Ukraine was the first country we worked in back in 1991.
Ukraine, now with a population of approx forty five million, was the first country that we ever visited back in 1991 and God has wonderfully blessed our work there.
Kiev is the capital of Ukraine with a population of about 3 million citizens. It is situated in central Ukraine on the Dnepr River and is a metropolis of stark contrasts. On the one hand it is a historical beautiful city with many famous architectural monuments, (especially orthodox churches) that are recognized as world treasures. And it is becoming a popular destination for tourists from many parts of the world. With over three hundred parks and gardens it is sometimes called, “The City of Trees” or “The City of Parks”
On the other much darker side it is home to some of the poorest people in Eastern Europe. In the back streets, behind the façades of top designer shops – and in some of the cellars under them, thousands of street children live in abject poverty. Many of the younger ones begin by sniffing glue or smoking cannabis before graduating onto the harder drugs. The reasons behind this are diverse and numerous; ranging from becoming orphaned due to the breakdown of family life caused by drink or drug addiction through to sickness and premature death resulting from poor health care
This picture is repeated in most of Ukraine where it is thought that over 100,000 children live in the streets.
Then, as you travel further away from the cities through the vast countryside and villages the poverty becomes much more apparent. In the not too distant past Ukraine was spoken of as the “Bread Basket of Europe” Indeed the soil is so black and fertile that during the Second World War Hitler’s munitions and troop trains returning empty to Germany from the eastern front filled up with the valuable top soil. Now it is a different story, and almost twenty years after Ukraine declared its independence from Russia it is still lacking the infrastructure, transparency and the political will to
return the land back to the former glory of its “Bread Basket” days.
The work of IAT has grown over the years and radiates out from two main centres:
The first is in the Kiev region in central Ukraine and is managed by Pasha Ozeruga and his wife Irina who have been with us since 1992. Pasha began as IAT local manager and now directs our work over much of central and northern Ukraine. Pasha heads up a very large team of administrators, drivers, carers, preachers, pastoral visitors and all the IAT visitors from overseas who arrive at Borispol Airport for onward journeys. His remit also includes the following; the
reception, storage and distribution of aid to over fifty churches, (who in turn distribute it to needy individuals and families through their pastoral workers) to orphanages, hospitals, over twenty rehab centres, to our rescued children’s centres and to various other ministries. Pasha and Irina also manage the Summer Camps in Crimea for needy children. He is also one of the deacons at Kajerna Church, the first church that we ever spoke at in Ukraine. On top of this Irina heads the family sponsorship program looking after approximately sixty plus needy families that are sponsored from people
in the UK. So between them they oversea work that benefits thousands of needy people of all ages.