As Russia continues to bully former Soviet states, the human toll is growing rapidly. In addition to the illegal takeover of Crimea and military maneuvers designed to destabilize Ukraine, Russia has also raised natural gas prices by 80%! This is devastating to many poor families and the elderly in Ukraine. Salaries and social assistance remain stagnant, child benefits have decreased and prices are increasing dramatically across the board.
A few examples: One kilogram of chicken (2.2 pounds) cost $1.96 (23 Ukrainian Hryvnia) in January 2014. In April, the average price was $2.56- over 30% increase in 4 months. Gasoline was also affected- one litre of gas (almost 1/4 a gallon) cost 94 cents in January. In April, it had skyrocketed to $1.36. This was a 45% increase.
There were other examples listed in the Mission Without Borders UK newsletter. I verified the data when I could and translated to US dollars and measurements. Family sponsorships are a critical part of stabilizing families and ensuring that families with children can survive during such difficult times. More than just survival, these sponsorships help families get a leg up moving toward self sufficiency and thriving- not just surviving.
Once I get some debt repaid (a major priority!) I would love to visit Ukraine someday. It would be part of my dream of spending 1-2 months in Eastern Europe again. I hope to visit a nation that is thriving and growing healthier (economically, socially, and spiritually). I like the fact that Mission Without Borders with its 50 Ukrainian staff and 90 volunteers are moving Ukraine toward this goal