Many Ukranian babies and children find themselves abandoned by their parents and alone without a support system. This has had a devastating result in the country, creating overcrowded orphanages that can't provide a very high level of care. Many are at a full capacity, so children end up getting sent to the hospital as a temporary shelter, where only their very basic needs can be met. It's a bleak situation where sheer numbers overpower chances for these kids to grow and thrive.
In December of 2011, the Living Pearl Children's Home was opened in near Lviv, Ukraine to accommodate local boys without families or homes to go to. After living in a nearby storage building while the repairs were completed, they moved into an old Polish Nobleman's summer house after years of restoration. It now benefits from a working sewage and boiler system, while the surrounding grounds are lovingly maintained. The facility is home to about thirty boys at any one time, who benefit from regular meals, a comfortable place to live, and a healthy dose of outdoor and sports activities. Most of the residents have parents that have had their rights removed, while some are being looked after on request by their family. In some wonderful cases, residents stayed with the Living Pearl until they were adopted by a new loving family.
What makes this a truly unique organization is the 32 hectares of arable land that the staff and boys use to grow potatoes, wheat, barley, oats, buckwheat, beets, and onions. They even care for a small holding with several pigs, chickens, and even a few cattle. They strive to be as self-sufficient as possible, while instilling the value of a hard day's work and imparting practical skills. They even have a classroom, and are proud that some of their residents have moved on to complete college and find jobs.
Friends4Good is proud to support the bold vision of the Living Pearl Children's Home with financial support and logistics. They're a privately run orphanage that relies on the help and support from benefactors' and donations. With your help they're able to continue and improve their mission to help these abandoned boys grow up and become productive, balanced members of society.
November 2019 Update & Volunteer Opportunity
If you’re willing to lend a hand, you can help under-privileged children half a world away receive an education, a loving home to live in, and a sense of stability. The Living Pearl Children’s Home is looking for volunteers to take a life-changing trip and help out for two weeks on their farm.
Thanks to generous donations, the organization has been hard at work expanding their agricultural operations to include a blueberry field. As of this fall, they’ve finished three quarters of the fencing, spread a bit over half of the sawdust, and just started on forming the ridges. They'll soon be planting their new field with blueberry bushes. The final step will be creating an irrigation system, which is being planned over the winter with the installation itself taking place early in the spring.
Friends4Good is looking for 10-12 volunteers to travel to Ukraine and help with the labour. No experience is needed, and there will be plenty of rooms available in the facility to accommodate everyone. While specifics are still be settled, the trip will most likely take place during two weeks in March 2020 and will include a day of fun with the children in Lviv. If you’re willing to travel and put in a few days of honest work, you can help bring self-sufficiency to an organization and create a better life for a group of orphans.
If you’re inspired to get involved and make a meaningful impact in the lives of these children, contact Adrian Bohach of Enterprise4Good by calling 403-605-2924 or emailing him at [email protected]. Together we can help these boys find a path to self-sufficiency and security.
July 2020 Update: First Harvest
Most of us might not be enjoying 2020 and the COVID concerns that came along with it. Thankfully, Ruslan and the group at the LivingPearl have some positive news: the blueberry plantation has been completed! The fence, soil conditioning, bushes, irrigation system, and 24-hour security have been taken care of. Even all of the essential documentation and paperwork have been resolved. All that's left is to tend to the plantation and enjoy the harvest. While this first season has produced a modest crop, we've been told that the blueberries taste amazing. We're thrilled that the LivingPearl has completed this huge step towards self-sustainability, and are looking forward to one day visiting Ukraine to taste the fruits of all their labour. Growing their own food is a great way to not only provide the boys with (delicious) nutrition, but it helps them grow a strong work ethic, life experiences, and applicable skills. As a bonus, it also creates a potential revenue stream to support the organization moving forward.
It's been a long road with a lot of hard work, and there will definitely be more updates to come. For now we'd like to extend our sincere gratitude to everyone that has helped us in accomplishing this milestone!
