten children so that the seeds of God’s Word might be planted in their hearts and bring forth the fruit of repentance.
Pastor Vlad Mirmir

Thankfully local authorities are supportive of this initiative, and sometimes officials attend special occasions like Christmas, Easter or Thanksgiving.

These good relationships and the opportunities to share the gospel are much to praise God for.

CHRISTMAS CARD A

Sadly however, many children do not have parents or a loving home. Igor Bandura, a Ukrainian church leader, reports that there are over 100,000 children in state orphanages, 8,000 of whom are real orphans. The rest are from families that cannot or do not want to take care of them, a deeply saddening statistic.

For almost twenty years SGA have supported a Children’s Shelter organized by Grace Church in Odessa for such children. Throughout these years many have had a safe and loving home in which to live.

Staff & Children at the Shelter

Today around forty-five children and teenagers are cared for, most of whom live in the Shelter. There is a mixture of boys and girls aged 3–18yrs. Some are brothers and sisters. They are all recommended by the local government, which speaks volumes for the trust placed in the Odessa church!

Igor describes a typical daily routine:
‘Small children go to kindergarten. Children with special needs go to a special centre for child development, and older children go to schools and colleges respectively. After their return they have lunch and rest; then they do homework, clean their rooms, and help with other duties. Most of them also get music lessons, go to art school, and learn to take care of themselves and prepare a meal’.

Transition House

In 2018 a Transition House for young adults, generously supported by SGA[UK] was officially opened. When orphans reach eighteen years they move from the Shelter to live there. Presently twenty-three young adults are resident, occupying their own rooms and learning, under supervision of house-parents there, to cope independently and care for themselves.

Prayerfully remember the challenges faced by the house-parents in both Shelter and Transition House, not least their responsibilities to their own children. Pray that God will help them share the love of Jesus with these needy children, and that the Lord would open young hearts to receive Him.