At Maya’s Hope, we are always looking for ways to extend our reach in Ukraine. In 2016, I spent a lot of time looking for partners in Ukraine that share our values. And I found one!
This organization was improving the condition of orphanages in Western Ukraine. However, additional financial resources were required to expand their work.
I reached out to them – they had heard of our work and were very open to collaborating with us. What they told us was heartbreaking…
For years, children in a rural orphanage in Western Ukraine had been locked away, hidden from the world. They had endured abuse, neglect, pain and loneliness.
Our Ukrainian partner had been working hard to bring these children out of the darkness and into the light. To give them a chance at life, to be loved and to be happy. There had NEVER been an adoption from this orphanage.
We had to meet these children. So Maya and I traveled to Ukraine in early 2017.
Despite their bleak surroundings, the children were pure sunshine. So many amazing kids, all forgotten by the world. We knew we had to help these children.
We had to give them hope.
One of the children in this orphanage was Dima. Dima was 14 and had cerebral palsy. He had spent his entire life in an orphanage.
Dima had two simple dreams – to walk and to have a family.
He was a kind and caring boy who always looked out for others, despite his hard life.
I accidentally left my scarf in one of the rooms and he scooted down the corridor as we were leaving to return it.
After we returned home, our partners sent us professionally shot video footage of the children in the orphanage who were available for international adoption. So we got to work raising awareness!
Dima’s video was shared hundreds of times and viewed over 10,000 times.
One family in particular couldn’t stop watching his video.
They knew he was their son.
After months and months of paperwork and setbacks, they were finally able to bring him home!
Dima was the first child ever adopted from his orphanage.
One of Dima’s dreams have come true, he has a family that love him.
With their support and his own determination I have no doubt that he will walk and make his final dream come true.
If you would like to meet the other children who are still in his orphanage and help us with their needs and raising awareness, you can join their group HERE.
Written by Keshia Melton, Maya’s Hope Ukraine Program Manager.