International Aid Trust has had a presence in the Ukraine since 1991 and the headquarters are situated in the town of Moltavilovka in the Fastov Region. From headquarters and warehouse facilities practical and pastoral support goes out to the Odessa, Cherkasy, Chernihiv, Rivne, Kyiv and also Kiev city. For over twenty years Pastor Pasha Ozerugie has been guiding our ministry and leads the full time senior staff of:
Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe bordered by Russia in the East, Belarus, Poland and Slovakia to the West, Hungary, Romania, Moldova and the Black Sea to the South and West. According to the 2015 census the population total is estimated at 44 million. Since 1993 the population has been declining by approximately 150,000 per year due mainly to a high mortality rate and a low birth rate compared to other European countries.
Ukraine is a Unitarian republic with its capital in Kiev. Ukrainian is the official language of the country although most of the population also speak Russian.
In June 1990 Ukraine declared itself independent of the former Soviet Union. Since independence Ukraine has experienced a turbulent political journey which has seen demonstrations and civil unrest culminating in two peaceful revolutions, Orange in 2004 and Euromaidan in 2014.
2014 also saw Russian troops enter the Crimea region and subsequently along with the self-proclaimed Republic of Crimea signed a treaty of accession in the Russian Federation. Supported by the United Nations the Kiev government have declared an intention to restore the territorial integrity of Ukraine.
Parts of Eastern Ukraine are also occupied by Russian sponsored separatists and more than one million former residents have been made refugees because of the war there.
On paper Ukraine’s healthcare system is state subsidised and freely available to all Ukrainian citizens and registered residents. However, it is not compulsory to be treated in a state-run hospital as a number of private medical complexes do exist nationwide. The public sector employs most healthcare professionals, with those working for private medical centres typically also retaining their state employment as they are mandated to provide care at public health facilities on a regular basis.
All of the country’s medical service providers and hospitals are subordinate to the Ministry of Health, which provides oversight and scrutiny of general medical practice as well as being responsible for the day-to-day administration of the healthcare system.
According to the Ukrainian constitution, access to free education is granted to all citizens. Complete general secondary education is compulsory in the state schools which constitute the overwhelming majority. Free higher education in state and communal educational establishments is provided on a competitive basis. There are also a small number of accredited private secondary and higher education institutions. The literacy rate in the Ukraine is an estimated 99.4%.
International Aid Trust Ukraine
IAT began in Ukraine in 1991 in a very small way after a meeting at Kajerna Church with pastor Vladimire and Bernard Cocker. Since then our work has grown and now approximately 200 people (including full time and volunteer staff) carrying out the day to day administration and organisation. We also have a large number of extra volunteers who can be called upon to help in various situations as and when the needs arise such as aid delivery and distribution, shoe box events, outreach and conferences.
We can call on the members of hundreds of churches who are all part of the IAT family in Ukraine. The focus of the work and ministry has grown over time and is now carried out in many different regions of Ukraine. The main areas are: Odessa, Cherkassy, Chernihiv, Rivne, Kiev Region and also Kiev city. In these areas we are working with low-income people, orphans, disabled children, rehabilitation centres, prisons, former offenders and homes for elderly people. Five new churches have been established, two more are being built and 20 pastors are supported by IAT. In addition there are three rescued children centres and a House for elderly people “Fathers Hands” .
We have a very successful prison ministry led by our director Ruslan Sliusarenko who is also senior pastor of our three churches in the area.
The IAT prison ministry began in 2000 In the Ukraine by conducting gospel services in the South Prison №51. Regular church services are now held two or three times a week. Prison №51 is a place for those offenders who have committed serious crimes and multi offences.
Since we began this work thousands of prisoners have given their lives to Christ and we have complete freedom to preach the gospel, teach, and carry out outdoor baptism services within the prisons grounds. You could not imagine a closer or better relationship than the one we have with the most senior penitentiary staff here. IAT have received many awards in Ukraine but one of our most remarkable ones was given to Bishop Bernard Cocker in 2015, it was a special diploma for “Raising the Spirituality of Ukraine Prisons”. We also have a large number of former prisoners working with us in the ministry. Two outstanding examples of this are Sergie and Vladimir who are pastor and assistant pastor respectively of our Aids Hospital Ministry. The care and compassion they show to the patients goes well beyond the “extra mile”. It has to be seen to be believed.
Pastor Ruslan and Bernard with Church Team at Women’s Prison
IAT also run a women’s prison ministry at the Black Sea 74th prison. Our prison ministry is at the heart of IAT philosophy and looks to provide both spiritual and practical needs. We believe that everyone deserves a second chance. Many of the women enter prison for serious offences and some have children, under the age of four, with them or give birth while serving sentences. The prison receives no government funding for child care needs. IAT has set up a kindergarten and supports the children’s laundry department by providing washing and drying machines and good quality washing powder on a regular basis. We also provide clothing, footwear, toys and even small pets for the children. Local church ministers and volunteers provide Bible teaching and worship services while also arranging social outings for the children to the zoo, sea side, park and dedicated play areas to help improve the quality of life and the personal development of the children.
