In our letter at Christmas-time we shared about Last Bell’s newest program, the Restoration Project. We’ve seen more than one renovation project begun and completed, resulting in safe living situations for our young people. You can read more about the Restoration Project here.
When it comes to living situations, the most vulnerable people we serve are young orphan mothers. In Ukraine, parents or grandparents almost always provide or share housing with young couples and their kids. For orphans, housing becomes a near-impossible challenge. And they’re vulnerable to mistrust and mistreatment.
Lena L. and her daughter
Many orphanage graduates inherit apartments or village houses, but these have often been neglected or abandoned for so long that they’re unsafe and unlivable, especially for growing children. A single mom will find herself in precarious living situations, temporarily staying in government-run social dorms or with boyfriends. Many live with abuse because they have nowhere else to go.
Through our Stop the Cycle program, these young moms receive groceries and other supplies, attend parenting classes, and form relationships with our staff, who offer guidance and practical support in difficult times. Last Bell offers crisis housing for those in dire or dangerous situations.
Groceries for moms participating in Stop the Cycle
Now, our Restoration Project team is renovating inherited homes and apartments so these young moms have safe places to live and call their own.
Even better, the team is comprised of young men, all orphanage graduates, who need marketable job skills. With the training of our RP director Sergey, they’re earning an income to provide for their own families, while learning job skills that will serve them well in the future. So the Restoration Project is meeting orphanage graduates’ two major needs: housing and work.
Lena L., who has a little girl, recently benefited from this program. Here’s one “in progress” photo from the home she inherited:
And here are a couple of “after” photos:
The team has been working to provide her with running water, an extra request we were glad to say “yes” to. Some work will start during warmer weather, such as work on the water system and dismantling an old stove.
Lena’s parents “didn’t care about her,” so she was taken to the orphanage at eight years old. She grew up in the orphanage system and then graduated from a local trade school. Her dream for her daughter is to “finish school and enter college to become a singer and a gymnast.” Her daughter may have other ideas about what she wants to do, but either way her dreams could become a reality because both of them have a safe place to live!
The RP team has been working to meet certain team goals during each project, such as “treating each other with respect” and “doing quality work.” Sergey is a mature Christian who provides a great example to these young men, so they’re developing good character qualities.
They might be learning how to have fun along the way, too.
Praise God for this program and team that came together, and for the young moms and other orphanage graduates who will have safe homes because of it. Thank you for your support and your prayers!