Caritas Ukraine expresses its gratitude to everyone who helped organize and realize the Christmas Candle fundraiser. How much money was raised is an indication of how charitable we are and provides real assistance to vulnerable Ukrainians, especially the disabled, orphans, children from disadvantaged or dysfunctional families and children of labour migrants.
Every year, thanks to the efforts of Caritas, children have the opportunity to participate in summer camps, excursions, and workshops at social centres, to organize holidays, and receive direct assistance.
This fundraiser sells candles which are made by special needs individuals. The candles are sold in Ukrainian churches throughout Europe and Ukraine, and through partner organizations. They are available to anyone wishing to make a donation. Last year over 100,000 candles were sold, this year nearly 125,000 were sold.
According to statistics from Komsomol’s’ka Pravda there are nearly 136,000 children being raised in 60,000 dysfunctional families. Another 250,000 suffer abuse and exploitation and may end up on the streets or in orphanages. Tens of thousands of children are homeless. Every other homeless child regularly uses alcohol and drugs. Many homeless children support themselves by stealing, shoplifting and prostitution.
UNICEF research shows that 10% of homeless children are illiterate and others are poorly educated for their age. Independent research shows that in Ukraine up to 95% of orphans are simply abandoned by their parents, because when the survey was conducted at least one parent was alive
Because of the conditions in our country—the political, economic instability—the philanthropic sector is left to address social problems. Caritas Ukraine, which unites a network of charitable organizations from around the world, for over 10 years, has been offering comprehensive assistance for children and young people who are in trouble.
It is interesting to note that the state budget allocated 283,348.60 UAH (3% more than in 2010) to fund foster families and orphanages. Annually, Caritas Ukraine spends nearly 350-400,000 Euro on assisting orphans, the homeless, disadvantaged, disabled, and children from dysfunctional and labour migrant families. This is 12-15 times more than the Ukrainian government spends.
Thanks to the donations collected during the Christmas Candle fundraiser, many children will be warmed and fed, realize the benefit of prayer and socialization. Many children have been integrated into mainstream society, and in the near future they will become contributing members of Ukrainian society.
This fundraiser has a dual goal: to raise money to help needy children, and to draw attention to the problems these children face—these children who are our neighbours and who live with enormous difficulties.
When you take you fill your hands, when you give you fill your heart!