Since late February, Show Hope—our staff, supporters, and donors—has joined much of the world in fervent prayer over the war in Ukraine. We have watched in sorrow and horror as the lives of the innocent and vulnerable have been taken and threatened, and while the Ukrainian government and people have stood strong in unity, the impacts of the devastation have yet to be fully realized. However, there is much hope and help—and Show Hope is honored to play a small part in that.
According to UNICEF, “[As of March 29], over 4 million refugees had fled Ukraine, with women and children making up 90 percent of the refugee population; more than 2.5 million children are estimated to have been internally displaced.
“Such large-scale displacements could have lasting consequences for generations to come. Children fleeing war in Ukraine are also at heightened risk of human trafficking and exploitation. Meanwhile, attacks using explosive weapons continue to move closer to populated urban areas, increasingly striking children’s homes, schools, hospitals, water systems, power plants, and places where civilians are seeking shelter.”
In early March, Show Hope donated a financial gift—unanimously approved by our Founders, Mary Beth and Steven Curtis Chapman, and Board of Directors—to on-the-ground relief efforts in Ukraine. Through means that only our God could orchestrate, our friends and partners at the Karyn Purvis Institute of Child Development at TCU (KPICD) alerted us to these efforts, yet this unique connection can really be traced back to the summer of 2021.
Last year, the KPICD presented Show Hope with an opportunity to fund two virtual TBRI® (Trust-Based Relational Intervention®) Practitioner Trainings in Eastern Europe. From this endeavor, Show Hope scholarshipped 178 individuals through our TBRI Practitioner Training scholarship work. Of those individuals receiving a scholarship from Show Hope, 83 were from Ukraine or surrounding countries.
The TBRI training experience prepares professionals, such as therapists, caseworkers, and medical professionals, to work with and care holistically for children who have experienced early trauma and their families seeking to serve them well.
Fast forward to March this year when we learned that many vulnerable children evacuated from Ukraine since the war’s beginning found safe and secure placements with individuals and families directly impacted by last year’s Eastern European TBRI Practitioner Training.
“From my own experience, I can tell that TBRI is 100 percent transformational and life-changing! This approach to parenting and caregiving makes so much sense and works so well,” explains Raya Shelashska, a Ukrainian national, TBRI Practitioner, and recipient of a Show Hope scholarship in 2013. “First of all, it strengthens the foundation of relationships by promoting felt safety, connection, and significance. … That is especially important for children who have experienced relational trauma. Second, TBRI also promotes the healing journey for a caregiver, inviting them to look inward and see what they bring to the interaction and how their ‘baggage’ influences their ability to connect and be present and mindful.
“Ukraine is a developing country, and with me and my husband working in a nonprofit organization and having four kids, [the training] did not seem possible,” Shelashska continues. “When I learned that I could apply for a scholarship, that gave me hope that participation in TBRI training is possible. All the scholarship and care that was provided by Show Hope made me feel so loved and welcomed. … The work of Show Hope is transformative, life-changing, and long-lasting not only on the scale of life of one child or family but on the scale of communities and systems. The need is great, but there is hope.”
Today, as the war in Ukraine rages on, we continue to pray daily for children, families, men, women, the government, and its leaders there. We are truly humbled and astounded by the way God has allowed us to play a part in support efforts—both directly and indirectly—and we eagerly await more opportunities he may bring our way. Thank you for praying with us and for your tireless, generous support of Show Hope. This is not possible without you.