By Brother Sasha
Let me share with you the latest news about the Girls’ shelter ministry in the city of Kramatorsk.
This ministry was started by Pastor Oleg Serbo and his wife Anna in 2016. God turned their attention to the destiny of orphaned girls who graduate from state boarding schools at the age of 17-18 years old and are left to their own - without any skills, without experience, and without any good friends who would be able to help them find their way in life. Moreover, it is especially hard for those girls who have some physical or mental disabilities.
For such girls, the house was purchased, becoming their home during the time they are getting education and acquiring social skills. Most of the girls study in the specialized schools, where they learn a profession such as a cook or a painter. In addition, during their stay in the House the girls get acquainted with the church and with believers.
This House is like a beehive. There are many people there and it is noisy and fun. It`s interesting for me to see how the girls change after they move into this House. At first, they are closed and cautious, but then every time I visit the House, I see how they thaw.
The House is a temporary place to stay. The goal of the center is to help girls as much as possible during 1-2 years, so that they would be able to live independently, though still under the supervision of the House staff. The biggest problem for all girls is not having their own house. The state is obliged to provide orphans with social housing or with the money for its purchase, but not all girls have such an opportunity. Some of them are biological orphans and in these cases, the chances of getting help from the state are much higher. For those girls whose parents are alive, even if they do not care about them, the state social programs do not apply. It is not an easy task to break the bureaucratic obstacles of the state. Often these orphans do not know about their rights, especially those who have mental disabilities.
By the grace of God during two years, the issues of purchasing housing for Masha, Nina, and Nastia were resolved. Now their apartments are being renovated. Ira got married and together with her husband, she is expecting the birth of her child in July.
Vika and her daughter Ksenia are waiting for the completion of construction of their apartment. They will receive this apartment from the state, as they are refugees from the war zone. All the acquisition of housing would be impossible for the girls if the staff of this ministry did not make every effort to help them. For now, none of the girls is ready for a completely independent life, but they are preparing for the day they will leave the Shelter and begin an independent life. Then new girls will take their place in the House. Some of them have a job and already earn their own small money.
One of the most amazing girls in this group is Tanya. She is unusually attached to Anna and other House staff members. It is important for her to be close to someone. She can walk several kilometers on foot just in order to stand next to Anna in her house for a few minutes. She likes to walk and walks a lot. If there is a need to buy medicines and take them to the elderly home (another project started by Oleg and Anna) or to the rehabilitation center for women then Tanya is the first person who volunteers to do this.
Her attachment and care sometimes create tragicomic situations. Once she saw some abandoned graves in a cemetery, fences around the graves were rusty, all overgrown with weeds. It touched Tanya`s heart, and she immediately, sincerely told Anna: "When you die, I will watch over your grave. I'll paint the fence, and clean up weeds." It was so sincere, but with Tanya`s mental development, she does not always understand what is appropriate to say and what is not. Of all the girls, her legal situation is the most difficult. The state did not recognize her as an orphan although her biological parents disappeared from her life many years ago and most likely they are not alive. The staff of the House managed to register Tanya for a mentally disabled pension, although for the sake of it, they had to go through all the circles of bureaucratic hell.
The latest biggest and most joyful news is that thanks to donations from many people, money was gathered to buy an apartment for Tanya. Now the necessary documents are in the process of finalization and soon the deal will be completed. The apartment is located close to the House, which will be good for Tanya when she starts to live on her own.
This is a good ministry and I always rejoice in my heart when I am there. Not everything always goes smoothly, various difficulties and trials are part of life. The girls are not always obedient. They do not always show the fruits of salvation in their lives, but this painstaking work is worthy of respect and prayer.
One of the prayer needs of this ministry is related to funding. Today there are people, mainly from abroad, who financially support this ministry. We are grateful to God for this, but nevertheless we feel the need to search for opportunities for earning money independently. To do this, a poultry-house was built in the yard of the house with a capacity of 300-500 chickens. In the fall, pullets will be purchased and an attempt will be made to start a small business to grow chickens. This is a good idea, so please support us in prayers for the blessing of this initiative.
May the God of peace be with you all!