During a recent round table discussion between the government of Cherkasy Oblast and non-profit organizations in the region, we heard one devastating number. In Cherkasy Oblast there are 1,000 families who have lost a family member in the war. This is only in one oblast – there are 24 oblasts in Ukraine.

1,000 wives who lost their husbands.
1,000 mothers who lost their sons.
1,000 children who lost their fathers.

When this number was called, we could read between the lines that this was a half-truth. No one is calling the real numbers. All we know is that every day there are new families added to this list. There are hundreds more whose family members have gone missing or who wait for death confirmation because the body remains on the occupied territory. This is not normal. The consequences of this trauma need to be dealt with on so many levels.

Our society is desperately looking for solutions. How can we help these families overcome their loss and deal with trauma? How can we help the children heal their wounds? These will be the scars of our generation. This was one of the key topics we actively discussed. We, at Camp Maximum, have a solution – a new program for widows and their families. A two-day retreat at Camp Maximum for wives, children of different ages, and other family members. There are several key aspects of the program that are summarized in three words: encouragement, knowledge, and community.

Encouragement – first and foremost, they must not deal with this alone.
Knowledge – education about trauma, especially for the mothers who also need to help their children deal with the loss.
Community – help families become a part of a wider support community.

The weekend of March 25th, we will be hosting the third group of 80 families at the camp. In April we plan to host two more programs. Before the summer starts, we will successfully unite about 400 families in Cherkasy oblast into one of the most powerful support communities in Ukraine. More programs are planned for the fall. The Governor is monitoring our approach and hopes to propose it to other oblasts of Ukraine.

We thank you for your continued support to the Shepherd’s Foundation refugee relief and recovery fund. Together we are making a big difference in the lives of these families! Thank you! Please keep us in your prayers as we prepare ready to serve another group!

Vitaliy Sobko

Leave a Reply