Letter from Shirokolanovka Orphanage, Ukraine, 25
Former German village of Landau, Beresan District, today near
On behalf of the board of directors of the Special School of Shyrokolanivka
[former Landau] I, Maria Honcharenko, an assistant director in charge
of educational work, would like to address this message to you.
We received a letter from Elizabeth Williams that in the far away
America there are a lot of good natured people, among which you
are, Connie, who have the desire and some possibility to help children
in need. Each time I hear this news, I become very impressed and
moved to tears. It's so nice to know there are many people with
kind souls and noble intentions in this world.
Our orphanage is a public educational establishment. Today 149
children, aged from 7 to 18, are taught and educated there. 58 of
them are orphans without parental care. Our students belong to a
sort of students with special needs, i.e. they need correction of
mental development. Our task is to teach and educate them in the
way they could get adjusted to the society in future and earn their
own living by themselves. So that we prepare them for the working
life. The girls learn to sew, the boys are to master the metalwork
Due to the difficult economic situation in the country the state
funding of the educational facilities is more than unsatisfactory.
During the previous ten years we received absolutely no money for
clothes, shoes, stationary and training equipment. We received only
scanty money for the food, which was so scarce that children never
had eaten enough.
Now the funding has been increased a little and we are able to
provide better food for the children. Also a little sum is provided
to purchase clothes and shoes although this is not enough. So we
have the only chance to survive through donations.
Two years ago we met an amazing person, a wonderful woman Bettsy
Williams. We believe she was a Lord's messenger. She does so much
for us organizing fundraising for the destitute children and giving
a great part of her heart to them. We are sincerely grateful to
Recently we have received a letter from her with an offer of friendship
and cooperation with your school. We collected all the children
of the orphanage and read that letter to them. The children received
this message with joy. However its message aroused a lot of questions.
They wonder how they can communicate because they don't speak English,
who would translate the letters for them, where they can get money
for the postage. And yet I think those questions could be solved.
There are many talented children among our students. They can
draw pictures, embroider, make handicrafts and they like it. They
would love to make such gifts for their American friends.
I was thrilled at this offer. I believe it's very important especially
for the orphan children. It's a great worth to have a friend who
would understand you, who you can share your intimate thoughts,
joy and sorrow with, and you would know you're not alone in this
world and someone is waiting for a message from you.
Our school (orphanage) has many needs: the buildings are mostly
adapted for their functions, besides they are old. There are some
buildings from 19th century, thus they need renovation and restoration
and this costs too much. All the equipment at our school is 30-40
years old and outworn and we do not have the means to replace it.
That's why we gladly receive every kind of help.
With my best regards