In the Lugansk region of eastern Ukraine, separatist forces have taken control and declared Lugansk to be an independent republic. For over a year, the Ukrainian military has been fighting to retake the land. Eighty percent of the civilians in the area have fled the fighting, and the twenty percent remaining do so because they are unable to leave. Martha and Victor are in their nineties. Their only child, a daughter Tanya, was killed by an abusive husband many years ago and they have no other family. When the fighting in Eastern Ukraine began two years ago, they had nowhere to go. Now, they are two of the thousands that have no way to find food or basic care in an area where supply lines and their pensions have been blocked. Convoy of Hope Europe has been working to bring physical, social, and spiritual help to people in these communities affected by the war. When our team first met Martha and Victor, and offered to pray with them, Martha said “Pray to God for us to die on our feet. We are over 90 years old and have no one to take care of us.” The team ministered to Martha and Victor, and provided the couple with plenty of food and a much-needed medical exam. Now, Martha says the future looks much brighter. With tears in her eyes she said, “You have given us hope!”
While a working ceasefire in Eastern Ukraine continues to elude the government and separatist forces, winter has officially arrived for the civilians trapped in the crossfire. Many have fled, but many cannot. For those left behind, the bitter cold is an unrelenting foe against which there is little hope. Because of the fighting, most cities and villages are without power and access to natural gas for heat. While the militia fight, people are freezing to death in their homes. Last winter, Convoy of Hope Europe reached out and provided 300 wood stoves for families caught in this desperate situation. These stoves serve a dual purpose. Not only do they heat homes, but they also provide a flat surface for cooking. [su_button url="http://wp.me/P1uiOf-XJ" target="blank" style="flat" background="#ed364b" size="8" wide="yes" center="yes" radius="0" icon="icon: heart-o" class="coheu"]DONATE A STOVE TODAY[/su_button] Surviving in a war zone is difficult in many ways outside of the direct threat of violence. Food supplies are interrupted and businesses close or flee. Jobs are lost, and those left behind are now unemployed with no way to support themselves. Food is scarce even for those who can afford to buy it. Over the last year, Convoy of Hope Europe made a commitment to helping those stranded in the war zone. We provided seeds and gardening tools for families to grow their own food. Many were able to can and store enough to last through much of this coming winter. In addition, we funded a new school for Ukrainians who commit to moving to the towns and villages in the war zone and act as point person for humanitarian aid distribution. These volunteers are trained in supply distribution, reporting, and counseling victims of trauma. Three classes have graduated, and those graduates are now serving in twelve cities and villages along the front lines of the conflict! Now that winter is once again upon us, we want to continue to provide Hope to those who have lost everything. Last winter we purchased and distributed 300 stoves. This year, with your help, we can do more!
In February, Convoy of Hope Europe (COHEU) received a request to step in and assist with humanitarian efforts in the war zone of Eastern Ukraine. The Donbass region has seen intense action from rebel fighters in the last 18 months, taking its toll on the land and on the people. Teamed with the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) and other organizations from all over Europe, COHEU has taken direct action to address specific needs within these communities. The initial commitment supplied wood-burning stoves for families in cities without power or gas to see them through the rest of the winter. Close to 350 stoves were delivered to five cities and villages, along with firewood to fuel them. These stoves will afford heat and a cooking surface for families until power is restored. We also provided seeds and supplies for over three hundred families to grow and store their own food to help them through this summer and upcoming winter. Between 1,000 and 1,500 loaves of bread and medical supplies are sent daily to cities in the worst-hit areas. Because so many of these areas are still under lockdown by the Ukrainian military as they deal with separatists, this humanitarian assistance is literally the difference between life and death for some of these incredible people. In the last month, COHEU also started a training course for Ukrainians volunteering to move into some of the most dangerous areas to act as point persons for humanitarian relief on the ground. These volunteers make a commitment to coordinate relief distribution in each village, and receive training on working with victims of trauma, communication, and project management. Your support is making a difference! It is impossible to know if this conflict will continue for months or years, but we remain committed to helping the people in Eastern Ukraine through this difficult time. Thank you for making it possible!