Ukrainian Orphan Project (U.O.P.)
The Ukrainian Orphan Project (UOP) is an on-going hosting program that was launched in the early 2004. Since the project's inception, for approximately three weeks each summer and winter, a group of 25-30 orphans is given a chance to travel to the USA for a trip they have only dreamed about. They travel nearly 40+ hours by bus, train, and plane from Kharkov County of Ukraine. Kharkov is the second biggest city in Northeastern Ukraine, located in an area near Russia's southern border. You may find a lot of interesting information about Kharkov and its culture at Kharkov city page.
One of the goals of this cultural exchange is to give underprivileged Ukrainian children a hope for the future. Unfortunately, statistics show that up to 40% of these children were abandoned at birth and the other 60% were removed from their homes due to parental neglect. We feel that providing these children with the opportunity to experience American culture, language, and lifestyle is a marvelous way of motivating and inspiring them. In addition, the program is providing a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the orphans by allowing them to spend precious time with a host family, receiving attention and love that they usually lack back home in their orphanages.
A side benefit of this project is the exciting opportunity for local Americans who interact with these children to experience the pleasure and fulfillment of participating in international, cross-cultural relationships. Sometimes enriching and endearing life-long friendships are formed. Host Families Feedback.The cultural portion of the hosting program includes lots of sightseeing and excursions, cultural and sports activities, potlucks and socials, etc. For instance, the children hosted in California were able to visit Monterey Aquarium, Universal Studios and Disneyland in Los Angeles, Discovery Museum in San Jose, Six Flags Marine World, U.S. Coast Guard Base in Alameda with a top to bottom tour of the Coast Guard Vessel, Jelly Belly Factory, the U.S. State Capitol and the Governor’s Office in Sacramento, Hillar Aviation Museum, etc.
For several years, the Ukrainian
Orphan Project comprised a Ukrainian Festival during which the
children sang and danced to Ukrainian songs in traditional
costumes. The children also demonstrated their artistic talents by
selling beautiful handmade needlepoint pictures, pottery,
paintings, and stuffed animals they had made in Ukraine. Thanks to
generous donations, several Festivals raised hundreds of dollars
that are so needed for the orphanages.
Since 2004, the Ukrainian Orphan Project has grown at a rapid pace. As a result of this growth, the current hosting locations are as follows: AL, CA, GA, IL, MA, MN, MO, NC, NY, OH, OK, PA, SC, TN. Hosting is potentially available in any state, given that there are 4-5 host families from the same area.
Tentative arrival day for the Summer hosting program is June