The orphan crisis in Ukraine is bigger than we knew

By July 24, 2023

Ukraine (MNN) — Slavic Gospel Association (SGA) is uncovering an orphan crisis in Ukraine that’s bigger than we realized.

SGA-supported churches are ministering to an estimated 14,000 orphans in 190 orphanages across six countries, including Ukraine.

Yet, in the midst of wartime, Ukrainian churches have discovered as many as 50,000 “social orphans” who are neglected in their own homes.

SGA’s Eric Mock says, “We miss the children that remain in these homes among parents that are basically abandoning the children every day. We hear of children that come home from school to find parents passed out, they’re drunk, they’re not providing food — children that are going for days at a time with never getting a meal [and] no clean drinking water.

(Photo courtesy of Slavic Gospel Association)

“We’re finding over and over where, especially in Ukraine in the midst of this war, we have single moms that can’t figure out how to survive. The husband is gone or he’s fighting on the front line. Most of the aid centers are single women taking care of children. Some of the men just literally disappeared.”

Some of these social orphans are older siblings responsible for the younger ones, and many even end up on the street — a prospect made more dangerous by the bombs and missiles that have become a reality for Ukrainians.

Then there are Ukrainian orphans who “age out” of the orphanage system. “Children, when they turn at age 17, they leave the orphanage there. They’re nonetheless an orphan, and these children don’t know how to buy groceries. They don’t know how to cook a dinner. They don’t know how to wash their clothes. They don’t know how to pay bills.”

Ukrainian believers are expanding their reach to help these social orphans in their communities with the support of SGA.

Mock says, “We’re not only helping orphans in orphanages, but we’re also working with churches as they minister to children wherever they find them. It might be on the street. It may be in troubled homes.

Summer camp for kids. (Photo courtesy of Slavic Gospel Association)

“Some of the churches are working with families to make sure the tide of orphans heading into orphanages is slowed at least in some measure…. If we sit back and wait somehow for those children to show up in an institution, I think we’re missing an opportunity.”

In reaching social orphans, Ukrainian believers are practicing James 1:27 and representing Jesus Christ to these kids.

You can support SGA’s ministry to orphans in Ukraine here.

Then, pray for Ukrainian orphans to know the perfect love of their Heavenly Father.

Mock says, “Rather than just thinking of orphans in institutions, let us think of broken homes, let’s think older orphans, and what you see is God raising up His Church in these communities to be salt and light among these hurting hearts.”








Header photo courtesy of Slavic Gospel Association.