Guiding youth to action

UCEF Ginger Fund program

“Before I lived for myself, but now I live for others” – a participant of the Ginger programs, who came to Ukraine in 2006 for one year to help the orphans and stayed for good.


 The Ginger Orphan Support Program of  the Ukrainian Catholic Education Foundation  started its activity in 2006.


The purpose of the program is to help the most vulnerable and needy children and youth living without their parents,  or at risk in unhealthy family situations.


Мама Мар'яна з маленьким Андрійком

Mother Mariana with her son lAndrew, community of care for pregnant women "Hope", Lviv


The goal is to give each child a loving home, regardless of the conditions and circumstances in which they have grown up.

Priority group: 

  • orphans;
  • children from crisis families;
  • homeless children.


Sample project areas:

  • bulding a family-type orphanage;
  • caring for children in government institutions and orphanages;
  • supporting social centers for street children.

During the first 10 years of the program, 488 projects were finished.  The list of partners includes more than 200  organizations in Ukraine: community organizations, charities, religious communities, missions and chaplaincies, parishes, and family-type orphanages.


488 projects in 10 years of cooperation, 25 of them nationwide


Among the many striking examples, we would like to highlight the story of the family of Natalie and Volodimir Shevchenko,. After the death of her own daughter and due to her illness could not have any more children.  The couple adopted five children from Semenivka village, in the region of Donetsk.

The father works at the plant as a mechanic, the mother takes care of the children. Not receiving any help from the government, this family lived in the poverty and thus they were unable to buy a home. When the fighting began in the region, the life in the village stopped: schools  and hospitals were closed. To live in such conditions  was extremely difficult.


With the support of the UCEF Ginger Foundation the family bought an old house and moved to the city of Slovjansk with their children.  By their own efforts with the help of the volunteers of “Building Ukraine Together” they repaired their house and got a second chance of peaceful and happy life.



 Family Shevchenko, Sloviansk Donetsk region


Natalie said: “We are immensely grateful to God and people for their help and for a chance to have children. My husband and I dream to adopt another girl and a boy.”


According to official data, on January 1, 2016 more than 73,000 orphans lived in Ukraine. Of this number, only 20-23%  are traditional orphans, the others are children with living parents but who are deprived of parental care, often because of alcoholism or drugs. More than 52000 children are under the care of immediate families,  about 6,600 children live in government boarding schools, 25,000 children are in families who find themselves in the difficult circumstances but can bring up the children, and 18,000 are eligible for adoption.


Since an orphanage can rarely give a child the desired love and upbringing, we try to find an alternative solution to this situation. That is the reason why representatives of 80 charities, foundations, church and government agencies from across the country gathered on 27-28 February, 2016 in Lviv for the two-day national conference.” Alternative forms of child care” to discuss, debate and build a strategy.



During the conference we came to a conclusion that the biggest problems are the collapse of social institutions,  the absence of legislation that would give a clear status to children of troubled families, and disorganized organizations that provide assistance and support to families and orphans.


Program Coordinator: Natalia Shalata +38 (093) 449 97 74; +38 (068) 707 40 11 e-mail: lef.socialprojects@gmail.com