How to Find what You are Looking For. . .

Because the purpose of this blog is to pool information on three basic areas, the link lists on the side will direct you to posts and outside resources related to them. Click here for the LDS HUMANITARIAN SERVICES HOME PAGE.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Humanitarian Work (containers), School for the Blind & Orphanages

Hope you enjoy this!
It was very touching to me. Abby

From Sister Kinghorn, a Humanitarian Service Missionary in the Ukraine:
Original post links: Humanitarian Work,
Orphanage One
Orphanage Two[IMG_0058.JPG]
Dear Friends,
People always ask "How can I help you? What can we send? My answer to you who are members of the church is attend your Stake Humanitarian Workdays. The above picture is an Orphanage Module that is shipped over in the LDS containers I have previously mentioned. This is where the quilts, wall hangings, newborn kits, baby blankets, handmade dolls and toys go that are made in those meetings. The Hygiene Kits and School Kits are also sent in the containers. One of the first ladies I met here who represented a charity that is from a very poor community pulled out a "School Bag" that she distributed the last time they received help from us. I can't tell you how exciting it was to see those bags go from our Relief Society to Welfare Square and end up here in Ukraine. I see your faces sitting over your sewing machines at home making these beautiful quilts and school kits that are so cherished by these children. One Sister missionary told me the first time she took Hygiene Kits to an orphanage one little girl just clung to it. She didn't even want to open it. She just held it close to her chest. The first time I went to an orphanage I spoke with a little girl who was clinging to a very old raggedy barbie doll with no clothes and a little broken comb and empty perfume bottle. Your handmade gifts are so very special and greatly appreciated. My dear friends, the blankets or school bags, or hygiene kits that you make may not come to Ukraine but I promise you the Humanitarian dept will send it to a country where some little girl or boy will cherish it and feel the Saviors love through your act of service. I want you to know that we are distributing these items all over Ukraine and I am so proud to be able to say "they come from the LDS families all over the world". We also tell them that the money we use to purchase other items they request is money that comes from LDS families all over the world. This money comes directly from your donations. Some of you may not be able to attend meetings or sew at home but you can help another way; you can donate to the Humanitarian Fund on your tithing slip. I am so grateful to be able to be here in Ukraine bringing the love of the Savior to these people. I love this work.

School for the Blind
Today we went to a school for the blind. It was registered in 2005. They have 2 very small classrooms for blind students. Each classroom is used by 4 students at a time. The students rotate throughout the day. They have a total of 24 students. However, they also work with older clients as well. Some of the students receive instruction in the home. I remember reading about this organization in a journal another Humanitarian Couple kept. I was so impressed with the Principal and how much he has accomplished in just a few years. We met one of their students who is entering the University soon. We also met about 4 or 5 women who we were told were all retired teachers who volunteer their services. The Principal really wants to teach people how to function as productive members of the society. He wants them to become educated to do more than just “menial work” He said he would like to see them be able to enter professional careers and be treated like "normal" people. He asked the Church for a computer to assist with teaching their students. He would also like to send some of the children to a Summer Camp so he is trying to find Sponsors to send his students to camp. It seems to be very common for children in Ukraine to go to camp during the summer. Many of the organizations we visit are looking for sponsors to help send children to camp. The unique thing about this request is most of these children would not have this opportunity because of their visual impairments. His goal is to give them the same opportunities as "normal" children. We then visited a shelter for young adults 18-23 who were raised in orphanages and now have nowhere to go to live or learn job skills. They are housing these young adults as well as trying to provide support in finding jobs. They only stay at this shelter until they find a job. Their goal is to try to find jobs that provide housing. One of the women said these are usually unskilled factory jobs, they use to have dormitories for Mine workers but she said it is so dangerous nobody wants to work there. We found this place on our own and the lady was so surprised we were offering help without anyone asking. It is kind of a strange concept isn't it. I want all of you at home to know that this is one of those organizations who would benefit from the HYGIENE KITS, BLANKETS AND BEDDING AS WELL AS CLOTHING DONATIONS THAT COME FROM THE CHURCH. All these young people were abandoned at birth and lived in orphanages their whole lives. Can you imagine how special it would be to have a homemade quilt? Keep up the work sisters I am so proud to represent our Relief Society. Today, the Principal told us there would be a "special reward in Heaven" for people like us for doing this work and I want you to know that I am just the messenger your love comes through to them in these blankets and hygiene kits.
Thank-you Thank-you Thank-you. It was a good day.
 One more day of being very thankful for these wonderful people who dedicate their lives to making other peoples lives better.

