Bruce Elliott - Founder and Director of Ezra's Children's program, on a home visit with one of Ezra's Social Workers from the Children's Rescue Center to assess the needs of a family experiencing extreme poverty.
The Call To Rescue Street Kids
Ezra International has been registered in Ukraine as a humanitarian aid organization since 1996.
Ten years ago, Bruce Elliott came to Ukraine and saw the plight of young homeless children and subsequently became a part of Ezra as the Director of Children's Work. As Bruce says, "these children have changed my life".
The street children's branch of Ezra International was initially created to provide aid and rescue services to street children in Kiev who had fled there from physical or sexual abuse, or homes afflicted with alcoholism or drug abuse.Glue sniffing by the kids was common as a means to temporarily raise the body temperature against the frigid winters. Street kids resorted to prostitution and street crime to survive. Life expectancies were short and life while it lasted was brutal.
The plight of abused, abandoned and orphaned children in Kiev has changed considerably in the last 15 years. The transition has been from a large and highly visible population of children attempting to survive on their own on the street, with virtually no systematic resources to aid them, to a growing network of ministries and orphanages functioning in association with Kiev Social Services.
As the population of street children has decreased it has meant that there is an increase in the number of young children who are living in an impoverished and often abusive home sitiuation. This shift has increased demand for workers to not only adress the needs of the individual child but for Ezra to develop a program that takes on a much more holistic approach and meets the needs of both the child and the family. This goal is reached through our Child Rescue Program