Tag Archives: Ukraine

The gift of music brightens a Ukrainian classroom

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In Pochaiv, Ukraine, tradition and culture is tightly woven into the fabric of the community. Parents and teachers dutifully teach long-standing customs and traditions to younger generations in order to keep Ukrainian culture strong. Pride in one’s culture creates a lasting bond among community members, and strengthens solidarity between families.

Music is an extremely important part of Ukrainian history. The earliest form of Ukrainian music was used to signal community members, imitate the sounds of nature, and to celebrate important events such as births and weddings.

Our Pochaiv site offers an after-school music class where sponsored children learn about traditional Ukrainian music. The children learn the history behind folk songs, instruments and ancient composers. The most exciting part of the class is when the students get a chance to make their own music!

The children play reed-pipes, an ancient folklore instrument similar to a recorder. In the class of 30 students, however, there were only five reed-pipes to go around. The lack of instruments meant that the children had very limited time to practice, and couldn’t play songs together as a group.

One day, a special shipment of 25 new reed-pipes arrived at the school! Our caring supporters donated the instruments through our gift catalogue – enough for each student to have their own. “We were dreaming about this instrument for a long time, but we couldn’t afford it ourselves,” says Hanna Koshyk, the school principal. “the new gifted reed-pipes cover the whole ensemble!”

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The class is now noisy and full of life, as the students are able to practice on their own. The group is currently learning a collection of instrumental folk songs, and love performing them for their friends and family! “Ensemble participation develops [the children],” says Hanna. “They are learning how to communicate and collaborate with each other!”

“Thank you, supporters, for making our children happy,” Hanna expresses. “We pray for you!”

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Kateryna’s Passion for Painting

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Kateryna, from Pochaiv, Ukraine, didn’t have an easy childhood. Her mother, the only caretaker of the family, worked her hardest to take care of Kateryna and her two brothers. She took on multiple jobs, including servicing a local cemetery. She worked nearly every day, even on Sundays selling candles and lamps to cemetery visitors.

It was incredibly hard for Kateryna’s mother to afford housing on her small income, so the family lived in the cemetery’s facility building.The family of four shared one tiny room cluttered with landscaping tools, buckets, and shovels. The room had no running water or bathroom facilities.  The children, often left alone to entertain themselves, would play between the cemetery graves.

Kateryna and her family’s lives changed the moment she was chosen by her Chalice sponsor. Her mom was able to provide proper nutrition and care to her three children, and no longer had to work so many odd jobs to make ends meet. The stability she found was a great relief on the whole family- she got to spend more time with her children, and could encourage them to thrive.

Kateryna, now able to focus on her passions, discovered a love for art. She started painting at school, and both her mom and teachers noticed she had a talent for it. She practiced painting still life objects around her, and became especially gifted at portrait painting.

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Today, Kateryna is 17 and attends a special art school. Kateryna’s expert use of soft, natural colours and eye for detail has gained her recognition as a gifted artist in her community.  She recently debuted her artwork at her first personal exhibition!

Kateryna is still living with her mom and brothers. Her mother, after carefully budgeting sponsorship funds, moved the family to a safe and clean two bedroom apartment. Her older brother is studying at a local college, and the whole family is incredibly grateful for the blessings in their lives.

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From unable to unstoppable: Mykola’s miracle

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Mykola, 17, is a sponsored child from our Ternopil site in Ukraine. Mykola was born with cerebral palsy, and requires ongoing clinical and therapeutic treatments. He is unable to care for himself and depends on his mother’s help full time, leaving her unable to work. His father is the sole provider for the family, but often struggles because he earns very little income. Mykola’s parents couldn’t afford to continue his costly therapy treatments on their own.

Mykola and his family were incredibly grateful when he was sponsored four years ago at the age of 13. Because of sponsorship, he was able to continue his treatments, and was able to explore new treatment courses, too! So far, Mykola has taken nine treatment courses at the Clinic of Kozyavkin, and has taken five Dolphin Assisted Therapy sessions. Dolphin Assisted Therapy (DAT) is used as a therapeutic approach for many disorders, and helps build muscle strength and motor skills.

Prior to sponsorship, Mykola’s speech was stilted, he suffered from constant seizures, and he had little control of his leg muscles due to his condition. Today, Mykola’s leg muscles are stronger and have become much more flexible. He no longer needs sedatives and rarely suffers from seizures anymore, allowing him to sleep comfortably throughout the night. Most noteworthy, Mykola, who had never spoken a word, is now able to say short sentences and walk short distances with support.

This success was an unforeseen blessing for his mom who said, “I never thought he’d be able to do so well. If he can do this, what else can he do?” We are confident that through continued sponsorship, Mykola will continue to thrive and it is our hope that one day, he will be able to walk on his own! This is just one of the many success stories that demonstrate how Chalice sponsorship transforms lives!

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Mykola’s name is Ukrainian-derived from Nicholas, meaning “victory of the people”. This truly reflects the spirit of our supporters, knowing that if we all work together to help others in need, we will all be victorious.

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Ukrainian Christmas Kutia

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Kutia at our Pochaiv Sponsor Site

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Children making Christmas Kutia – a traditional Christmas Recipe

Kutia is the main dish on Ukrainians’ Christmas table. It has a special significance and Holy Dinner begins with it. Kutia is also called God’s dish. It is cooked of decorticated wheat grains, poppy seeds, honey, walnuts and raisins. This dish is a symbol of unity of generations: past ones and coming ones. Also, it is a symbol of life victory over death. Wheat grains are life which comes to the end and revives. Poppy seeds are souls of deceased ancestors. Honey is an ancient symbol of Christianity and it becomes a symbol of the Good News that Jesus, World Savior, is Born. Therefore, kutia is a very ancient a symbolic dish on the festive table. The tastier kutia is the higher prosperity will be at your home. A soup plate with kutia is to be placed in the middle of a table. Entire family should taste kutia from one plate as this is a symbol of a family unity. A separate small plate with kutia is to be placed on a window sill for deceased ancestors whose souls come for Holy Dinner this night.

Ingredients

1½ cups decorticated wheat (wheat berries)

1 cup poppy seeds

4 tablespoons honey

½ cup raisins

½ cup decorticated walnuts

½ cup boiled water

4 tablespoons sugar

Salt

  • Soak wheat berries for few hours in cold water. After that, pour the water out. For 1 part of wheat we take 2 parts of water (1:2 proportion). Put wheat into boiling water, add ½ teaspoon salt and 2 tablespoons sugar. Do not mix wheat while boiling. Simmer wheat under lid.
  • After water boils way, put wheat into hot oven for 30 minutes.
  • Rinse poppy seeds and steam it with boiling-hot water for few hours. Push the poppy seeds through a food grinder. Add sugar and honey.
  • Grind walnuts, steam raisins and strain off.
  • Add some boiled water into cool wheat, add poppy seeds, raisins and walnuts. Mix everything and put into clay bowl.

Recipe from our Pochaiv Site Director, Halyna Mykytiuk 

Christmas treats for our children in our Pochaiv, Ukraine site

Christmas treats for our children in our Pochaiv, Ukraine site

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Children at our site praying for their sponsor