Posted: Jul 25, 2012 2:19 PM by Melissa Anderson - MTN News
Updated: Jul 25, 2012 2:20 PM
HELENA- It's estimated that more than 100,000 children in the Ukraine live in state run orphanages, and when they "age out," many become victims of human trafficking.
Kristian Rasch and her mother Patsy recently traveled to Kiev, and are now trying to raise awareness about the problem.
Kristian won the trip to Kiev from Manna Worldwide and what the mother-daughter team found out was more than eye opening.
They visited a camp where orphans are taken for the summer; Kristian said, "We were there for two days, we saw them eat three meals. It was the same thing every time. And they don't have anything. They don't have toys, they don't have video games, they don't even have their own clothes."
The government run orphanages house more than 100,000 children, many who have been abandoned due to poverty. But because many of the children still have parents living there, they aren't eligible for adoption.
After the children age out at 16, many of them end up on the streets, some becoming targets of human trafficking and prostitution.
The Manna program is in the process of building a home for these older children who have no place to call home.
It's called Smile House, and Manna hopes that the home will bring smiles to those who are so sad. Kristian says after she gets done with nursing school she wants to go back and help in the medical clinic they also hope to build.