Wednesday, October 26, 2011



Our time in Ukraine for the last many years has been divided between many different activities - cities, towns, villages and people. We have laughed, cried and even sometimes felt exhausted to the point of woundering if we had the energy to continue. Yet, God has given us strength and energy that only can be explained by giving credit to divine intervention. We are in our Winter Years.

Yet - our hearts are broken over and over again when we see the conditions for "living" that our dear disabled children and adults are given both here and in our beloved Kyrgyzstan. We have watched hope and dignity start to return to our men at Iksra, Kyrgyzstan Home for Disabled Men. We see the renovation happening piece by piece, step by step. And we see the progress. But most of all we see the HOPE that is coming into the eyes of our dear friends - the men of Iskra.

In Ukraine, Bari Oglie is outside of the city of Krivoy Rog, where we have spent a great deal of time over the last years. At Bari Oglie, unlike Iskra there are both men and women and like Iska - over 200 persons living at the institution outside of the city. With the help of the local church in Krivoy Rog, Bari Oglie has received visiting teams who have grown to love the men and women and have offered to help in any way they might be of service. We have watched improvement happen here and again step by step, piece by piece, improvements and HOPE are lighting up the hallways. Local volunteers grow in both countries - and what a difference they make - residents inspired to step out and work along side of the volunteers to make their "home" a better place in which to live.

We see men and women making gardens and national crafts. We hear music coming from talented players, hearts pouring out in song when a resident picks up a guitar to play for the group. There are smiles coming from faces when they see their beloved volunteers returning to visit, play or instruct. Staff welcome visitors where once they would "snarl" or frown when one would walk down the halls. Or they would quickly run ahead to lock and close certain doors. Oh how things are changing. Where we would be allowed only to visit some and where areas were perviously off limits to us - there is now an open door to the entire institution - every floor, every door, every person are now open to our volunteers and almost always to our teams. What a difference as there is no more hiding. Bari Oglie and Iskra are changing thanks to so many who care.

Yet, there is more to do - so much more. The buildings need so much renovation, it takes a great supply of items to keep crafts, sewing, and creating going on. Even buying guitar strings is a major purchase in these facilities. New guitars, garden tools, plants, balls, basketball courts, sand for the volley ball courts, fresh fruit and vegetables in off season - all are burdens for the homes. It takes outside help to make a difference. We have seen the benefit of those helping make a huge difference at Iskra and Bari Oglie. Two countries, two homes and two reasons to return over and over again. And now we want to go one step further....


Let's work to bring men and women into society - those functioning at a high level who are ready to learn, grow and move into the community. One person, two persons, three persons, learning life skills, practicing living outside of the institution and then perhaps really being ready and able to move into a home with others who are now part of society. This is called de-institutionalization. Do you believe? We do. The volunteers are ready - they are strong and they are committed. Yet, this will be a project that will require all of us - all of you who have the passion and desire to take a risk - step out and say clearly - YES, LET'S DO THIS!

WANT TO KNOW MORE - contact us.


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