Herndon Teams with Ukrainian Club to Heat Orphanage

The Rotary Club of Herndon, along with the Rotary Club of Kirovograd, Ukraine, has taken the lead to support two projects at the Kirovograd Children’s Home. The Herndon Club has pledged to lead a fundraising campaign to purchase two boilers (project one) and to build a boiler house (project two) for the orphanage. The total cost of the two projects is approximately US$ 125,000.

Over 200 orphaned and orphan-disabled children live in the Kirovograd Children’s Home. Most of the children were abandoned immediately after birth and came to the orphanage as infants. For most of the orphans, it is the only home they will ever know, until they are moved to an institution for older children.

28o C below zero. Winters in Ukraine can be harsh. During the winter of 2003, for example, the temperature dropped to less than 28 degrees below zero Celsius (approximately 18.4 Fahrenheit degrees below zero). Snow and ice deeply piled up on streets and sidewalks in Kirovograd. Living conditions across Ukraine are harsh, and many of Kirovograd’s 270,000 citizens live in conditions that would be called slums in the United States. The economy of Ukraine cannot support the most basic health and human service needs of many of its poorest citizens.

In February 2003, Herndon Rotarian Scott Mills and his wife Kim visited the Kirovograd orphanage while they were arranging for the adoption of their son, Isaac. During their frequent visits, Scott and Kim noticed that the shelter did not seem to have a heating system. During their visits with Isaac, Scott and Kim huddled in their overcoats around a small electric space heater to keep warm. Children at the orphanage were dressed in five layers of heavy clothing beneath heavy overcoats. The absence of a boiler made the radiators in their rooms useless. Orphans at the Kirovograd Children’s Home suffer from frequent health problems that are exacerbated by the cold.

When Scott and Kim asked the orphanage Director which was the house’s most critical need he answered without hesitation: needed a boiler system and a boiler house.

Not only heat. In addition to providing heating to the children’s rooms, these two proposed World Community Service projects will significantly improve the living conditions of the children regarding their bathing and hygiene. The orphans at the Children’s Home are terrified to take baths, not because of a fear of water, but because they are frequently bathed in cold water due to the absence of a reliable heating source and an inadequate supply of hot water.

The Rotary Club of Herndon’s initial contribution of $3,000, along with a $10,000 anonymous donor pledge, is seed money towards these two projects, which fully exemplify Rotary President Bhichai Rattakul’s request that Rotary “Sow the Seeds of Love.” Currently, the clubs in Herndon and Kirovograd are in the process of completing the initial step of obtaining World Community Service database designation. The Rotary Club of Herndon invites clubs throughout District 7610 to “Lend a Hand” to ensure that another winter does not come before these projects are fully funded. Herndon encourages other District 7610 clubs to include these projects in their 2003-2004 budgets. For more information or to schedule a presentation to your club or board of directors please contact Scott Mills (703.871.5176—office or 703.742.8748—home), or send e-mail to YourHRLawyer@aol.com.


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