Saturday, January 30, 2016

Getting Ahead of the Curve: Let's Make Ukrainian Orphans A Priority in Senate Aid Package

I have learned that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is working on an aid package for Ukraine. I went looking for some information about it on the committee's website and found nothing. Nonetheless, I trust my sources and see this as an opportunity for us to get ahead of the curve. I am sure that Ukraine could use aid for many things. But there's one thing I know from my friend, Eric Rosenthal, Executive Director of Disability Rights International ( There are 200,000 orphans in the Ukraine. They are not in communities. They are not in foster homes. They are in institutions and sometimes these institutions are in unsafe areas. Guess what can happen to these children when they reach 18? They can become trafficking victims, and if they are disabled, they can be placed in another institution for adults. A horrible future for these kids, wouldn't you say?

Believe it or not, the hits on this blog are reaching 20,000. Amazing. Equally amazing is the fact that I have some viewers from Ukraine and Russia, approximating 30 hits a week. My friend Eric and his colleagues have developed a proposal, recommending $19 million in aid to help Ukraine prepare for and integrate orphans, especially those with disabilities, into safe communities. Just think what that would mean to and for those dear, young people.

I am very optimistic about the chances of the proposal making it into the Senate Ukraine aid package. Both Republicans and Democrats endorse U.S. aid for Ukraine, so the proposal should receive bipartisan support. But, members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, especially Senator Corker (TN, 202.224.4651, corker@senate. gov), the Chairman, and Senator Cardin (MD, 202.224.4524,, the ranking Democrat on the committee, need  to hear from us about our support for the proposal.

If the text of the proposal makes it into the aid package, then it will be a slam dunk at the committee mark up. Please weigh in and let committee members know of your support. Here's a list of other committee members. If you are from one of their states be assured they will consider your recommendation. And, if many of us contact these Senators, they will heed our advice.

Risch (Idaho)
Rubio (FL)
Johnson (WI)
Flake (AZ)
Gardner (CO)
Perdue (GA)
Isakson (GA)
Paul (KY)
Barrasso (WY)

Boxer (CA)
Menendez (NJ)
Shaheen (NH)
Coons (DE)
Udall (NM)
Murphy (CN)
Kaine (VA)
Markey (MA)

Opportunities like this do not come along every day. Think about the children, then act.

Thank you.
Common Grounder