Creating a large social project from scratch in an abandoned dying village is what pastor Sergei Raevsky managed to do, his to his wife Svitlana, BF "Sturomok" in Kyiv and their team in the village of Shcherbynivka, Cherkasy region. This is a project called "Second Breath". And I think it's not only about the religious beliefs of these people, but also about personal qualities and the desire to change this world for the better.
I (the author of the text, Albert Pavlov) first met Serhii in 2013. Then he took a considerable risk and did something that almost no one in Ukraine does - he took it from psychoneurological boarding schools (PNI) 15 people with mental disabilities. I note that Serhiy and Svitlana themselves have a family-type orphanage with 10 adopted children, as well as 3 biological adult children. Our Foundation "Happy Child" helped Serhiy's project a little in the construction of the first house, and in cooperation with the boarding schools of the Zaporizhzhia region.
This "experiment" was very difficult. Pupils of PNI first came for 2 months "on leave", and if everyone liked everything, then they stayed. Some of these people stayed to live in Shcherbynivka, one man even married a PNI pupil and now they are raising a child and putting their house in order.
This project gave someone the opportunity to start the life of an ordinary person already outside Shcherbinivka. One of the guys left for the USA and works as a babysitter, makes good money, shoots quite popular videos for Tiktok. Another guy lives in Switzerland. Someone lives and works in Zaporizhzhia and Cherkasy. But these people did not return to PNI and do not want to return. Unfortunately, one woman tragically died - she was hit by a car at a pedestrian crossing, but it was entirely the driver's fault.
Currently, construction is in full swing in Shcherbynivka - the former village club and cinema are being reconstructed, housing for displaced people is being expanded, a bakery and service station workshops, a carpentry shop and a sewing shop are being completed. Several temporary houses for summer camps are also being built. A new transformer was installed to handle the additional load from the bakery equipment.
It is very interesting that Serhiy uses his house, in which more than 12 family members and guests live, as an office, where someone constantly comes, asks something and solves various issues. This is an unusual and for most people impossible way of life that works here and gives results. People and charities see this energy and help the project.
And a little more about the style of development in Shcherbynivka. He is very pragmatic and economical. When Serhii and his team evacuated hundreds of people during the war, they had to be housed somewhere. Therefore, frame houses were built very quickly just in the open field. Several rooms were created in the country club. And this is an understandable tactic - when the issue of people's lives was being decided, there was not enough time or money to build something capital and expensive.
But now the situation has stabilized a little. In "Druho Dikhanni" they have already created a project of a capital house, with shelter and quite comfortable rooms for people with disabilities, graduates of PNI, and elderly immigrants. Several cubes of gas blocks have already been purchased and a plot has been selected. It's just a matter of financial resources.
Other plans of the project include the full launch of a bakery and confectionery shop, completion of the reconstruction of the former club's housing, insulation of buildings, installation of solar panels, landscaping of the territory. And also - the creation of a center for recreation and psychological support for war veterans.
I would like to add that although the project in Shcherbynivka is implemented by members of the Christian Church, assistance is provided to people of any worldview and religion. Also, this project will be happy to cooperate with any organizations that want to improve the lives of people who are on the "sidelines" of life.
Serhiy and his team not only build up the village, but also support the lives of dozens of people every month who need something to eat, wear, and heat their houses. This is quite a big burden and responsibility, so help is constantly needed in the form of food and hygiene products, clothes and shoes (of normal quality), furniture, building materials, and of course financial help as well.
I periodically visit Shcherbynivka, so I can transfer help from Kyiv or the suburbs. You can also help financially directly or through our Helpus fund.