Odessa, Ukraine is a major seaport and transportation hub on the Black Sea. The population of the city is just over one million.
"Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, social conditions in the city of Odessa deteriorated quickly, mostly due to sudden unemployment because many companies collapsed… children were suffering and taking to the streets in large numbers. In 2000 the foundation started programs to help the street children, and today the foundation is running an orphanage for twenty five children and has organized two mobile patrols which visit the children with food, clothes, and offers medical treatment and psychology assistance every day."
Beyond Our Borders was drawn to Odessa in 2007 because of the work there helping children living on the streets. It was a compelling journey. There are so many homeless children living in unimaginable conditions, such as dark sewers and dilapidated buildings. These children have so many needs that are failing to be met. Needs to be loved. To be helped psychologically. To be given a chance to heal their many scars. We sincerely thank Robert Gamble and the many others who are answering the call to lend their support in helping these children.
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Members of the Beyond Our Borders team arrived in Odessa in the fall. With winter looming and cold nights already upon us we began to imagine the imminent struggle ahead for these homeless children. We stayed several days learning as much as we could about ways to aid them. We rode in a van around the city serving food and encouraging kids to come with us to The Way Home to get them off the streets, off drugs, and into a safe haven. Seeing intelligent children living in terrible conditions moved us to do our part physically and financially to support the psychological needs for these hopeless individuals. One child who we met recently died. We remember him and hear the call to assist other children like him.