Women’s Prison Baptism Service
Odessa detention facility №21. This is a place where the criminals go while on remand awaiting sentence. IAT Ukraine works with women, minors, former policemen, political and life-term prisoners. Sometimes they can be help for years before trial. This building has a very dark history from the Communist days when untold numbers of Christians and political prisoners were tortured and executed there. Now it is a place where the gospel is preached and new lives begin.
Pastoral Care and Feeding Programme
More than 50 very needy families receive financial assistance to help with the provision of food for children and elderly and disabled people. These families are sponsored by British people. In addition these families are registered on our churches volunteers’ list so that they are visited often and periodically we provide them with bedclothes, clothes, shoes, food, medical supplies and other items according to their needs. Every month food and medications are purchased and visits are made to families that have a very low standard of living.
Elderly Peoples Home
Our “Father’s Arms Home” provides care for 18 elderly ladies as part of our Christian Village Complex near Moltavilovka and is run by a director and nurses. The building was funded by an American man and wife and all the fittings and furniture came from the UK. It is a real refuge, an oasis where these elderly and sick are treated with the upmost kindness and made to feel truly welcome. Some have been rescued from dire circumstances where they have been alone and basically unwanted.
Children’s Summer Camps
We began our Christian holiday camps for poor and underprivileged children in 1994. Many of the children who have enjoyed the holidays have, as a result of their experience and exposure to Christian teaching, gone on to become pastors, evangelists, missionaries, hospital and prison visitors. In fact every aspect of Christian mission is covered by most of our former camp visitors. A new complex has been established in Mirgorod which provides a high standard of accommodation and facilities. IAT’s aim is to provide Christian holidays for up to 500 children per term.
We have supported over twenty units with various items from furniture and fittings to shoes, clothing and other necessary items.
Pastor Oleg Pinchuck has experienced considerable success from his outreach in a remote village near the River Dnieper. Oleg runs the first Drug and Alcohol Rehab that IAT opened in 1997, and now he also operates a second one that has a small farm where they grow vegetables and raise various animals for food such as sheep, goats, pigs, chickens and calves. He also has a large lake where fish are grown on and harvested.
We have huge recovery rates and as with former prisoners many former addicts go to be part of our various Christian ministries with some becoming pastors. .
Every year the churches organize a Youth Congress in Malin. At different times more than 5 million young people have attended the tent camp in order to glorify God together, listen to sermons, Christian songs and chat. IAT provides tents, mattresses, chairs, food and numerous outings and activities. Bernard has spoken to congregations of between 5,000 – 6,000 young people here.
Every year we organize a children’s summer camp in Mrgorod, Poltava region. Each year about 300 orphans, children from disadvantaged families, children with disabilities are able to receive respite care. We take care of these children and during these camps they receive sustainable meals. Each of these children receives clothes, shoes, toiletries and gifts. On a daily basis the children sing Christian songs, engage in Bible study, play games and take part in various competitions.
The success of these camps just denies even our greatest hopes! Lives are changed forever just through the love of Christ. So many times we meet well-adjusted young adult people who once came to us as very poor little children or orphans. It is wonderful to see the fruit.
Klehivka is a small village situated 18 km from Motovilovka. During the past 3 years International Aid Trust in Ukraine has works in partnership with the Church in Motovilovka and provides Christian outreach to children, youth and elderly people in this village. Now we are building a church here.
We began building the House of Prayer in Klehivka in summer 2016 and plan to open it spring 2017. It is situated approx. 50k south of Kiev towards the Odessa region.
House of Prayer in Klehivka under construction
Here we also have Summer camps organized for children as well as activities on Christian holidays. Children who visit the IAT club in this village take part in such holidays and prepare programs and Christian services. Many villagers come to listen and also take part in these activities and come to Christ through their children.
Children taking part
Over the next year we plan to arrange 2 more summer children’s camps and to finish the building of the Church. The aim of this project is to increase the building’s capacity to facilitate a worship hall for 100 people plus sufficient space to increase the participation in the Children’s Club. This will allow for a more effective project worker/children ratio and the opportunity to bring the Good News to potential future Evangelists from the village.
A further aim of this project is to develop two leisure complexes for the benefit of poor and disadvantaged village children. One idea is to purchase a plot of land in the village center quite close to the church and the second one near a lake also near to the church for adult use.
The House of Joy Children’s House
Established in 2008 The House of Joy Orphanage project has been run since 2012 under the guidance of Volodymyr Vovk. Since that time 50 children have been resident in the orphanage and during the past two years a number have been adopted in Ukraine and the US, and other teenagers have moved to family homes.
Early days at House of Joy
Each child has their own story to tell and it is the aim of the House of Joy to develop their full potential in an interesting and challenging way.
