In the heart of Ukraine, where fear about the future and uncertainty have become daily companions, a remarkable story of resilience and compassion unfolds. Against the backdrop of a war-torn nation, our member Living Hope NGO, led by Nicole Borisuk, has been sowing seeds of hope in the lives of children and families facing unprecedented challenges.

When Nicole returned to Odesa in mid-June, she carried with her the weight of an uncertain future. The question loomed: Would they be able to continue their vital work with children and young people in the same way they had before? The answerarrived on September 4, 2023. Living Hope NGO resumed its mission, offering regular afternoon care in one of their day centers. Although they started with a relatively small group of children, the impact of their presence was immeasurable.

The situation in Ukraine has been a tale of upheaval and tragedy in recent years. The conflict that erupted in February 2022 forced countless families to flee their homes in search of safety. A somber review of their contact lists from February 2022 revealed a staggering reality: almost 90% of the families they had served no longer resided in Odesa or Petrovka. They had either sought refuge in other parts of Ukraine or abroad. Nevertheless, Nicole and her team believed fervently in the importance of continuing their mission in Odesa. Each day, people approached them, seeking assistance and support. No one in need was turned away.

In the past three weeks, the team faced tragic losses. A stepfather to two boys they had been caring for lost his life at the frontlines, and a young man who had once been a child in their first day care center was tragically killed on August 21. These painful events left the team filled with sorrow, yet their commitment to their mission remained unshaken.

Amidst the challenges, a story of hope shines through, embodied by a young boy who they have been working with for years.  Born into a difficult situation, his mother suffered from a serious drug addiction and was very ill. Tragically, his sister also passed away two years ago. When the war started in February 2022 and they had to close their center, they organized for the boy to be taken in by a foster family in western Ukraine. It turned out to be the right decision.

In May 2023, his mother passed away after suffering for a long time. Seeing the conditions in which she had lived, it became clear that the relocation had also saved the boy’s life. He now has new parents who care for him deeply, and he is thriving in his new family.

While fear and uncertainty cast a long shadow over Ukraine, the resilience, compassion, and unwavering dedication of individuals like Nicole and her team at Living Hope NGO serve as a powerful reminder that, even in the most challenging circumstances, hope can be cultivated—one life at a time.