Day two – moving towards Odessa We are now on the move to Odessa – 14 hours over night – sharing tales of our lives, dreams for the projects that work with, and enjoying an opportunity to debate and discuss.
Today – we visited the deputy mayor of Kharkiv with portfolio responsibility for social services. She presented an opportunity to hear about how the government views the homeless population, and how it views the solutions available, and the vision for the future. The prevailing theme around access to services without upto date ID remained. We then moved on to visit the feeding station in Kharkiv – where Sergei was in control and managing the service. (we had met him last night at the shelter). There were about 30 people at the feeding station, and the rain had stopped a lot of people coming out. On some occasions there can be up to 90 plus people attending the feeding station. Depaul provides everyone with a ‘one use’ cup for their soup and bread – but many are coming with their own units to take away additional portions of soup for others that they are connected with. The mother and baby unit was the next project we went to see – and this was a project that some members of party had visited almost 5 years before. Sister Renata had shared a vision of how the projct should be some 5 years ago – and now, returning to the project, some years on – the vision had come to life. This most amazing project provided a roof over head for women and their babies and young children. Women were provided with support, therapy, counselling, skills development and an opportunity to learn essential skills to help them live independently in the future. Sister Renata and her compatriot Sister Camilla lived onsite, and Victoria and Anya provided the daily connection with the women. Once again the issues of supporting women, many who had left orphanages, to regain ID and to get future support for themselves and their children. Victoria said they were looking for a name for the house – and the best option so far – the house of Hope. I like it. So – we head onto the train to Odessa – and so the night unravels…….