Why isn’t more being done for Ukraine’s street children?

“We see a staggering array of social problems arising directly from poverty, including but not limited to tens of thousands of children in orphanages or other state care; crime; disrespect for civil government because government cannot be felt or seen as civil for anyone left to suffer in poverty; young people prostituting themselves on the street; drug abuse to alleviate the aches and pains of the suffering that arises from poverty and misery; HIV/AIDS spreading like a plague amidst prostitution, unprotected sex, and drug abuse; more children being born into this mix and ending up in state care at further cost to the state; criminals coming from poverty backgrounds, ending up as bandits, returning to communities after prison, with few options except further criminal activity.”

Terry Hallman 2006

“The worst things in life come free to us
Cos we’re just under the upperhand”

This question is raised in the Guardian newspaper this week by writer Marcel Theroux who draws our attention to the plight of Ukraine’s street children and the HIV epidemic which infects at least one in ten of them.

I believe I can answer his question by first pointing out what was said 4 years ago, when colleague Terry Hallman drew attention to the “wilful blind eye” being turned by those in a position to do more – UNICEF and USAID.

He concluded:

There remain approximately 90,000 children in orphanages, 10,000 in the ‘gulags’.  Another 200,000 children live on the streets because state-care options have been less tolerable than street life.  Because street children are most visible and therefore obvious, other organizations notice them and are making at least token efforts to help them.  Nevertheless, the overall problems are systemic.  It is not enough to help these kids without dealing with the causes — primarily corruption and displacement of Ukraine’s cash and resources — that put children in such conditions to begin with.  This systemic recognition is at least beginning to be understood.  The ‘Marshall Plan’ details it, and provides comprehensive solutions with a financial net-cost to government over seven years of: zero.

That’s about as well as it can be done.  It will work, and it must be done if Ukraine wants to become a member of civilized nations.  US and Europe can and should help, but only after first conditions are met unilaterally by Ukraine — the sole condition on which I released the ‘Marshall Plan for Ukraine.’  Those conditions are simple: take care of your children, all of them, close the orphanages and gulags, open the truth of the matter, and never try to hide any of it again.  That is underway.  Ukraine’s government took the initiative.  It is now appropriate and necessary for the US and Europe to provide interim assistance, guidance, and models to bring the core metric — child care — to modern, civilized standards from the barbarism that has heretofore prevailed.  Even despite Kyiv’s ongoing political convulsions stemming from democratic development — the worst possible form of government except all the others that have been tried, as Churchill put it — Ukraine is now on track to become a member of the club of civilized nations of the world, realize its potential, grow up, and be adult rather than petulant hooligans fighting in a playground sandbox.

T. Hallman
Kharkiv, Ukraine
July 3, 2008

Later that year, the plan he describes  was placed in front of the European Union who also found reason to disregard the risk on its doorstep.

Who should we ask this question of at the EU?

Lord Mandelson perhaps – a  companion of the wealthy and EU trade commisioner of the day, or EU commissioner Michel Barnier, who says he wasn’t aware of this work.

On the other hand there’s the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, who  said that they “can at least assure you that the Ukraine desk at the FCO, and our Embassy in Kyiv, are now aware about the activities of your organisation.”

Maybe the Guardian itself,  who’ve put up great resistance to this story, until now.

Related articles:

Ukraine: Death Camps, For Children


Genesis:  A letter to USAID


USAID: Letter to Terry Hallman


A ‘Marshall Plan’ for Ukraine Part I


A ‘Marshall Plan’ for Ukraine  part II


Kyiv Post:  Orphanage children unprotected fron abuse, neglect


Petition to David Cameron


Maidan: Death of Terry Hallman


4 thoughts on “Why isn’t more being done for Ukraine’s street children?

  1. […] In recent weeks, writer Marcel Theroux delivered a TV documentary on Ukraine’s street children and the spread of HIV among them, as we had done to the EU in 2008. He asked why more isn’t being done. […]

  2. […] organisations and reduce dependency on grant funding.  In our case, providing funds to continue our efforts to help homeless children who bring an HIV epidemic to our […]

  3. jeffmowatt says:

    With nearly 54 billion dollars transported out of the country since 2010, it’s not suprising that so little can be done:


  4. jeffmowatt says:

    It should be noted that since publishing this article my submission for the 2008 EU Citizen’s Consultation has been removed from their website, They can’t delete web archives however:


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