Children's Art Work
Thousands of Jewish children, even those living in supportive family settings, go hungry every day in Ukraine. Given the extremely low wages (the average being $50 per month) and lack of extensive social safety nets like those of Western Europe, many parents cannot cope and abandon their children out of sheer desperation. It is estimated that approximately 2,500 Jewish children are still orphaned or homeless in Ukraine.
Some of these children suffer abuse, spend devastating childhoods in state orphanages, or are at risk due to broken homes and the despair
brought on by poverty and hopelessness. These are the children who come to Tikva; children lacking love, care and a home to call their own.
A Daily Rescue Mission
Since 1996, Tikva has engaged in a constant search mission for Jewish children in need from the southern regions of the former Soviet Union, specifically Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus and Russia. Tikva employs 30 full time staff in order to seek out, document and rescue these destitute Jewish children. Last year alone, Tikva found over 100 indigent and imperiled Jewish children.
A Loving and Supportive Home at Tikva
Tikva operates three children’s homes and two university dormitories in the heart of Odessa. The Infants’ and Toddlers’ home cares for 40 children, from newborns to five-year-olds; 80 girls, ages 6 to 16, live in the girls’ home; 75 boys, ages 6 to16, are raised in the boys’ home; and two university dormitories house 130 of Tikva’s home graduates who continue on to higher education. In the process of creating these homes, Tikva has reunited dozens of siblings, now
living together in the loving familial atmosphere of this compassionate and caring Jewish community.
Tikva helps its children and young adults transition from a life of hardship to one filled with happiness and hope. In Tikva’s homes, children sleep in their own beds (some for the first time in their lives), are provided with clothing and warm blankets, eat nutritious food,
attend school, obtain medical treatment when necessary, and receive a modest allowance to help foster independence and individuality.They
celebrate Shabbat and holidays, play sports, and have fun with their friends like children everywhere. They have the freedom to act their age – without worrying about how and where they will find their next meal. At Tikva, they are transformed from scared, detached children into lively, inquisitive, self-sufficient young adults.
Many of the children arrive at Tikva with medical, psychological and developmental difficulties following emotional and physical neglect and trauma. Once they arrive, the children are often found to be suffering from a wide range of problems, from regular childhood diseases to acute illnesses. Beyond these conditions, some children also have social impediments or significant learning challenges.
Tikva’s medical program employs seven doctors, twenty three nurses, six psychologists and two psychiatrists who perform complete medical evaluations. They identify the child’s most urgent needs, create an individualized treatment plan and prescribe and dispense essential medications as necessary. Once the children are part of the Tikva family, they have complete access to the Tikva health care facility and its professionals with a medical office open 24 hours a day in each home.