Viktor Pavlovich is our local director in Pisky and Kyiv; the work is one, although names are several.

Viktor’s story of work in Ukraine

It all started for me in 2003, when Children’s Embassy organized a summer camp in Skadovsky, Crimea. There were 36 children from Kyiv and Bobrovicha. I was the sports instructor. It was there that I met Mirjam and Boas, the founders of Children’s Embassy who worked among street children in Kyiv. I also learnt to know Jennifer and Gun. At that time already, I was impressed by the compassion and caring attitude of foreigners who wanted to help our Ukrainian children.

The summer camp was a great experience. We met again one day in August, now with the municipal mayor, judge, local council heads, and Boas and Mirjam. They rented the old kindergarten building for 49 years – for free – and started a rehabilitation home for children.

On September the 2nd, the new registered organization Haver opened Friend’s House in Pisky village. I started working there.

Mirjam and Boas came from Kyiv with their cats and dogs and a few street children. The children had no domicile, but they were due to start school. The principal of the village school was helpful, and so Vasya, Anya, Natasha, Maksim, Roma and Ruslan started school, although they had no birth certificates.

Tanya K. lived and worked in Friend’s House with her adult son Kolya. Tanya took care of little Alina who was only four years old. She was blind and had a facial deformation. She was later adopted to Sweden.

It’s safe when Molli snores against the neck

The building was not fit for living in, but it was better than the street. Water and heating were not working, some windows lacked glass, and there was no furniture. I remember Boas, Mirjam and the children sleeping on mattresses on the floor. Our dogs Molly and Amy liked to sleep among the children. The children loved to play with the dogs and talk to them. Each dog had 10 to 14 puppies every day. That was a lot of fun.

Many people helped

Many Swedish and Finnish people wanted to give the children proper circumstances. They helped us drill a well, change the heating system and to renovate the house that now served as a children’s home. We worked closely with the local social services who sent children from difficult situations to us.

In winter, we welcomed 8-year-old Vitya, whose family made him live in a barn or with neighbours. Today, Vitya is a 28-year-old sergeant in the Ukrainian army. He is defending his country on the front.

Challenges and progress

Many have received help during these 20 years

In September 2004, we welcomed two very young mothers, 15 and 16, each one with a two-week-old baby. They had no other home.

Our family grew to have more than 20 children. We had to find a way to warm each one’s heart; we wanted to show them a kind of life that they did not know before.

Mirjam and Boas organized everything for the children: cosy rooms, access to school, summer camps at the sea or in the Carpathians, excursions to Kyiv and other places.

They did a lot to extend the organization. They put up a seminary with the local administration, attended by the Finnish Ambassador. But our work was affected by changes in the Ukrainian legislation.

Stories of сhange

Family Ovtsarchuk moved into Friend’s House and established a family home. It was not an easy time for anyone. I found it a bad choice, as the children started to have problems. When the family finally moved out into a house of their own, a scandal was revealed: they had destroyed the facilities, and we started renovating again.

In 2011, we had to think about how to continue. Together we managed to find and develop a solution. The work extended and was ever more rewarding. We helped vulnerable families to keep their children instead of being taken to state children’s homes because of poverty.

Visions for the future and hopes

We are now helping more than a hundred families. The number is increasing year by year. Friend’s House opens its door to the village children daily. They are helped with homework, and they attend activities. It is also important just to be together and to have fun. Sunday school gathers here on Saturdays.

Children’s Embassy – Haver supports people in our villages that were occupied at the beginning of Russian all-out attack to Ukraine. Our friends in Sweden and Finland send us the means to help the families. About 40 people fled the war to Eskilstuna, Sweden, where Mirjam and Boas help them along.

With gratitude

I thank God who shows us the daily road where to serve people. He guides us together with real friends. You have helped us serve for 20 years already.

Viktor Pavlovich, local director, Children’s Embassy – Haver

How You Can Help

Celebrate 20 years of Friends’ House – become a friend of Friends’ House and make a difference!

Wow, can you believe that Friends’ House has been helping children in Ukraine for 20 years now? It’s absolutely incredible! But even though it’s a time for celebration, there’s still a lot to do. The children in Ukraine need us, and we need you!

Why Should You Become a Monthly Donor?

  • Keep the Wheels of Help Turning: With your support every month, we can do even more for the children.
  • ❤️ Your Contribution, Big Difference: It doesn’t have to be much. Just a small amount each month makes a big difference!
  • 💌 Receive News and Love: We will send you updates so you can see exactly what your help is accomplishing!

In this way you do:

1️⃣ Choose How Much: Every little bit helps!

2️⃣ Set Up the Payment: Super easy through your bank or Swish.

Plusgiro: 415398-7

Bankgiro: 0483-9478

Swish123-113 7876

3️⃣ Join the Journey: You’ll receive small letters and pictures that show how you’re making a difference!

Click the link below and help us celebrate our 20th anniversary by becoming a monthly donor!

Big hug and lots of thanks from all of us at Friends’ House! 🎉

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