Did you know that the leading reason children are placed in orphanages is not the loss of parents? It’s poverty! This is one of the reasons AFFEO focuses on prevention efforts—addressing the root causes of orphanhood—as this is the most effective way to ensure that children are raised in safe and loving families. (See quote from one of our Ukrainian partners in the photo above.)
Some of AFFEO’s key prevention programs help orphans and vulnerable teens who have aged-out of institutions live a healthy life of independence and purpose, since many will become parents themselves.
Just looking at the statistics:
- 15,000 teens age out of institutional care in Ukraine each year.
- 65% fall into crime, drugs, or prostitution.
- 10% will not make it to their 30th birthday.
- 50% of orphans in Ukraine have parents who were orphans.
It is imperative that we address the needs of vulnerable aged-out teens—not only to save their lives, but to prevent their children from growing up in institutions!
The needs are not complex. Many of these young people have never had the opportunity to learn how to cook or the basics of caring for themselves. In addition, they haven’t learned how to manage finances, or how to identify someone who is trying to exploit them. They have not developed the social skills necessary for healthy relationships or navigating the outside world. But, unfortunately, many life-skills training programs for aged-out teens have been on hold since the war started.
We were thrilled to learn that one of these AFFEO-supported programs relaunched on September 1! The courses include a biblical worldview and provide training in money management, relationships, health and self-care, suicide prevention, career development, “street smarts,” social skills, and many more resources that aged-out teens can utilize. In addition, the courses have been updated to help these teen students cope with the war-induced uncertainty and losses they are experiencing.
Would you pray with us that thousands of Ukrainian aged-out teens would have the opportunity to take part in this biblically based life skill training program? One factor that makes this program unique is that the teens are connected to mentors (many from local churches) who facilitate the trainings. Their support comes at a time when young, vulnerable lives are at a crossroads. The program and mentors give hope and support to teens during a critical time in their young lives.
Please pray that these aged out teens, who are often marginalized by their society, would come to know the Lord’s purpose for their lives and feel hope amidst dark days.