We are very thankful to all of you for your generous donations and willingness to help Ukraine refugees. In one month, we have received $41,000 in designated donations.
Sorry for not sharing these updates during last month. This has been an intensive time as everything in connection with Ukraine happened so fast and unexpectedly. Today in Estonia, we already have close to 30,000 Ukraine refugees.
I’m sharing how we have used your designated donation.
First of all I want to point out that this crisis might last quite a long time and our goal is to use those funds wisely, looking ahead at least for a one year period. We are thankful for your continuing help because need for help is huge and I will be implementing ways how to share this donation directly to the people who are in need.
Since March 16 we have hosted seven people at Home of Hope’s small 430 sq ft apartment. Before receiving them we replaced some furniture and bought a TV, washing machine, bedding etc. Our guests are mother (Jana) and father (Oleksandr) with two children (Adeline 3 months and Arina 6 years) and three sisters (Tatjana, Ljuba and Natalja) of Oleksandr’s. All are in the picture above. They escaped in the very beginning of the war as they live in Sarny which is close to the Belorussian border and military base is located at their town.
Seven people was still too many for our small flat and I helped find another apartment for the three sisters. On April 2 they moved into another apartment. The good news is that the sisters already have a janitor job at a local hotel.
One interesting fact is that these sisters have 12 brothers and sisters in their family and most of them are currently in Tartu. Their two older sisters also have big families (6 and 5 children) and I have tried to help them find housing. A hotel isn’t the most comfortable place for living. As refugees arrive, the Estonian government hosts them for one month in hotels. It’s not easy to find a suitable apartment or house for such a big family and I haven’t yet been successful. I was successful, though, in finding kindergarten for 6-year-old Arina and yesterday was her first day. It was very special to see her happy eyes when I said that I’ll try to find a kindergarten for her.
Because we have received more donations than we need for this family who is staying with us, I started co-operating with the Estonia Lutheran Church congregations in order to help them to host refugees. It means I’ll create a network of people and congregations hosting refugees. Creating a good system takes some time, but soon I will be able to share with you more information about people who have been helped by you.
At the same time, our pastoral care givers are working in refugee centers. They have done this job on a volunteer basis but as time goes on I’ll start compensating them this work because in the long run they also need support. Also we need to offer pastoral care for Estonian people as anxiety is very high in our society.
We very much understand Ukraine people. They are victims of Putin’s dream to restore Russia with the same territory as it was during the time of the Soviet Union. Unfortunately Ukraine hasn’t been able to bring about serious reform as Estonia and other Baltic countries did during the 90’s. We truly cut off dangerous bonds with Russia. Though, we can’t feel ourselves safe. Today it is our duty to help Ukraine people as much as we can because they truly fight for our freedom as well. That’s why Estonians are very intensively helping Ukraine at different levels.
At this critical time, I call you to pray continually for Ukraine and also for the Baltic region, that freedom once earned wouldn’t be taken away again!
God bless you,
Pastor Siimon Haamer
President of Tartu Academy of Theology
If you would like to give your support for Ukraine refugees and to all additional activities that we are running in this extreme situation, you can use options below.
Charity Lutheran Church (Tax deductible.)
120 Aspen Ave.
Bismarck, ND 58503, U.S.A.
Designation “TAT Ukraine”
To give electronically through Charity Lutheran Church in Bismarck ND (Tax deductible) go to Charity’s website. Choose from the “Fund” dropdown list “Tartu Academy of Theology” and then choose the sub fund “Ukraine”.
We are very thankful if you’ll keep in mind our other needs as well. In order to help Ukraine people we need to keep Home of Hope running.
More giving options are available at tatest.org/give.