I've had the opportunity to visit Ukraine twice. I won the first trip from K-Love radio station. During that visit, I learned about the street children and felt God calling me to help them. The second visit, to Kherson, was with a group from a ministry I started with some friends, Doxa Kids Street Children's Ministry.
The boys pictured above are street children. They were spending some time in the Dniper River the day we caught up with them. It was a sweltering day and the kids were seeking relief from the heat.
These kids live in the streets. They have run away from home due to unspeakable abuse and with no children's protective agency in Ukraine, they have no where to turn. Life in the streets is preferable to living in torment.
The winters in Ukraine can be quite bitter so most of the children seek shelter in the sewers. The sewers are large underground tunnels with pipes running through them. Some of the pipes supply hot water to government apartments so the sewer tunnels are warm.
To seek escape from the reality of their lives and their lack of hope, many of these children steal glue in order to get high. Some of the children have spent so much time sniffing glue that they have developed permanent brain damage.
Many of the girls who live on the streets suffer at the hands of men. The rate of rape is quite high and a large number of the girls prostitute themselves for enough money to provide food.
Officially there are around 200,000 street children in the country of Ukraine but unofficial numbers are much higher. Closer to 800,000 to 1,000,000 children living in the streets in a country roughly the size of Texas.
Doxa Kids' goal is to build a shelter for these children to provide them a safe place to live and learn.
For more information, please visit us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/doxakids or our website www.doxakids.org