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"Reaching people for Christ: helping thousands of children, families and communities out of poverty into a sustainable future"
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Finding refuge and feeling at home: Sasha's story

"I feel at home here, not like at my real home, but like at the one I wish I had", Sasha says.

Sasha lives in a small mining town in Western Ukraine has been a depressing place to be after most of the mines were closed, resulting in mass unemployment. This led to huge pressure and instability for parents in the region, many of whom have turned to alcohol, neglected their children and turned them out on to the freezing winter streets.

Neglected children

Sasha comes from a family of miners who are now all unemployed, and her mother sadly does not care for her children, but instead, night after night, they all drink away their sorrows.

"They often quarrel and fight with each other when they drink, "Sasha says. "When it starts, I take my little brother and we hide in the bathroom. I really hate it when this happens."

Her greatest fear

Yet Sasha's greatest fear is not when her family drinks and it turns violent, but the danger that she will be taken away by social services to an orphanage.
"I feel frightened at the thought of not being able to go to the community centre as it is the only place that I feel safe," she says. "I trust the people here; I feel like they understand me and that I can talk to them about anything. I don't have a relationship with my mother, but Halyna at the centre, even though she is elderly, she is my best friend and gives me good advice."

Together with her friends from the Centre, Sasha goes to the local church where she is an active member of the youth group and volunteers helping the younger children.

I pray for my family

"I've already made the most important decision in my life," she says, "which is to follow Christ, and each day, I pray for my family."

"Sasha has practically grown up at the centre," Raisa the coordinator says. Here she eats, does her homework, washes her clothes, has made friends and discovered new hobbies - plus here she has heard about Jesus Christ for the first time. She often asks if she can stay longer and wash the dishes so that she does not have to go home. This shows her good nature but also the fears and anxiety she has. It is our job to help her and to try and fill the gap left by her family.".

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