Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Working with Street Kids in Odessa

The Western news these days is carrying stories of the fall of the Berlin wall and the eventual fall of the Soviet system. Here in Ukraine collapse of the Soviet Union meant the collapse of social safety nets.

And the most vulnerable of all, the kids from no homes, broken homes, abusive homes, with mental problems, physical problems, drug and alcohol problems, take to the streets because it is better than what they have at home and there is no where else to go. They live in abandoned buildings and in the sewers and storm tunnels underground, on the dodge from other street people, police and most everyone from the "other world". They are subject to all abuses and every disease though HIV/AIDS and TB are likely the worst.

Dr. Robert Gamble, a Presbyterian minister, left a large church in Florida, to work with the street kids in Odessa, a port city in southern Ukraine.
Dr. Robert Gamble, D.Min. Th.M.
This Child Here,
C/O Doroga K Domy (The Way Home)
Str. Sofievskaya 10
Odessa, 65082
Ukrainian Mobile +380636117928
His work can be supported by contributions through the website or by mailing a cheque to: This Child Here, 245 Seaview Ave. Daytona Beach, Fl 32118. Email Dr. Gamble for more information or to be added to his newsletter mailing list.
These pictures are from his newsletter. The captions are his words.

I don’t know the name of this boy from the streets who is enjoying soup.

A group of seven came that day to eat with us. Zolushka whose name means Cinderella, was the one I was happiest to see. For the past three months, no one would say where she was living.

Here's two more boys on the streets, age nine and…

eleven. They live with two older teenagers under an apartment building. The eleven year old has some skin infection, we are trying to convince him to go to the hospital. We tried to get the younger one to come with us, but the eleven year old talked him out of it. At what point do you just grab them???

Oksana, a translator for Aids Alliance from Kiev, climbing out of a hole

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