Michael Wetzel's Charitable Mission In Ukraine

KIEV, Ukraine -- Pushcha Vodytsa Street Children Centre hosts the Shepherd’s Purse delegation headed by its founder Michael Wetzel. Fifteen missioners, the oldest one is 62 and the youngest Rachel is only 9, have brought the humanitarian aid included all necessities for the children.

Michael Wetzel

Having made long way from Lansing, the delegation arrived on May 16 in Kyiv. Michael Wetzel reported to ForUm about the activity, goals and missions of his organisation and the horrible conditions the street children live in Ukraine.

US missioners do all their best in order to help these children. Many of them prefer to stay on streets because they have got used to live this way instead of being kept in the orphanage.

Explaining the motives, Michael Wetzel told the story of his first contact with the problems of homeless kids. It was the video shot by his son about Kherson’s homeless kids, there was eleven-year-old Nastya who had lived on streets since four-aged.

Now she is fourteen and she is still on streets because her mother is an alcoholic and her new step-father abuses her, so she prefers the street-life. She perfectly knows about all traps of such life – sexual abuse or human trafficking – but she thinks it will not happen with her.

Having got known about Kherson, Michael Wetzel decided to do what he can do and started the Shepherd’s Purse organisation. Its main goal is to find and contact the centres, soup-kitchens and hospitals for homeless kids, the second step to find out their needs and then to raise funds and to provide them with humanitarian aid.

Mr. Wetzel stressed the necessity to raise awareness of people here in Ukraine and in the US regarding the problem because “children suffer now and they need help.”

Not all US citizens as well as many Ukrainians are eager to help but those who want and who can do all their best. “some of them can give a new coat or some money.” Even these small efforts contribute much to the great deal of the humanitarian aid to those who have nothing at all.

Last summer the Shepherd’s Purse collected £1,200 of new clothes, boots and other goods which were shipped to Kherson.

Mr. Wetzel cooperates with certain centres in Ukraine and Russia taking care of street children -- Kherson, Dniprodzerzhyns’k, Kyiv, Vladivostok and Perm. Dr. Andriy Revtov and Dr. Hazs have founded two centres in Kherson. Revtov’s centre works with 70 children per day and in Dr. Hasz’s one kids may eat and take shower without staying at it for a long time.

Michael Wetzel said that it has become a tradition for him and his wife to celebrate Christmas two times a year – one in the US on December 25 and the second in Kherson on January 7. His mission brings presents to the children living in the centres or on street. The next year it will happen again.

There are 21 kids living in Pushcha Voditsa centre. They decided to change their life and started the new one in the centre. They study, play and even work there. Now, the centre implements the project called the Coalition which is aimed to share the info about the centre among the street kids: the former street kid tells others about the advantages of non-street life because they trust each other.

Mr. Wetzel wished the Ukrainian authorities would change the current system of the ID’s and humanitarian cargos examination in order the charitable missions may give more aid as they can do and want to do.

Source: ForUm