Ukraine in a State of Hidden Hunger


In Ukraine, poverty is a pervasive and seemingly inescapable reality for many families. According to the United Nations, 80 percent of Ukrainians live below the national poverty line. The official minimum wage of a Ukrainian worker is about $50 dollars per month, which translates into about $1.50 dollars per day. This “living wage” includes food, public transportation, personal care, utilities, and clothing, but does not cover education or healthcare costs. The simple expenses of daily living are crippling and have left one in three families with children living in poverty.

Danger to Social Security

The effects of the conflict in eastern Ukraine continue to reverberate throughout the country: the death rate of our men has increased, which negatively impacts families and their well being; it has also decreased birth rates, and has caused the public to lose faith in any kind of lasting reformation.

Moreover, the economic crisis in Ukraine has left most families unable to provide for themselves. In the midst of increasing poverty for both the employed and unemployed, a sense of hopelessness has fallen over the country. Crime rates have escalated. Abuse within the family has become more common.

Such a lack of household resources has lead to widespread malnutrition, especially in children. Without access to sufficient protein, physical and neurological development becomes stunted.

A local nutritionist explained, “Our population is in a state of hidden hunger. Because of it we may lose our children and teen generation. Such bad nutrition may lead to permanent health damage. Lack of balanced nourishment at the ages of fourteen to sixteen cannot be compensated for by a good diet in the future.”

Impact on MTU Clients

As a result of the economic uncertainty and the conflict in the east, women are increasingly more likely to seek an abortion. Many of these women have husbands or significant others who are refugees or ATO (Anti-Terrorist Operation) soldiers. These women, hardened by a life of adversity, tend to be unapproachable and uncooperative with our counselors.

Families of children with disabilities tend to find themselves in deep poverty, unable to provide for their basic needs, which includes food and clothing. They are forced to go without nutritious food, and they wear threadbare clothes. Many stay indoors in order to save on transportation costs. Diapers, of all things, have become an unattainable luxury. Access to rehabilitation services or special education is simply out of mind for most families with disabled children. Yet despite these hardships, MTU is helping to bring hope through practical help to these families.

Andrey’s Story

Five-year-old Andrey was born with neurological trauma, which has left him needing constant care. His mother Oksana, who also suffers from a disability, is single and cannot work to cover even the most basic needs of her family. We asked her how she manages to survive and this is what she shared:

“With the help of the government subsidy for the people with disabilities, about $100 a month, we are able to cover the costs of our utility bills, housing, and transportation. Without the help of MTU, we would also be faced with medical bills, which would take nearly half of our monthly allowance. Not only that, but clothes have been generously donated to us by MTU and we have not had to include this in our expenses for several years. Thanks to MTU’s Handfuls of Purpose food package and free special education, we are doing much better than we were before.

How MTU Cares About Clients in Times of Crisis

Our ministry continues to serve the growing number of poor and marginalized people with the love of Christ through tangible help. We want to thank all of our friends and supporters for empowering our ministry to bring God’s Kingdom to earth. Thanks to your care, those who are sick receive healing; the unborn, life; the hungry, food; and the hopeless, new hope in Jesus Christ.