Wartime Ukraine startup pioneers programs for orphans
Children Of Heroes Charity Fund Releases First Impact Report
When Vladimir Putin and Russia invaded Ukraine without cause on February 24, 2022, they fully expected to conquer the historic capital Kyiv in a few days and overtake a beautiful, budding democracy of genuinely modern and peaceful people. When Ukraine resisted with astonishing bravery, brilliance and resilience, Putin decided that instead of going home to evolve his broken military and backwards ideas, he would brutalize helpless civilians and commit genocide as Stalin and other diabolical Russian militarists had done to Ukrainians in the past.
Foremost amid all the horror and destruction wrought by the invaders are the children who’ve lost parents. Even if the war were to end today—and of course all reports are that Putin will mount a massive spring offensive shortly—these innocent children face a painfully challenging and uncertain future.
The day of the invasion, Diligent Capital founder Dan Pasko thought back to an idea he had during the 2014 Russian invasion of Ukraine’s Crimea:
We need a fund to take proper care of orphans — not just in wartime, but for all their crucial developmental years.
With that, the non-profit Children of Heroes Charity Fund was born.
Pasko and his two sisters lost their father when they were children, so he well understands the safety and security crisis rendered by such a tragedy—but also the special opportunity for friends and community to step in, stabilize, and not only make an immediate emotional difference, but a lifelong difference in all ways that manifest a child’s full potential.
“War is terror, violence and chaos,” Pasko says. “The only way for civilized people to respond to evil, especially for children who’ve lost parents, is with urgency, strength, love—and a plan.”
Children Of Heroes
The Children of Heroes Charity Fund launched February 24, 2022, formally incorporated, and began operations in April with a unique vision to provide urgent and childhood-long care for victims of war who’ve lost one or both parents.
The Fund was financed by Diligent Capital cofounders, and later by partners and donors inspired by this most humane and top-priority mission for Ukraine’s bravest heroes who’ve died on the battlefield or been murdered in cowardly and barbaric civilian attacks. The team generated significant initial success in Ukraine and is now urgently at work to find international donors to meet the increasing needs of Ukraine’s child survivors.
The Voice Of The Children
The keystone to this ambitious yet fundamental vision are Family Helpers—deeply qualified experts with years of trauma-informed training and experience to understand the children and meet both their critical and ongoing needs. Helpers are the voice of the children and the daily eyes and ears of Children of Heroes through:
- Constant communication with families broken by the war
- Psychological support to affected children and their guardians
- Emotional support
- Solving problems big and small
- Development of new programs
- Record of every contact with the child and family
“I joined the Fund’s mission to help future generations of Ukrainians to the fullest,” says Valeria Abdal, Co-Founder and Family Helper at the Children of Heroes Charity Fund, who takes care of 46 children from 21 families. “We’re an invincible nation of people who will always support each other. Ukraine will undoubtedly become a powerful country, one which we’ll all be proud of. I’m ready to do everything necessary to help realize our potential.”
Collaborative & Comprehensive Childhood Care
Children of Heroes is led by an independent board of directors who’ve developed strict criteria to allocate funds. The board has also identified other organizations with similar goals and existing infrastructure to assist in crisis relief operations. This collaborative effort will help more and more children by pooling resources and knowledge into dedicated programs for all the most vital areas:
- Family Helpers
- Education & Development
- Humanitarian Support
- Psychological Support & Socialization
- Medical Needs
- Emergency Needs
- Holiday Gifts & Celebrations
- Housing & Home Repair
- Other Support
First Impact Report — Of Many To Come
Children of Heroes has just released a 2022 Impact Report—the first of many for two decades to come. A few highlights include:
- 1,400 Children received emergency support
- 100% Families received immediate one-time financial support to cover most urgent needs
- 60% Families received humanitarian aid
- 97% Families say Children of Heroes has improved their lives
If war isn’t hell enough, Putin viciously targeted the Ukraine civilian energy infrastructure. Imagine being forced by air raid sirens to shelter with your young kids from missiles overhead and no heat in the dead of subzero winter. Right this minute, something so simple and basic to life as warm shelter and clothes are in dire need by far too many children who’ve already lost parents.
The Children of Heroes Warmth For Children Project directed donations to ensure:
- 151 Children and their families received firewood
- 1,800 Children received autumn and winter clothes, shoes and blankets
- 990 Children and their families received portable heaters for home
These numbers are not enough, only a start, and the Fund is at work tirelessly in wartime conditions to support thousands more children and their families and guardians. To appreciate this at a human level, you need to review the Impact Report and experience stories of individual Children of Heroes kids and their caregivers. You can always find new and stunningly impactful stories on our Children’s Stories page.
David Vs. Goliath — The Heroes’ Journey
Everyone loves David versus Goliath. Everyone loves an underdog. Ukraine was as big an underdog to Russia in 2022 as the United States was to England in 1776. Thanks to some legendary heroes—and to critical financial support from kind and enlightened countries overseas—the United States beat that occupying empire and began a cherished story of freedom and democracy.
In Ukraine, the children of heroes—now heroes themselves—seek that same game-changing support from modern day global patriots who know that history is watching us all now as our Ukrainian brothers and sisters find themselves at the bloody crossroads of their own decisive 1776 moment.
“Children of Heroes asks all Americans—each of you—for the life-giving heroism of donations and to spread the word about our children far and wide at this essential time in the history of Europe and democracy,” says Brice Espino, recently hired Children of Heroes American CEO. “As President Zelenskyy said before a joint session of Congress at Christmas—it’s not charity, it’s an investment.”
Please invest at any level in Freedom, Peace, Democracy — and the children of heroes.