The daily routine for the children is based on Christian ethics and principles; personal hygiene; lifestyle behavior; respect for others and personal development.
Throughout the year many Christian events and celebrations are organized to ensure both the spiritual, emotional and physical development of the children. Our staff organise birthday parties and gifts for the children so that they feel loved and cared for. They also benefit from the provision of a playground and playing fields which ensure that physical development is also encouraged.
New Life Children’s Home
On the 28th of July 2012 New Life was founded by Mykola Bondar and his wife Olga. Mykola was the previous Director of House of Joy and had a vision to start another home for the older children. It is a lovely Christian atmosphere there with these young teenager are continuing their lives adjusting into adults. It is truly wonderful to see rescued children growing and thriving and it shows that children are better brought up in a Christian family.
Currently there are eleven children of different ages in the family. In addition to studying they attend different workshops, summer camps and with the support of their ‘parents’ learn new skills, including gardening, music and are also encouraged in their personal development and independence.
The ‘Bondar’ family regularly attends church services; the children sing in a choir and are actively involved in church life. This gives them the opportunity to hear about God, know Him and accept Him as their personal Savior. On this Christian journey they are encouraged and supported by both their ‘parents and the church.
‘New Hope’ rescued children’s centre in Dorogynka village.
At the end of 2010 we completed the reconstruction of the first floor of a derelict kindergarten in Dorogynka village, including installing a boiler room and heating system. Under the guidance of Serhii Synyavskiy and his own family a ‘family-type children’s centre’ was established. The official opening ceremony took place on the 31st of May 2011. Anatoliy Prysiazhnyuk, the head of regional executive administration, representatives of regional and local authorities, teachers and children from all family-type orphanages of Fastov district were present. Sasha Ozeruga and Bernard also spoke and thanked everyone for their support and help.
At the beginning four children were adopted by the family. Today number of children is seventeen. Sergie and Larysa take care of the children who refer to them as “mom” and “dad”.
In April of 2012 with financial assistance from the UK a wedding gown shop was opened in the nearby town of Fastov. With sewing machines provided by our UK office some of the young people have helped making dresses for brides and bridesmaids, cushions, shawls, embroidered towels and other items which are then sold in the shop.
Personal development is encouraged in all the children and they are taught to cook, clean as well as participate in sport and exercise. All the children attend school and church services in which they actively participate.
Every evening the family has a prayer time where children share their problems and needs and pray for each other.
The Fathers Hands project
In 2013 the “The Fathers Hands” project was founded by our church in Chervona Motovylivka and became home for 9 elderly women. The house which is located near the House of Prayer has become a refuge for homeless people many of whom have become Christians and been baptized.
Information about this house was spread to nearby villages and as a result the house became too small for the increased numbers. There was now a need for a larger house. Work started in 2010 and by the end of 2012 a new house for the elderly was opened to accommodate 20 people. The existing building was then used for more rescued children.
Residents of the house “Fathers Hands” have excellent facilities including comfortable living accommodation. Four nurses take care of elderly people there helping them to bath and dress. Two cooks are in charge of preparing the delicious and healthy food.
Recently our friends from Texas, US have built a veranda for the residents to rest in the open air. There is also a garden nearby where they can enjoy the fresh air and flowers in the spring and summer seasons.
Special attention is given to spiritual condition of our elderly friends. They attend services every Sunday if they can. Some of them have been baptized with others planning. There are prayers and Bible studies in the house every day. Every month elderly people from nearby villages are invited to meetings at Fathers Hands. The resident ladies share their testimonies about life with God and recite their own poems. This is followed by a special dinner with both residents and visitors.
Of course, it is difficult to change place of residence at this age but under the guidance of Leonid Veroviy, the director of the facility and all the staff, an environment of love and care for the lady residents has been created.
The AIDS Hospital/ Centre
For the people who are suffering from this dreadful disease IAT has brought both practical and pastoral help. This includes provision of beds, waterproof mattresses and other much needed items and consumables. We have also helped to create a garden area for the patients. Our pastoral teams visit often and we hold church services at the centre 4 times each week. We have seen so many give their lives to Jesus Christ here. Our teams also visit also visit some aids patients who are housebound but not full time hospital patients. At special times of the year such as Christmas we make a big effort to visit with gifts etc.
Chornie (Black Orpanage)
We have supported this very poor orphanage for more than 12 years. It is named after a village of the same name some 200 km distance north of Odessa.
New Jerusalem mission activities in October village
Our IAT New Jerusalem Mother Church in Odessa has church services at the New Jerusalem Skinia daughter church and the New Jerusalem daughter church in October village which is 100 km away from Odessa. In addition the Area of Life Project has activities were during the week we bring the children from the poorest families together where the Sunday school teachers work with them and we set a playground for them. At the same time we have an open-air evangelism for the adults every day. During the week we bring young people together for the fellowship and seminars at a youth camp. We invite non-Christians as well to tell them about the Good News.