ORANGE BEACH, Ala. (WKRG) — With each step, a new look at life beyond an orphanage in the war-torn country of Ukraine. “They have more than 100 thousand orphans in Ukraine alone and it should not be,” says Roads of Hope founder Joe Savage.
Ten kids, ages 6 to 15, have spent the month traveling around the Gulf Coast. Tuesday, a dolphin cruise in back bays of Orange Beach courtesy of Captain Jeremy Perry and the crew of the Sunny Lady. “These kids, they’ve really never had a chance and us giving them that extra excitement and for them, this is something they will never forget.”
“The bad people target children who are orphaned because they have no parents looking out after them,” says Savage. “So, we try to become those parents for those kids, protect those kids, put them in our homes or find families for them to live with.”
The kids age-out of orphanages in Ukraine at the age of 16. Many end up on the streets, in the grips of human traffickers or worse, according to Savage. “Their suicide rate for orphans is 10 to 15 percent before their 18th birthday.”
They speak very little English and understand even less but they do understand kindness and hope. “Love overcomes all language barriers. I learned that a long time ago. Kids know when you really care for them or not,” says Savage, and for these kids, that could make all the difference in the world.
After the dolphin cruise, the kids enjoyed a day at The Wharf including the ferris wheel and lunch at Ginny Lane’s.