Most Ukrainians celebrate Christmas on January 7-8 and the holidays last until January 20th. During the month of January some children from orphanages go to stay with relatives, some are hosted by local families but other have no options and stay in state-run institutions, mostly in a state-run sanatorium.
This year volunteers at Orphans Future and Lviv Center of Care for Orphans were able to collect funds to organize a special event for 35 orphans of the Ternopil area. The children were given the opportunity to experience Christmas outside the institution through a three-day trip to Lviv city.
In preparing for adult life, the children used public transportation from Ternopil to Lviv by train, in the city they used public busses and then returned to Ternopil by train. The orphans were housed in a monastery where they participated in a full schedule of activities: making Christmas craft gifts, attending church services at St. Paul and Peter church and singing Christmas songs. The children also learned about the history of Lviv though a tour of the city. The kids enjoyed the Christmas market and tree in downtown Lviv. A special event for the kids was to be able to make their own pizza at a local pizzeria. So much laughter and so many joyful faces showed that they really had a great and happy time.
A moment of tears was when leaving Lviv at the train station, the orphans were able to share their pizzas with Ukrainian soldiers heading to the conflict in eastern Ukraine.
The children returned to Ternopil with many good memories. The orphans got to see the world beyond the isolated area in which they have to spend their childhood. Such experiences give these children a glimpse possibility for the future.
This project became possible Thanks to generous contribution from Global Fund for Children and friends of orphans, Olia Dmytryk (London) and Brett Armstrong (Northern Ireland)