I love this photo because it is the posture of strength. Strengthening families one thing we do in our Peace Camp for refugees from the war in Ukraine which is now more than three years old. From July 18-28, forty four members of refugee families, seven staff members and five volunteers gathered at a retreat center on hill above the Black Sea about an hour east of Odessa, Ukraine.
This is the third annual Peace Camp sponsored by This Child Here. These are refugee families who once had homes and apartments in and around cities like Donetsk and Lugansk and were displaced to the regions of cities like Kharkiv, Zaparosia, Odessa, and Lviv. Many lost jobs careers, homes, automobiles, family belongings. All lost a way of life and started over.
Alla Soroka, (photo by Oksana Xarkovenko) the Program Manager for This Child Here, is the director of the camp which is only part of the larger collection of programs of This Child Here that includes work with children in shelters and orphanages, training foster families and teaching peacemaking skills and perspectives. This is our eleventh year of work in Ukraine.
Our time together included conversation, guided activities, recreation and free time for families. Some really great help for camp came from three volunteers from the Czech Republic through a partnership between the Czech Reformed Church in Vsetin there and the First Presbyterian Church of Cumberland, MD. Folks from the Druid Hills Presbyterian Church in the Atlanta area gave funding. And that’s a longer story.(I’m in the black shirt, Martin to my left, then Anet and Dan to my right). Below you see the whole group. And in the following set of pictures, you see staff and volunteers, some activities and families who came.
Here's Our staff and volunteers, and families who came. Photos by Oksana Xarkovenko and Robert Gamble