Sunday, October 6, 2013

Missions Monday! Vocational Education in Ukraine

Last week I received a Mission Without Borders update/appeal that focused on impoverished families and the need to break the chains of poverty for families and children.

The letter started "I cannot get my mind off the poor souls imprisoned in villages throughout Eastern Europe"..  Not a physical prison, of course, but there are physical aspects.  Hunger, deprivation, lack of mobility, and lack of education and opportunity are all aspects of poverty that must be addressed in order to break the cycle of poverty.

The family to family and child sponsorship programs are designed to meet these needs- in a real physical way- to be like Christ in addressing physical and spiritual needs.  This letter focused on the real need for education and opportunity.  Many children get a basic education in Eastern Europe.  What is needed for many youth who have "graduated" from orphanages are special skills- a trade whereby they can support themselves and break the cycle of spiritual and material poverty.

I've graduated!  Now what?

When a young person "graduates" from an orphanage/boarding school what happens?  If he cannot attend an institution of higher education (or just as likely cannot afford an education) they are "set free"-sometimes without skills or a trade- only to continue the cycle of poverty.  What can be done?  When I visited Moldova, I was privileged to meet with the director of the school where my sponsored child lives.  She talked about the desire to give these newly graduated young people the skills with which they can provide for themselves and break the cycle of poverty.

A Solution

Mission Without Borders underwrites tuition in numerous state approved educational facilities.  Students can attend these institutions (which they otherwise could not afford), gain skills in computer literacy, beekeeping, tailoring, culinary arts, auto mechanics, and other trades.  The students graduate with a official state approved certificate.  Using these new-found skills, they can find employment, start their own business, or pursue further education.

The Cost

How much does an education cost?  Fortunately the costs are much lower than in the West and range from $40 (culinary arts) to $155 (auto mechanics) per semester.  While costs are low, funds are needed to make this educational opportunity available to as many people as needed.

The Need

I was excited to hear that the long term needs of needy youth are being addressed in such a practical way!  When one young person gains new skills and becomes employed, one more link in the chain of poverty is broken.  Piece by piece this chain is slowly dropping off from around the hands of this generation (and the next!)  You can play a part!  If you want to get involved in this project, you can visit the website of Mission Without Borders or call 800-245-9191.  If you are outside of the states, there are several Mission Without Borders affiliates listed at their international website.
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