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6 villages for 2006: Ukraine


SOS Children's Village in Brovary, Ukraine

Ukraine does not get into our news very much. It is nearly twenty years (April 1986) since the Chernobyl disaster in neighbouring Belarus contaminated wide areas of the country. Transformation to a market economy has been unsuccessful and much of the infrastructure is the same as in the Soviet era. Officially one third of the populations live below the poverty line but unofficial estimates are much higher. Now growing HIV rates, drug abuse, child abandonment and alcoholism attack even what was left.

SOS started two projects in the capital, Kiev, in late 2003: one for families struggling to cope with their children (for example where a parent is from HIV/AIDS or has died) and one providing a centre for AIDS counselling. The programmes are aimed at those groups of the population who suffer most from the bad economic situation and insufficient social welfare: large families and children and youths from disadvantaged families.

As in many former soviet states, there are state run orphanages but they are desperate places. The extraordinary family-based way of running children's villages should shine as an example and show how it is possible to have happy places for happy children. Some one hundred children will find a new home in the SOS Children's Village in the border town of Brovary, approximately 20 kilometres from the centre of Kiev. The plan is to build fourteen family houses; the school infrastructure available in the town of 82,000 inhabitants is already adequate.

Relevant Countries: Ukraine.

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