These kids were so cute. We were having a tour of the facility and came upon all these girls. They were so happy to see us. They kept saying "hello" in English. Then they would say, " my name is _____". Then they'd laugh. They love speaking English and having us understand them. We were swarmed in a matter of seconds. This orphanage is for children 6-16 years old. They have 157 children housed on 4 floors. They said 67 children are under State Protection. I think that means they were permanently removed from their parents. The Director said that the children here do not get adopted because they are older and people just want younger children. That was so sad. They also go to school at the orphanage. The second Orphanage houses about 82 children who are 3-18 years of age. They said they have about 20 children a year get adopted. They go to school in the community. The director said some of the children have been adopted by Mormon families from America. We were very impressed with both orphanages. The first one the children were housed in dormitory style rooms with about 6-8 beds in each room. They have been doing a lot of remodeling in the last 2 years and had a very impressive facility. The children's rooms were so clean it was hard to believe children actually slept there. They had separate floors for the girls and boys and each floor had a very nice lounge with a big screen TV. They even had a gym with a basketball hoop. They had a recreation room with a ping pong table and very old weights. I think their request for Humanitarian Aid may be for some weights for the rec room or exercise equipment. We visited the classrooms while the students were in class and it was so cute. They would all stand up when we walked in. One class had 6 year olds who said they don't know English they are studying French so they all wanted to show us what they could say in French. Elder Kinghorn said he could take any one of them home they were so adorable. They all had little black and white clothing on skirts, vest, sweaters. The teacher was very proud to tell us, "this is not just for the holiday, they look this nice everyday". It was a much nicer facility than I could have imagined, however, the sad fact is this is their "home." This was very apparent to me when we entered the hallway where the 3-5 year olds were in their beds napping, with their little shirts and pants laying neatly on the chairs next to their beds. As we walked by and saw a few of them stirring I thought of how my grandsons like to crawl into our laps when they wake up and just "snuggle" for a little while. Where do these little children wander off to when they wake from their naps and whose arms hold them? Who tucks them in at night and who teaches them to pray to Heavenly Father. Yes, these were nice facilities but there is no substitute for a HOME. These children are being raised without parents. I can't imagine what it would be like to grow up not having a family. The other thing that is hard to comprehend is these children go to camps in America where people come to see them to decide if they might adopt them. I can't imagine what the rejection feels like when they are not selected and they must return to the orphanage. They already have to live knowing their birth parents didn't want them and then they have to continually be disappointed when they meet potential adoptive parents who do not want them either.

We brought 6 young missionaries with us to visit the second Orphanage and when we went to meet with the Director I asked if the Missionaries could go visit with the children. The Director said yes, but you should have seen the missionaries faces when they realized they were going to be on their own. They said, "what should we do?" It was so cute, Elder Kinghorn said, "you don't have to worry it will come to you. They'll love you. Just go and you'll know what to do." I was so relieved when we returned about 45 minutes later and found them sitting on the floor in two circles of missionaries and young boys and girls playing what looked like "duck duck goose." They were all laughing and having a great time. I told the Elders I was so relieved to see them having fun. I felt like a mom who had left her kids at DayCare crying at the door and I didn't know when I returned if I would find them still sitting by the door crying. The Elders said, " It was really bad at first. We all just stared at each other for about 2 minutes. They were watching TV and when one of them turned it off some of them got mad, one girl said, lets listen to the missionaries. We didn't know what to do or say so we decided to play the game. They said, "they caught on faster than the students in our older English Classes. It was really a blast."


A Senior Couple in Bermuda said...

Thank you so much for what you are doing. We recently served in Odessa and Donetsk as CES missionaries and were privileged to go with the humanitarian missionary couple to an orphanage, hospital for HIV children and a women's help center. They need so much help and the LDS members are doing a great service.

kersten campbell said...

I love your new blog Abby! So inspiring

McEwens said...

I dont know why I got linked to your blog, from a comment made, BUT I AM SO glad I did! Camps for adoption, what a sad concept, happy for those who are adopted, but sad for those that have to board the plane. GREAT blog!

McEwens said...

I have a speaking assignment for what we did in India and Africa... they want to tie in a service project, I guess I should have thought about contacting the church about what is needed, great reminder

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