Odessa Charity Foundation “Way Home” began its work in 1996. For first time organization’s work was focused on problems of homelessness and drug addiction among adults. Gradually foundation activity were expanded – at the beginning of it’s’ work appeared the Prevention Department of HIV infection, and a little later began to work Children’s Department.
At the actual moment Children’s Department has a leading position among activities of OCF “Way Home” and includes a complex of works concerning rehabilitation and social adaptation for street children, children and adolescents from crisis and low-income families, and more recently with children of IDP families from war zones in East of Ukraine. Children and adolescents in all centers of “Way Home”, depending on their needs, get assistance of psychologists, social workers, art therapists, teachers, lawyers and other specialists. On base of social hostel that is located in “Large Family” shelter, children from crisis and low-income families and internally displaced families with are provided with temporary accommodation and meals. In same time, children are admitted to schools and preschool children are selected into various centers of child’s development and creativity, such as “Smile”, “Sunrise” and “Sprout.” Leisure time of children of “Way Home” is highly charged large various of optional lessons, sport sections and divided into groups of interests: dance classes and drama school, football section, children’s jewelry workshop, sewing classes, repair and carpentry workshop, pottery studio, art therapy classes, school of journalism, English language courses, additional classes in humanities and exact sciences, and so on. In all optional classes and sport sections can take part not only kids “Way Home” Foundation, but also their guests – doors of “Way Home” are always open for everybody.
Team of “Way Home” Foundation never stops on achieved results, and is always looking for new challenges, helping those who are in need to find their “ own way home”.
Department of HIV / AIDS among drug users.
In 1999 “Way Home” formed Department of “HIV / AIDS” that made the beginning of development and implementation of first preventative HIV program in Ukraine among injecting drug users, based on principals of harm reduction strategies. Gradually the scope of Department’s activities were expanded – new directions were added in work, such as prevention of viral hepatitis B and C, tuberculosis prevention, working with inmates in prisons, organized outreach work, social support, legal assistance. For injecting drug users were opened Community Centre, stationary and mobile NSPs (needle exchange points) started to work, mobile clinic begun its visits to drug users points, where express testing for HIV are realized, as same as for hepatitis and tuberculosis, all this allow to make medical check-ups in outdoor environments, in addition to it, Ukrainian delivery of social periodicals were spread along the city. Over time, work of “HIV / AIDS” Department of “Way Home” set up their work not only in the city but also out of Odessa. Various branches were opened in regional center of Odessa oblast, such as – Ilyichevsk, Izmail and Belgorod-Dniester. Also Department specialists work in remote settlements of region, where drug use is on a high level, social and health services are very poor. Since 1999 and until now, “HIV / AIDS” Department were reach service coverage to more than 13,500 of injecting drug users and their partners, providing an access to more than 30 types of services, affecting the change of risk behavior.
OCF “Way Home” for many years is a leader of labour market of social services of Odessa and oblast’. Foundation collaborates with public institutions and with many of leading non-governmental organizations. Foundation specialists regularly take part in official meetings of various committees and initiative groups on different levels of governance. Annually “Way Home” admits a lot of students from various faculties referring to social direction of Ukrainian and foreign universities to pass an internship; Foundation gets help for children from all over the world through volunteers that arrive. “Way Home” Foundation was nominee and rewarded as a winner of Ukrainian and international awards and honors for its active social work.