Hozhuly, Ukraine, looks like a rural town you might find in the deep American south. Roads of crumbling asphalt run past small homes tucked into broad fields of grass and wildflowers. Yet in this humble town, an incredible culture shift is taking place.
Poltava Hope Center in Hozhuly started when a local church began ministering to HIV-infected children and their families. The work was greatly needed. Ukraine is still struggling to shed its Soviet-era attitudes toward people with disabilities, which render them invisible to society. One activist dryly noted in 2016 that Ukraine has more Paralympic medals than the average town has wheelchair ramps.
In short order, Poltava’s “Home of Hope” ministry had 25 people, all non-Christians, regularly attending their outreach events. There was just one problem: Poltava didn’t have enough room to host so many people. They tried renting rooms at other churches, but some balked at having HIV-positive people on their property.
Thanks to you, Poltava was able to build a dedicated Hope Center to continue their ministry. While the building was still being constructed, the ministry expanded to include children with other kinds of disabilities: cerebral palsy, autism, down syndrome and more. Today, they have a thriving Center that provides counseling, workshops, Bible studies, family support, clubs and summer camps for one of the most underserved populations in Ukraine.
“For many mothers, our Hope Center is the only place they can feel comfortable at,” they report. “None will treat them with disrespect, but will accept their children and love them. Such treatment opens them to accepting the biblical truth we share.”
Thank you for making this ministry possible.