The Programs

The Mennonite Family Centre has evolved and become established over time with three primary programs.They are directed by a local Program Coordinator. Since most clients struggle with poverty, the Centre provides all services at no charge. Clients typically are referred by churches or by word of mouth and are assessed as to needs. There is never a question about background or church affiliation.

The Home Care Program
This is the largest of the three programs, with currently approximately 135 clients annually. (Because the programs are directed at those in particular need, our experience is that about 15% of the Home Care clients pass away every year.)

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Home Care is the main program for the Mennonite Family Centre. This care provider provides daily care for a bed ridden client.
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Services provided varies depending on needs. However, the common needs relate to poverty, loneliness and illness. Most clients are widows, many of whom were in their teens during WW2, and who were affected by the many displacements and abuses of that era, and have lived lives of hardship.

Others have a good education and have had careers as teachers or professionals, but when health issues and careers disappeared, poverty resulted and family members, if there were any, left for better opportunities.

Since the average life span of a man is about 58 years, and much lower than for women, many spouses have passed away, leaving poverty, loneliness, helplessness and depression. However, it is remarkable how many then turned to their faith to sustain them and which offered hope for the future.

Services provided include comfort care, wound dressing if required, and help with food preparation, house or apartment cleaning, personal hygiene, and mobility. And when a client passes away, the health care provider also helps with funeral arrangements, preparation of the body, etc.

Many clients live in apartments all over the city. Care providers are assigned certain numbers of clients and use local transportation to travel within the city. The care providers are women with a range of backgrounds in terms of careers and skills and are women of faith, coming from Baptist, Pentecostal, and Mennonite or Orthodox congregations.

The Respite Program
The Respite program is located within the Centre and consists of 6 beds and is run by the local Pentecostal congregation with assistance from the Mennonite Family Centre.

The space is provided at no charge, along with utilities and maintenance by the Centre along with some assistance with salary costs related to this program. Other operating costs and personnel are looked after by the Pentecostal congregation.

Many clients can no longer stay by themselves, or have apartments or homes that are inadequate. Some clients stay truly for respite until they return to health, (often a month or two) while others stay for longer periods of time because they have no other place to go. The care provided is comfort care based on having nutritious food, warmth, a good bed to sleep in, social interaction with others, and having a care provider on hand.

The Day Program
The Day Program is for people who can come to the Centre one day a week. Most seniors use only public transportation if they leave their apartments or homes, but for many this is too difficult. So, arrangements are made for someone from the Centre to pick them up with our own van. Up to 8 persons are picked up every day.

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The Day Program at the Mennonite Family Centre is very important for clients still able to attend one day a week. The day begins with a light breakfast.
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  Special events are celebrated with the Day Program clients. This is a Christmas lunch celebration.
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There are some clients that attend more than one day a week, and others attend just one day each week so more can participate. They typically arrive about 8:30, have tea and a small breakfast, and then spend the time singing, having bible study, socializing, getting their hair washed or having a bath. A nutritious lunch is served at 12:00.

Since many clients have very limited resources, many will eat just a portion of the lunch, and take the rest home with them for another meal. At 3:30 they are returned to their homes.

For many this is such a highlight of their week. This is the only "church" they are able to attend, and for many, the only social outlet that lets them talk and visit with others in similar situations.

Arrangements are made to make this as meaningful a time for the clients as possible, with Bible Study leadership shared between different Pastors of various congregations however possible. There is also an arrangement to have students of the Technical University of Zaporizhzhya come and interact with the clients as part of their practicum program.

Capacity Building

There are several other local initiatives and programs the Centre is supporting.

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The small clinic in Morosovka is located within a church building, (which was a former Mennonite school) renovated after many years of neglect. It is now again a strong positive influence in this village.
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Clinic in Morosovka (formerly the village of Hochfeld)
This is a very poor village about a 45 minute drive north of Zaporizhzhya. The former Mennonite school was purchased in very poor condition, and renovated for use as a church to start a new congregation in the village.

Very early on, the need for a small clinic was identified, and the Centre was asked to help. As a response, one room was designated as a clinic.

The Mennonite Family Centre was able to supply some basic equipment and appoint a "Feltscher" or local Nurse Practitioner to open the clinic one day per week to provide basic health care for the village. She lives in a neighboring village and since she also works in emergency care in a Zaporizhzhya hospital, she is often able to refer clients to a hospital if that is required.


Support for long term Senior's Care in Katusovka (formerly Petershagen)
The former Mennonite church in Katusovka was restored from its use as a barn and storage building for many years, and brought back to its original purpose in the year 2000. A new congregation was established.

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This former Mennonite Church in what was then Petershagen, is again a Mennonite Church and also houses the Katusovka seniors home for nine widows. The Mennonite Family Centre assists then financially.
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  The picture of three persons are the leadership team for the Katusovka seniors care program.
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As part of the outreach program, a visitation program for seniors was organized by the congregation followed by the recognition that many seniors did not have adequate (or any) care as they got older, and a place was needed for their care. Eventually the Pastor's apartment that had been built into the church building was converted for use as a care facility.

There are currently 9 widows staying here, with care being provided by some members of this congregation and young people recruited in the area. Leadership is provided by a volunteer worker coming from Germany. The Mennonite Family Centre is able to provide some financial support for this initiative to offset the food and other costs of operating this program.

Support for Children with Special Needs

The Mennonite Family Centre supports two programs working with children with special needs.

The Kangaroo Program of the Florence Centre
The Florence Centre came into being in 2005 through the initiative of Otto and Florence Driedger, who spent a career as professors of Social Services and Restorative Justice at the University of Regina, and the initiative of Professors of Social Work of the National University of Zaporizhzhya.
This is a non-governmental agency which is significant in Ukrainian society.

One of the programs of the Florence Centre is the Kangaroo Program, which is a small day care program for children with special needs. The Centre is run on a small budget with just a few professional staff, plus many volunteers, many of whom are students from the faculty of Social Work. Many become acquainted with the Centre in their Practicum studies, and stay on to volunteer.

The Mennonite Family Centre participates in this work by providing funds for the rental of an apartment which houses the "Kangaroo" program.

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Promithius is a program for children with special needs. This is run by a Parent Council and a staff made up of Proffessionals and volunteers. The Family Centre assists with funds to rent an apartment that houses the program.
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This is the name of a Parent Association which sprang out of the work of the Florence Centre. Although it may have started as a Day Care Centre for children with special needs, it has become a learning centre for children with special needs, run as a non-governmental agency.

Having begun in 2011, they now have two locations. They began accepting children up to 6 years of age and had up to 28 children in the first rented apartment. A second apartment is being rented for children older than 6 years.

For the most part, these are children not accepted in the public schools because of their special needs, and children not accepted in society. Mothers are often confined to their homes to provide care in isolation. This also means they cannot provide for the family through holding a job.

Through the professional help they receive by these very dedicated workers at "Promethius" (many of whom are also volunteers), the children progress and develop social, communication and living skills. Many who have been non-verbal begin to interact with others. The hope is many will eventually be accepted for integration in the public schools.

The Mennonite Family Centre is pleased to support this local initiative by providing funds to rent space for the program.