DENVER (CBS4)– Dozens of orphaned Ukrainian children have been housed and protected in neighboring Romania thanks to Colorado-based Global Hope Foundation. The non-profit foundation operates orphanages in Romania, Kenya and India. Romania borders Ukraine to the south and has been a major location for refugees from the Russian and Ukraine war.
As millions fled from the warzone to neighboring countries, some of the most vulnerable Ukrainians were forced to move together to new beginnings. Dozens of orphans living in the capital of Kyiv were evacuated to Romania and left in the care of Global Hope.
"In the middle of the night we received 28 children under the age of seven," said Randy Jessen, Executive Director of Global Hope. "It was a surprise. We weren't expecting them to arrive."
The children mostly speak either Ukrainian or Russian. Most of the staff at the already-existing orphanage in Romania were unable to effectively communicate with the young children. Global Hope worked to find interpreters and more to help accommodate the children.
"We had to find a place for them to live. They arrived with nothing. We had to clothe them," Jessen told CBS4's Dillon Thomas.
Global Hope has been fundraising to better assist the children with their education and assuring they are properly fed and clothed. Global Hope was able to secure a location for temporary housing for the displaced children, in a location they have entitled 'Nehemiah's House.'
The name was inspired by the Bible, in which passage said Nehemiah rebuilt the walls around Jerusalem. Jessen said the new orphanage is now Global Hope's way of building the displaced orphans a new home.
"You can imagine what it is like to be four, five, six or seven years old, and you have already been abandoned by your family. And, now in the middle of the night, you are put on a train and transported to a place you have never been before. It is a really traumatic experience," Jessen said.
But, thanks to the generosity of Coloradans, the children are on pace to have a safe home to reside in for the coming years. Jessen said the children could be staying with them for up to three years, as currently permitted by the governments in Ukraine and Romania.
"People were incredibly generous," Jessen said. "These kids are beautiful and resilient kids. We are excited about the next two to three years as we have a chance to grow with them and continue to care for them."
If you would like more information on Global Hope, their mission or how you can help, visit https://www.globalhope.org/
for more features.