Children’s charity rushes to rescue children from Mykolaiv and other cities before the evacuation window closes.
Kidsave, a 501(c)(3) non-profit committed to helping older children in foster care in the U.S and orphans around the world find permanent families, is accelerating efforts in Ukraine. Already working in Ukraine since 2016, facilitating training, corporate mentoring, and family finding for older children and teens, Kidsave acted immediately, evacuating children and families starting on February 24. As of March 10, Kidsave Ukraine has rescued 2,199 people from active combat zones; 70 percent are children. Kidsave has a goal of helping thousands more before it’s too late.
“We were able to move quickly because we were already there.” said, Kidsave CEO, Randi Thompson. “We started with 3 of our team members, their friends, and their own personal cars. Since then, the team has grown to well over 70 committed drivers and volunteers and a fleet of 28 vehicles to evacuate children and families and provide humanitarian aid.”
Kidsave’s team and volunteers on the ground have been making 1,200-mile trips back and forth, traveling in dangerous conditions through Mykolaiv, Kherson, New Odesa, Ismail, and more cities, for days at a time. Kidsave has delivered people to the borders of Poland, Moldova, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and Germany. And the team there has delivered 32 tons of humanitarian aid collected from other NGOs and volunteers at the border to hospitals and rehab centers while en route back to the regions to rescue more people.
Kidsave’s Olena Shulha and her husband Pavlo have been instrumental in the rescue efforts. As the couple travels back and forth between active combat zones and safety, Olena has sent updates about the journey. She writes saying, “There was a terrible sight in front of us: the torn apart bodies of soldiers, shell craters, burnt cars of civilians, blown up equipment, fire, smoke, a blown-up gas station, houses destroyed by a shock wave…When we crossed the bridge, there were 14 pieces of enemy military equipment at the entrance to the city. We went for the families, took them and drove back. As soon as we crossed the city limit of Kherson, the battle began again on that bridge, but our families were already in a safe territory. Why are we doing it? The answer is very simple, this is the mission of Kidsave- to save the children.”
Kidsave’s work does not end with evacuation. Kidsave has set up a hotline service for psychological assistance and counseling to provide continuing support. In addition to providing shelter, food, and necessities, Kidsave is also partnering with churches and other organizations to help them feel as safe and comfortable as possible once they cross the border.
Kidsave’s team in the U.S. supports Ukrainian efforts and runs Kidsave programs to find permanent families and mentors for older kids in U.S foster care. “Our work to find families for children won’t stop here at home,” said Thompson. “And we hope to keep helping Ukrainian orphans find families as soon as we can.”
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Kidsave, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) charity, helps older children and teens living in U.S. residential facilities, foster homes, group homes, and orphanages overseas find forever families and lasting connections. A volunteer-driven effort, Kidsave works with governments and communities worldwide to see that no orphan or child in foster care is forgotten and grows up in a family with love and hope for a successful future.