“The Least of
These . . .”
“ . . . a ministry targeting young people around the world, sharing the Love of God in Word and Deed.”
In the Ukraine, ‘The
Least of These’ ministers the grace of God to children, especially those
orphaned and in need. Short-term missions and long-term solutions reach and
disciple the children and youth of Crimea.
The Ukraine has more than 50 million people and is Europe’s fifth most populous nation. However, the population today is less than what it was just one year ago. There is no official language, but Ukrainian and Russian are widely spoken. Seven other languages are also significant. The Ukraine was formerly the granary (food source) for what is now the CIS. Dominant religions are Ukrainian Orthodox, Ukrainian Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish. Literacy is about 98% and the economy is in shambles.
Government records indicate that the Ukraine has 300 orphanages, but in reality there are at least 680. These orphanages care for children from birth through age seventeen or eighteen, depending on the orphanage itself. A typical facility houses about one hundred children; the total number of institutionalized orphans is about 70,000.
The facilities, staff, education, and general care of the children are all provided on a ‘shoestring’ and is often inadequate. The government gives only pennies a day for food, which leaves many children malnourished. Many infants are overtly emaciated and stunted. Medical care is also substandard. Frequently, physicians at the Crimean clinic for children with leukemia watch these children die for lack of appropriate medicines.
Malnourished infants in a government home in Crimea
Abandoned house in Sevastopol where children live
In addition, many children live on the streets;
they are not in any program at all.
The struggling Ukrainian economy simply cannot address the needs of these
little ones, the ‘least of these’ in their society.
Every city of any size has hundreds of these kids.
They may not attend school or have adequate food, clothing, or shelter.
Many have immersed themselves in drugs and alcohol; they beg or they
steal to eat.
The real tragedy of the orphans occurs when they graduate.
Without parents, advocates, or marketable
skills, these kids are thrust into a troubled economy.
Many then turn to drugs and alcohol, petty crime, prostitution, or even
There can be no doubt that these
children are ‘the least of these’ in their society. Abandoned by their
natural protectors, marginalized by their government, and left with scant hope
for a productive and fulfilling life, these young people need a helping hand, an
affirmation of their worth,
educational and vocational opportunity, and the message of the Gospel.
Reverend Tom Benz, Executive
402 Cotton Blossom Road,
Millbrook, AL 36054
(334) 285-0924 Voice, (561)