Hello family and friends,
Our winter in south central Ukraine has been a mild one. February is ending with temperatures dipping to 4 degrees F. Our daughter took her son to school on the sled and used it for shopping on the way home. March will come in like a lion. More snow is on the way before it warms up for spring. True Ukrainians like Sveta, are waiting to get out of the house and into the garden!
As MUCH has grown in fifteen years our sponsorship unfortunately has not. The exchange rate has kept us on track. In 2002 when I moved to Ukraine, the exchange rate was 5 UAH for $1. This month it has been holding at about 27 UAH for $1. You can see the history of the exchange rate for the last five years on this chart.
MUCH support began to grow by word of mouth. Are you sharing with your friends what God is doing through MUCH? We would appreciate if you would!
When I began this mission, I was very shy to ask for support. I told my story and people responded. This seemed to be working. Something changed, maybe the economy. For the last two years, we have been under budget with our monthly contributions. In 2017, our monthly support was $500 below budget. By the end of the year, MUCH was $6,000 below budget in contributions.
Our year-end report shares all that we are doing. To overcome this deficit, we need additional monthly sponsors. If you are reading this newsletter and are not a sponsor, please consider what $10 a month would do to keep our programs on-fire.
$10 a month a ten-day massage therapy treatment for one child — 271 children/year
$25 a month would provide clothing for a child in need — 45 children/year
$33 a month provide transportation to university for one student. — 4 students/year
This is how I see the work of MUCH. Yes, we are doing God’s work, we are improving the lives and health of children. And that should be enough.
I see more. I see that we are taking steps to prevent the domino theory from becoming more than a theory. We are helping to build better community through reaching out to those in need of healthcare, education, and clothing. We are setting an example of strengthening individuals and family.
Ukraine is a pivotal country. We are helping it grow toward the EU and the West, away from Russian.
In 1992, Russia was part of the Joint Control Commission after the ceasefire agreement of the military conflict between Moldova and the breakaway Transnistrian territory. In 2008, Russian was involved in the Georgian conflict. In 2014, Russia annexed Crimea. Only months later, Russia assisted the pro-Russian separatists in the war in eastern Ukraine, the Donbass region. Many article have been written to strongly suggest that Putin and the Kremlin want their USSR countries back. I see the theory is more than a theory. The longer the time between conflicts, the less real the theory seems. Russian KGB mentality counts on that.
I believe that the more MUCH helps the people of Ukraine become more active in changing their immediate needs, the stronger the people, as a country, will become. I’m not political. I am only sharing what I see, and why I believe that you would be interested in strengthening Europe, Ukraine, and its people through the work that we are doing.
Children with mental disabilities experience learning difficulties. They cannot concentrate, read poorly, or have difficulty with memory. Here are a few examples of children who are breaking through their difficulties. They are battling their challenges with the technology of computers and computer tablets!
Kolya is a calm and obedient thirteen-year-old boy. He loves computer lessons. He has difficulty with remembering things, but in spite of this he learns well. In the beginning of the school year, he could not read sentences, or remember where the keyboard letters were located. Kolya studied the locations of all of the letters on the keyboard, learned to read by syllables, and type text from the textbook onto the computer. Success!
Misha studies in the 6th grade and strives to know everything and be able to do everything, but his attention is going in every direction. He always hurries, and in the end does not always succeed. But Luba is very impressed with his success in using the new keyboard program “Mouse Simulator”. Misha learns and remembers the arrangement of letters on the keyboard and simultaneously is learning the letters of the Ukrainian alphabet. He is very happy to study on the computer and often hugs Luba and says, “Thank you, I love you.” Success!
Some children, such as thirteen-year-old Nadya, have become better pupils because of their experience in the computer class. In Nadya’s other classes, her learning skills are changing. She is getting better results. Her attention is improving when she studies, her reading skills are better, and Nadya’s vocabulary is growing. Luba believes that Nadya will improve her intellectual abilities. There is a big possibility for her to begin to think and respond to unconventional situations. Luba sees potential for Nadya to achieve her future goals! Success!
Vova has a diagnosis of alalia-hypoplasia of speech. He cannot speak sentences, only individual sounds. Vova has learned to play on the computer tablet in logic games and therefore it helps him to improve memory, attention, thinking, and fine motor skills of the hands. Success!
Some children are not interested in learning on the computer but only want to play different games. To find unity with these children, Luba created a rule. “After you finish the task that I give you, then and only then, you may play a computer game.”
Yura, has difficulty with his attention span. He quickly looses interest, tears up his lessons, and is constantly distracted. To focus, he had to make a great effort. After massage treatment and exercises, he has good results. Positive impulses increase, aggressiveness decreases, and his psycho-emotional state of mind improves. Computer training together with massage therapy brought a very good result. Success!
Thank you very much Luba, our computer teacher, and our massage therapists Natasha and Paul! Your great patience and love for these special needs children helps them feel accepted and loved. Their work reveals the individual abilities that each child has. For the children in the orphanage, it is very important to have support from people who are nearby. Luba, Natasha and Paul are like loving parents investing in the hearts of the children with love, knowledge, example, rules of behavior and other character building attributes.
Living my dream,
If you see value in what we at MUCH are doing,
If you see the value of Ukraine in the European overview,
Step up to the plate and Donate!
The children thank you! Ukraine thanks you! MUCH thanks you!
You can see all of our videos at our Youtube site http://www.youtube.com/user/smmuch
Blessings of love and healing,
Mark and Sveta