For the first time the world known documentary makers had got to know about the social work that has been carried out in Mariupol by pastor Gennadiy Mokhnenko and his team in the charity fund “Pilgrim” in 2012. Purposeful work with street kids, drug addiction and injustice in the lives of many people made a great impression on them. According to the director Steve Hoover his team and himself realized that it is necessary for the whole world to get to know about this work.
The bike trip “Russia without orphans” whose purpose is to propagate the family forms of upbringing children is being passing through the territory of Krasnoyarsk area being supported by the regional department of the party “United Russia”.
The adoptive family – The Kovalenko – “children need family more than anything and no difficulties can compare with their eyes shining with joy and happiness!”
In 2008 Andrei and Larisa Kovalenko made a decision to adopt a child since they didn’t have their own kids. Presently, in 5 years after that, they are the large family where the parents raise 4 kids. They are not going to stop on this. They are convinced in heart that their family can be even larger.
Today Kansk was visited by the participants of the international bike trip “Russia and the world without orphans”. This action is unique because among 40 participants there are kids who used to be street kids and now they are adopted, and their adoptive parents ride the bikes alongside with their children. They have ridden 5000 miles by this time and they have the city of Baikalsk ahead of them! Their main purpose is to tell the entire world that it is not that difficult and scary to adopt a child.
Mariupol former street kids from the center of children’s rehabilitation “Republic Pilgrim” performed another feat: within 48 days they rode 3100 miles of Siberian roads taking along their dream and the call to not be scared of adoption but to adopt to go to orphanages and take kids from their into the families
My sons, I have written this letter to you, but I had no time to give it to you. But I know you are “Googles” so you will be able to find it and read it online….
Today, when everything is over for almost a year till next summer, when there are 6200 miles behind us, we rode this distance together on bikes along Ukraine and Russia, the Urals and Siberia, and now when I am sitting by the bank of the Baikal Lake and you are making yourselves comfortable in your sleeping bags.. I would like to tell you something important.
Within 2 years of the worldwide bike action “Russia and the world without orphans” its participants rode a distance of 2 grand-tours. It’s 5000 miles through Ukraine and Russia. There are no professional bikers among them. There are adult men, teenagers and even younger boys who barely started reaching the pedals. But within each day they ride about the distance of tour de France – 62 miles, 93 miles, 127 miles per day. And more than that – within the nearest 5 years the bikers are planning to ride around the Globe and to come back to their native Mariupol. And in winter times they plan to “run” up to the mountain top of Jomolungma, to ride through Africa… The purpose of each of such trip according to the main initiator of the action, Gennadiy Mokhnenko< - is to motivate people around the world to adoption, orphans need families.
The worldwide bike trip “Russia and the world without orphans” has reached Tyumen. Over 30 bikers, most of them are former street kids, former drug addicts and street robbers; they came to this regional city and shared their marvelous stories of change in life and their credo.
The partakers of the action “Russia and the world without orphans” have arrived in Krasnoyarsk. – They are the adoptive fathers from Ukraine with many of their adopted kids – altogether 35 of them – bikers of different ages. They have 5000 miles behind their shoulders – along Ukraine and Central Russia. This summer they are carrying out their third Russian and fourth stage of the bike action around the world – it takes place in Siberian region this time – from Yekaterinburg till the Baikal.
On bikes around the world: the participants of the bike action «Ukraine without orphans» have arrived in the city of Rivne.
On bikes they ride to Europe. During the next 2 months the children will overcome 300 miles. A small group of enthusiastic young men who used to be orphans in the past travel around the world and call upon all people to fight against orphanhood. Today within the bike tour the cyclists reached Rivne.
The team of the cyclists consists of the kids from adoptive and foster families, from adoptive and foster parents and the graduates of orphanages.At the press conference the initiator of the bike tour and the founder of the charity fund “Pilgrim”, the adoptive father of 32 kids, and currently the chaplain of the Ukrainian army, Gennadiy Mokhnenko informed that this stage of the bike action will go through 10 countries and will last about 2 months.
For the staff and for the children of the “Republic Pilgrim” the graduation is a special experience and an important stage in the rehabilitation of difficult teens. When looking at smart suits and beautiful dresses, nice hairstyles and solemn look of the guys the teachers wonder – it is hard to believe that they cope to finish school. Many of them never used to study some of them dropped the school due to their amoral conduct and also because they missed lessons or didn’t do well or even were a step from getting to jail.
Steve Hoover: “Almost Holy” is a film about the activist who does whatever is possible in the collapsed system
“Almost Holy” or “ Crocodile Gennadiy” is a film about the Mariupol priest Gennadiy Mokhnenko who saves homeless children giving them a place to stay and a chance to start their life afresh.
A good example of how a charismatic figure doesn’t automatically generate a deep or compelling documentary, “Almost Holy” follows the efforts of Gennadiy Mokhnenko, a pastor in Ukraine. He snatches homeless children off the streets — many are addicts — and takes them to Pilgrim Republic, the rehabilitation center he founded in the city of Mariupol.