Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Slovakia has fallen
on hard times. Crime, prostitution, drug
abuse and poverty have increased. One
demographic that is particularly suffering from these social problems is the
large number of orphans in Slovakia. Sadly,
for most of them, the future is very bleak.
The needs far outweigh the resources that are available in under-funded state-run
orphanages. Once the orphans reach the legal age of 18, they can no longer stay
at the orphanage, and they are forced to leave.
They are basically thrown out into society and they fail; they end up homeless. They don’t have social development skills,
trade skills, or any of the things they need to allow them to succeed. They are targeted by human traffickers and
drug dealers. Without intervention, they
are inevitably caught in prostitution, drugs and/or crime.
When we became aware of the magnitude of
the problem, we knew they had to do something. Our research showed that 400 orphans per
year age out of the orphanages in Slovakia and need somewhere to go. There are a few transition homes for boys,
but practically none for girls, who are the most vulnerable.
Through a series of miracles, we have been able
to start the New Horizons Center for Disadvantaged Youth in Slovakia. The large home is accepting girls who have
nowhere to go and providing them with trauma counseling, job search
assistance, spiritual formation and social support. They can learn skills linked to vegetable
gardening and larger scale farming, as well as growing and selling fruit trees
and ornamental plants. The program is
designed to prepare them to be able to develop careers, sustainable futures and
social integration when they enter society on their own. The goal is to develop strong, well-adjusted
spiritual leaders who will be able to reach out to others and spread the Gospel
During the past year, several important repairs were
completed on the Center. The roof was
repaired and painted; new windows and doors were installed and the exterior
walls were insulated and stuccoed. These
repairs will help the home to be more comfortable during the long Slovakian
winters and decrease the high cost of heating.
The hope is to establish a warm environment both physically and
emotionally while providing opportunities for the young people as they navigate
this difficult transition to life on their own. The New Horizons Center seeks
to create a bridge between a child’s time in the orphanage and their future
success in society.
Thank you for praying for us and for the New Horizons Center. Please give generously so that orphans
in Slovakia can embrace their future with hope and confidence.