Two Kinds of Home

Everybody knows there’s home, and then there’s home. There’s the roof over your head. And there are the people who love you no matter what, challenge you to grow and serve others, and comfort you when you fail – with whom you feel at home. We all need both.

Nadya’s House

Nadya has a good job by Ukrainian standards. But for orphanage graduates, housing is scarce, and even for Nadya it’s unaffordable. In Ukraine, homes stay in families. Most apartments are owned (like condos), and owners often won’t rent to orphans anyway. Nadya has been living in a social dorm – not a permanent solution.

She and her brother inherited a family home. But when our team visited in 2017, it was unlivable:

At Nadya’s house in 2017

Nadya prepared many of the legal documents for renovation, and we made a list of repairs: rebuilding and plastering walls; wiring; replacing floors, ceilings, roof, doors, and windows; bringing in water and sewer; creating a bathroom; and adding kitchen cabinets and a sink. Almost everything but the foundation! Our crew began renovation on May 1st of this year, and Nadya cleans on the weekends.

Our Crew at Work

With a sub-par education and no knowledge of real-world work expectations, many orphanage grads struggle to hold down jobs. The Restoration Project apprentices three guys in the renovation and building trades. Foreman Sergei teaches technical skills. Each project is different: the crew had only built one roof before Nadya’s.

RP crew working on the roof

Nadya’s house will take about five months. As of June, the crew had finished the roof and plumbing, rebuilt some walls, and almost finished the drainage system. This summer, they’ll also do small repairs at Last Bell facilities and in other orphans’ homes.

The crew is part of our Last Bell family. Sergei is their mentor, but they visit other staff and peers at the Day Center. We help them with practical needs, too, including their own housing.

An Unexpected Discovery

Nadya is her grandmother’s namesake, and her grandparents built this house together. But her grandfather wrote the deed in his name only. When the crew dismantled the roof, they found a letter from Nadya’s grandmother to the authorities. It described her husband’s drinking and how he chased her and the children out of the house.

Nadya’s mother and grandparents are deceased. Her family life wasn’t easy and her family history is heavy. But soon a new family path will be open for Nadya in this house that’s seen such heartache, newly renovated by her fellow orphanage graduates.

The value of the house will more than double – good news for Nadya’s security and the future generations of her family. She wants to attend university and help orphans: “I always dreamed of saving at least one life in this world.” Nadya has a second home in our loving community. We’ll continue to mentor her and share the love of Jesus.

About Last Bell, Nadya said, “A lot of people take orphans to get money or not to pay taxes… There are many families in Ukraine where biological children don’t receive as much love and support as I’ve received from the leaders. They are my true friends.”

Nadya with two Last Bell staff members