The Orphanage in the former German village of Landau
of the Beresan District
By Elizabeth (Bettsy) Madison Williams, Missoula, Montana. Bettsy
visited the Landau Orphanage in June, 2000, as a member of the Journey
to the Homeland Tour group sponsored by the North Dakota State University
The orphanage in Landau has 153 children, 88 girls and 65 boy.
Forty-eight of these children are parentless and the other 105 children
have parents whose parental rights have been terminated by the state
due to neglect, alcoholism, or inability to parent. The government
supplies food and the teachers' wages. The other needs of the orphanage
must be meet by charity of which there is little available in this
poor region. There are 30 women and five men who work and teach
at the orphanage. Most grow gardens and bring extra food to the
orphans. The directors and teachers we met are very attached to
their children and claim to have "the most beautiful orphans in
the world." After meeting some of these lovely children, we agree.
The children in this orphanage are between the ages of 7-16. Younger
children are at a "baby house" in Nikolaiv, the nearest large city.
At the age of 16 or 17, the children go to a vocational school and
live in dormitories. Most study building, sewing, cooking, and other
labor. The children in the Landau orphanage are considered to be
"slow in developing" due to hearing, vision, growth, or other health
impairments and many are under educated due to lack of attending
school while they resided with their families. There is minimal
health care available for the children. Ukraine allows no foreign
adoptions. The directors knew only of one adoption from the Landau
Journey to the Homeland 2000 was able to give three suitcases
of gifts (clothes, toiletries, school supplies, toys, and some basic
medicines), one box of quilts, and $420. The money was used immediately
to rent a bus and buy gas to send the children to their summer camp
on the Black Sea. The government provides the camp but not the transportation.
The orphanage has a governance board of three people who prioritize
needs and decide how charity will be used. We are in the process
of gathering more information about the orphanage and how we might
be of assistance to the children. At this time, we know of no way
to assure delivery of aid to the orphanage except by tour members.
to use any images from the GRHC website may be requested
by contacting Michael