Education for Ukraine’s Social Orphans
Some of our youth have family. Do they still need help?
Many of our youth have parents or guardians still living. But they still need help! Family relationships for these “social orphans” are often complex, and they don’t have the support they need.
Sasha White’s father took his own life, and his mother drank and left him home alone. When Sasha was four or five, he was in a traffic accident and became physically disabled. His mother lost her parental rights, and his grandmother became his guardian, a common situation.
Twice, she enrolled him in orphanage schools. Twice, she removed him because he was being bullied. He studied at home for three years, returned to school for three years, then studied computer basics at a trade school for disabled students. But his problems continued at university, and he left after a year. Even though Sasha had family, he didn’t have the resources to complete a higher education.
Sasha moved into a social dorm in Zhytomyr and began working various jobs. We met him during life skills lessons at his dorm. He took our lessons to heart, seriously working on personal development. He was often surprised by the support he received: advocacy at the dentist, used clothing, and quality time with our staff at the Day Center and one-on-one. He always expressed gratitude.
Sasha dreamed of learning to be a programmer. Naturally, we thought of our friends at Hebron IT Academy. We’ve mentioned Hebron in several stories, and for good reason! Hebron was developed by Christians specifically for orphans, so we often help our youth apply. Sasha was so happy for the opportunity. We loaned him a computer, and he began preparing persistently. He was accepted, and in August we helped him move to Lviv.
Because of the pandemic, Hebron students are under some travel restrictions. But they continue to attend church, and our staff stay in touch with Sasha and encourage his progress. We love learning about the needs of each unique orphan student, and working with our community to meet them!