The cold of winter has melted into the heat of summer, and that allowed us to finally expand our agriculture program. 79 families that arrived in the fall and winter from Kherson and Bakhmut were delighted to be included. All families received 300 vegetable seedlings, and the 38 most vulnerable families also received birds for eggs and goats for milk.

We were stretched, however, when the dam on the Dnipro was destroyed on June 6 and Kherson was flooded. Even though the waters have now receded, their houses and food stores were washed away and their agricultural land destroyed. Livestock drowned and the rotting bodies spread disease and contaminated water supplies. As a result, we had a big influx of new refugee families from Kherson which we incorporated as quickly as we could arrange housing – 74 new families in total have been added since the destruction of the dam.

Crops for the new families needed to be planted right away, but they were in such shock when they first arrived that our more established refugees came to their rescue and planted land for them. Alessia said, “Our local refugees want to plant for those newly arriving from the Kherson area because they have just lost everything and they are traumatized. We don’t want to burden them with work at the moment. We can work for them while they are struggling.” As has been the norm since the beginning of this war, Ukrainians are taking care of each other in such beautiful ways.

16 of the new arrivals have entered our school, and there are two dozen more who want to join, but we don’t have sufficient equipment and teachers to include them at this point. Of the 70 students in the school, 8 graduated this year and their exam results have been great. Last year 11 children graduated from the local school, and two had scores high enough to receive free tuition to university studies. Of the 8 graduating students in our school, we have already learned that 4 have earned free tuition, and we are waiting to hear about the others. This is an exciting result!

In addition to the need to expand the school to accommodate 24 more children, we are also in need of another well. Our current well doesn’t meet the needs of our 270 families, so it is a strain. Those two items will be our focus in the coming months.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]