You know what three meals per day in South Sudan means? Anastasia Klimenko, a friend of my daughter’s is a missionary in Africa and shared with me the children in South Sudan receive a plate of gruel on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. If the child is lucky, on Sunday he or she will eat a few spoonfuls of beans and gravy. If not, they will get a plate of gruel next Monday.

When I heard this, I prayed – Lord, have mercy on the children of Southern Sudan. At that time I couldn’t even imagine that I would see such children in my native Ukraine one day.

This is the Semenushkin family from Pervomaysk. They lived on the fifth floor of an apartment on Makushkin Street. A shell struck their roof and smashed and burned everything in their apartment. Those were the hottest and most terrible days in Pervomaysk last August. The grandmother, Raisa, was escaping from the town on foot amidst the smoke and gun fire. She fled to friends in another city. Her daughter Anna chose to remain with her husband and three kids in Pervomaysk.

The winter in Pervomaysk was terrible. There was no light, no water, no heating. It was hardest on those who had no savings, money or food. Anna did her best to earn what she could, but times continued to prove difficult and her marriage seemed to be crumbling around her as well.


Anna and her children finally joined her mother in the beginning of March. She just said: “We divorced.” So, the grandmother, mother and three kids are living in a rented apartment not far from the front line. Raisa gets neither pension nor job. Anna is working as a street cleaner and receives about $10 a week.

Have you tried to live for $10 a week and feed 5 people in your family? If yes, then you understand what I’m talking about. It means to have a plate of porridge without butter per day. This is not South Sudan yet, but some things are starting to resemble it.

The pictures of concentration camps came to my mind when I saw Raisa and Anna.   It sounds extreme I know. They are not just thin … They are actually exhausted. Their faces are transparent and pale and their arms and legs look like matches. Their kids look better. It is obvious that Nikita, Denis and Aleksandr get almost everything they find in the pan with water and a handful of cereal.  They also do their best not to miss the days when the trucks from CBN-Emmanuel come to Zolotoye. It is possible to take two loaves of bread per person there.

I did not ask what they need. It was all too obvious. They had no clothes, no shoes, no bed linen, blankets or pillows. The children would like to go into the streets and play with other children but they need at least some rubber slippers, T-shirts and shorts.

The owner of the apartment doesn’t demand money from the Semenushkin family. He just asks them to pay for electricity and gas heating. But what money are they supposed to pay? And where should they go if he tells them to move out?

CBN-Emmanuel continues to offer support to families like the Semenushkins, who are living in southeast Ukraine.

To transfer financial support, enter here

Or inform us about your desire to become a partner by calling us at 0800-50-77-50.

Gennady Novikov, press-center of “CBN-Emmanuil”