Friends4Good (in partnership with Positively AFRICA) is looking for volunteers to join us on a trip to Kenya, where we’ll help develop a school for children in a poverty-stricken community. This is a life-changing opportunity for those who want to leave a legacy and make a tangible, positive difference in the lives of those who need it most.
Making a Sustainable School a Reality
Kibera is the largest slum in Kenya (and second largest in sub-Saharan Africa), where the average income of families is less than $2 a day. It’s such a poor area that the government has closed all its community schools. This creates an opportunity to provide much-needed hope for Kibera’s citizens and develop a path to a better future.
Friends4Good has been partnering with locals to create and establish the Soweto Junior Education Centre. It provides a learning environment for 150 students, aged from 3 to 12 years old, many of whom have HIV. There aren’t any other facilities that will take them in, but we think they deserve a future too. At this school they’ll receive an education, learning reading, writing, math, and several other fundamental skills.
As of October 2019, the school consists of four completed classrooms, and electricity, water, and sewage utilities. The next planned steps include four more classrooms, a library, literacy center, staff room, and an administrative office. A kitchen will round out the first phase, to ensure that the young students have reliable access to nutrition.
Looking to the Future
It’s not enough just to expand the building. To continue providing quality education for students and help the community that relies on it, the facility must become self-sufficient. By borrowing from Enterprise4Good’s strong entrepreneurial background, the second phase will include an income-generating housing unit. This will help fund the next round of improvements, which will include a teacher’s dormitory that consists of six apartments, each with two rooms and a kitchen.
The strategy is to create a stable learning environment for students, construct adequate facilities to house and retain teachers, and secure a channel of income to pay for the facility to keep operating. This will allow the Soweto Junior Education Centre to educate locals, create jobs, and establish itself as a self-sufficient organization that will help Kibera grow and flourish.
Volunteer to Make a Lasting Difference
Friends4Good is organizing groups of 10-15 volunteers to travel to Kibera for two weeks and lend a hand. No construction experience is needed, and any medically fit individuals are welcome to join us. There’ll be a one and a half day break from construction, when you can either join the group to visit a game reserve or make your own plans to explore Nairobi.
For a tax deductible cost of $3500-$4000 (depending on airfare), Friends4Good will make all arrangements and provide you with flights, a hotel, and meals. Volunteers will still be responsible for any required vaccines, a visa, costs of recreational plans, and any other incidentals.
Our first trip is being planned for Spring 2020, with dates depending on volunteer availability. For further information or to answer your questions, please call Adrian Bohach of Enterprise4Good (at 403-605-2924 or [email protected]) or Sabine Laubental of Positively AFRICA (250-598-0708 or [email protected]).
A Vision of Human Connection
Working alongside the Maasai people in Makuyuni, Tanzania, Africa is one of the projects we are extremely proud of. The friendships built between the locals and volunteers can stand alone in uniqueness because of this idea of 'human interaction'. When a volunteer comes on board to help build a vision, they're no longer merely a volunteer. They become a part of the Friends4Good family. Our family comes from many countries, cultures, genders and religions. We all come together during builds and celebrate what we all have in common; humanity.
Our goal with any of our projects excerise the development of sustainability. These visions one day will support their own, no longer needing help from the outside world.
Our project (of finished structures updated since the last trip in 2018) consists of a school with two classrooms (pre-K and Kindergarden mix and grade 1), a teacher's office which hold the books for a library, a cookhouse to make an in-school meal (generally the only meal some children receive in a day), an eight-stall latrine and two 1000L rain barrels for water.
We are in the process of building a classroom sized dormitory for children who have to walk many kilometres a day to get to school. Our hope in two years time, we will have enough fundraised money to build a full sided dormitory that can house 64 boys and girls comfortably. This dormitory would have working showers, toilets and proper beds for the children who attend Nashipay Maasai School.
One of the greatest parts of this project is the returning idea of sustainability. Educating the next generation doesn't just change their life; it changes the life of everyone around them.
This is a photo of the second classroom built at Nashipay School.
“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”