The Village of Hope officially was founded in 2003 when the buildings located on a 16-plus acre camp in the town of Bucha, Ukraine were purchased. But the hope and need and vision for the Village of Hope had begun years earlier.
The city of Kiev, Ukraine is home to 4 million people, but several thousand of those residents are children between the ages of 3 and 16 who live on, in, or under the streets of the city. Recognizing the need to respond to this growing crisis with Christian compassion, the Ukrainian Baptists, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of NC, and Stichting Little John (the Netherlands), came together to establish the Village of Hope.
March 2000: Jim Smith wrote up a national CBF career job-description for urban/poverty/street-children work in Kiev.
September 2000: CBFNC delegation attended the Ukrainian Baptist Congress to explore partnership opportunities between CBFNC and the Baptist Union of Ukraine.
February 2001: Jim Fowler (CBFNC missions coordinator) & Jim Smith (CBF Global Missions) traveled to Kiev and met with Dr. Kommendant (Baptist Union of Ukraine President) and Victor Kulbich (Baptist Union of Ukraine Vice President). Dr. Kommendant, Victor Kulbich and Jim Fowler agreed upon three projects.
1. Send Chernobyl children to summer camp
2. Help purchase a Wood-Mizer machine
3. Purchase property for street children ministry
April 2002: A second CBFNC team traveled to Kiev to look at a possible ministry site. No property was selected by the UCCC. Jim Fowler applied to the CBF Global Missions office for missionaries to be appointed to Kiev. Gennady and Mina Podgaisky were appointed to the Urban Team assigned to Kiev at the June 2003 General Assembly.
June 2003: Purchase of seven buildings for $180,000 in the name of UCCC under the Baptist Union of Ukraine. CBFNC contributed $100,000. The Baptist Union of Ukraine, UCCC, Little John's Foundation of the Netherlands, and the Baptist Union of Germany shared the remaining cost for the property. CBFNC contributed an additional $27,500 for the renovation of the first building. That building was expected to house three foster home units. (note: all land is owned by the country of Ukraine)
September 2003: First volunteer work team from FBC Raleigh traveled to Kiev.
October 2003: The Board of Supervisors was formed.
December 2003: The Board of Supervisors held their first meeting. An Executive committee was named to oversee daily operations at Village of Hope.
Summer 2004: Fifteen volunteer teams served at the site.
2005: The first building was completed and named "Lighthouse".
2007: The first cottage was finished. FBC Newland has contributed $100,000 towards the second cottage named "Laurel House". Volunteer teams built the second cottage in the summer of 2008.
A Master Plan for the Village of Hope was adopted by its governing board in October 2004. That plan includes completion of the Lighthouse as the first priority, but envisions that the entire camp will include: watchtower and security building, fencing around the property, medical center, chapel, dormitories, food service building, and individual family cottages. Some of this construction will involve remodeling existing buildings, and others represent new construction.