Lou. charity still trying to help orphans in troubled Ukraine


by Alex Schuman


Posted on July 17, 2014 at 11:16 PM

Updated Friday, Jul 18 at 6:33 AM

 LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11)— A leader at Hopeful Hearts Foundation talks with their staff in Ukraine once a week.  

Bob Drane and the foundation hope nothing causes the tensions between Russia and the U.S. to get worse.  They are afraid Russia could shut them out and they cannot continue to help these children caught in the middle.
“For 20 years we've traveled in and out of Ukraine,” Kathy Drane said, a co-found of the Hopeful Hearts Foundation.  
The Drane’s have worked for 12 years to provide assistance to orphans in the Crimea, the part of Ukraine recently annexed by Russia.
“We had a trip [planned] in June to go into the orphanages and spend time for a week, but can't get visas,” Bob Drane said. “They won't allow us to travel."
"We have friends, We have kids that remember us,” Kathy Drane said.  “We have kids that coming running with their arms open when we got off the bus.  And that's the part that hurts the most - is that we can't go.”
Their foundation offers transitional housing for 10 orphans, and regularly visits seven orphanages where the children live in old, rundown buildings, and often go without the food and medication they need.  Hopeful Hearts has been providing those needs for many years, but the change from Ukraine to Russia is not going well.
“In the orphanages we are getting reports that some days the children have food to eat - some days they won't,” Bob Drane said.
The children are now part of a different country, and a new orphanage system.  The Dranes have heard at least one of the seven orphanages will be shut down – the children scattered – and possibly sent to larger facilities.
“They’re all going to receive Russian passports,” said Bob Drane.  “I think life is gonna be pretty tough for those kids.”
The foundation is trying to send money, and wants to work with Russia so they can return again.
"I think the biggest concern for me is with the animosity between our two countries - between russia and the united states,” said Kathy.  “With the sanctions that are being placed on Russia - who knows when they'll ever let us in."
If you want more information on the Hopeful Hearts Foundation, here is a link to their website:  http://www.hopefulheartsfoundation.org