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Farm Programs Help Change Lives in Ukraine

by Captain Sherry McWhorter – 

The most exciting development project in the Russia/CIS Command is pig farming! That’s right–Salvationists in the Ukraine are embarking on a journey in agricultural development.

A few years ago, the Army in the Ukraine felt a special burden for homeless alcoholics in Kiev. They formed a corps comprised completely of homeless people. They began feeding them on the streets. And then they got the vision of productive work and rehabilitation.

Through brilliant work with the local government in the village of Zdorovka, the Army acquired use of a small farm for 25 years, then rights to harvest deadfall timber, then another parcel of land for growing potatoes and buckwheat, and now, an old Soviet state pig farm! Over the next few months, we hope to rehabilitate the buildings, plant feed crops, and purchase an initial batch of 50 piglets. Ultimately, this farm will not only provide rehabilitation services for 30 or more men at a time but will also support the Army’s social work in Kiev.

Yuri (not his real name), one of the first men to benefit from the Zdorovka farm program, has finished his therapy now and gone on to another community ­ Donetsk–to help set up a new farm on the Zdorovka model. Donetsk now has a growing corps of its own, also begun with homeless people. They have been given the use of an old mental hospital facility and are in the process of remodeling the buildings. They have already repaired the steam plant, which army volunteers keep stoked with coal 24 hours a day.

While pigs are a bit in their future, the soldiers have already begun raising quail and selling the eggs (a delicacy in the Ukraine). Income is trickling in, but it is a start. Eventually, Donetsk will also have a thriving rehabilitation program, pig farm, and quail project.

The Army in the Ukraine is saving men’s lives, reuniting families, and taking steps toward financial independence. But the task is massive and funds are few.

Self Denial funds provide the majority of the cost of running these two projects right now. Donors in American and European territories have helped Yuri and others like him to get off the streets, off drugs, and into leadership, helping others like himself to follow the path to life. This work is not possible at this stage without financial support from abroad. As Zdorovka and Donetsk become self supporting, we will open similar projects in Kirovograd and Kharkov and Lvov and, and…the future is limited only by the generosity of individuals in the West.



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