The city of Brovary is located just a few miles from the Ukrainian capital, Kiev. Brovary was first known for its beer - its name comes from the Ukrainian word for “brewers”.
It grew rapidly in the mid 17th century, when it became the site of a Cossack military base. Today, it is a hive of activity, and home to many production plants and factories. Despite its industrial importance, many children fall victim to the many social ills which plague the area.
Addiction, disease and domestic violence
Many families in Brovary face significant deprivation. Alcoholism and drug abuse are common problems, especially among the poor. Domestic violence is not uncommon, and estimates suggest that half the population are or have been victims.
Ukraine is blighted by Europe's biggest HIV/AIDS crisis, and as many as 70% of intravenous drug-takers are HIV-positive across the country as a whole. Kiev, the surrounding area, and other urban centres are particularly badly affected by the epidemic.
Reduced opportunities and inadequate care
Disadvantaged children face reduced opportunities and lifelong poverty. HIV/AIDS leaves poor families especially vulnerable. Public healthcare is patchy, and some people do not get the treatment they need. This leaves children at risk of losing their parents. Single mothers face social stigma, sometimes choosing to abandon their children rather than face lifelong discrimination.
Orphaned and abandoned children often end up in old-fashioned institutions which fail to provide adequate care. Today, the state is doing what it can to support struggling families and to place children in alternative families instead. We are part of this effort to improve care for children who cannot grow up with their families.
How we are helping families in Brovary
Our Children's Village lies on the leafy outskirts of Brovary. Our SOS mothers provide happy family environment for 78 of Brovary's most vulnerable children. As part of an SOS family, each child enjoys a safe, secure upbringing and ongoing support to help them thrive.
In the community
In Brovary and in Kiev itself, we help fragile families provide stronger, more stable upbringing for their children. Working with expert local groups, we help families improve their parenting, start businesses and begin money-making ventures to boost their income, and help them gain access to housing and any state benefits they may be entitled to. We run workshops to help reduce family violence and support women and children who have fallen victim to domestic abuse. We also train teachers from local schools and nurseries so children can enjoy a better education.
A country in crisis
In late 2013, the Ukrainian cabinet voted against closer trade ties with Europe. Popular unrest followed and eventually spread to eastern areas, where many Russian-speaking people supported alignment with Russia and even separation from Ukraine.
“Children do not live in a vacuum”
The situation has had a devastating impact on an already buckling economy, leaving families struggling with inflation and the threat of war. Many of our SOS mothers tell us that the crisis has had a profound psychological impact on their SOS children.
Political instability and economic strain undoubtedly take their toll on all. Our Children's Village is close to the capital, and unrest has touched Brovary as well. SOS mother Valya says: “Children do not live in a vacuum. They go to school and they watch TV.”
A profound impact on children
Children are among the most vulnerable members of society and are often the most sensitive to change. There is nothing better than the love and devotion of an SOS mother to help a child recover from trauma. SOS mother Valya is living proof: “Every day I had to talk about what’s going on and calm them down, lift their spirits. I talked to each child in a way they would understand.”
We have provided a happy childhood for children in Brovary since 2010. We will be there for our children throughout the current unrest, and long after. Please help by sponsoring a child.