Sergey Kostin is a geologist by training. Shortly after the collapse of the Soviet Union, he committed himself to assisting the most disadvantaged people of Ukraine. To garner support for his projects, Sergii set up a series of small workshops to teach carpentry, sewing and icon painting. As a result of this work he has rescued many of the exponentially growing numbers of homeless people, prostitutes, street children, and drug addicts that roamed the Odessa streets. Sergii began the Way Home by first offering a series of workshops, seeking to build the skill base of those who had fallen on hard times. Sergii was nominated European Hero of the Year by TIME magazine in 2003, and was a Chrystal of Hope awardee in Vienna’s Life Ball in 2010.
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- Way Home
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- Hybrid Social Enterprise
- Mental Health
- Areas of Impact
- Eurasia, Ukraine
The Way Home is a Ukrainian organization catering to Odessa’s homeless population, particularly street children. It focuses on preventing children from ending up in the streets, and helps rehabilitate those already there. The Way Home provides a wide array of services, applying innovative outreach strategies to reintegrate individuals into the wider community. Since its inception, The Way Home has helped thousands of people across Ukraine.
The organization ensures that the basic needs of its clients are met, such as possession of official documents, adequate housing, opportunities for training and employment, and management of personal life issues. The Way Home has set up transition homes for those individuals involved in its vocational training workshops, and its clothing production workshops have established a market brand already generating revenue. The Children’s Centre provides a safety net for approximately 600 street children, most of whom come regularly for food and counselling. The AIDS Prevention Centre addresses the risk posed by intravenous drug use and prostitution, through its needle exchange programme and street outreach activities for sex workers.
Because of the frequent political and legal roadblocks set up by government authorities, The Way Home has turned to the media to educate an apathetic public about the growing problem and alert the general population that they too, could one day find themselves victims of job loss or even homelessness.