Belarus has a special place in the heart of Drop Inn: it’s the first country outside of NI we worked into. In 1995, the area around Chernobyl was still reeling from the nuclear disaster that occurred in the eighties.
There was huge need and Ronnie Dawson and Les Brown decided to widen their ministry to an international charity – raising money through a charity shop in Richhill in order to support orphanages and hospitals in Belarus.
Over the years we’ve given a chance for kids from affected areas to come and visit Northern Ireland and, more recently opening up our Intern Programme to young people from countries including Belarus.
Our focus in Belarus, has always been humanitarian work. We partner with local churches who are making great in-roads into their community and making a hugely positive impact. One is Grace Church which has been working with young people in the capital city of Minsk.
We are privileged to support Project Life Line which provides feeding programmes and medical care.
Drug and alcohol abuse is a major problem in the country. We are helping dealing with this head-on by funding three rehab facilities across the nation.
Supporting the local church
In Belarus, the church is spearheading a number of relief programmes; giving new hope to people of all ages, with focus on young people and the vulnerable elderly. We love to support this and we are helping to fund an evangelist, Sunday school coordinators in six regions around the country, and a pastors’ support programme: all of which are adding huge value to their communities and the people they come in contact with.
Since 1995 we have been sending shoeboxes of gifts out to orphans and underprivileged children every Christmas. An act which has unified schools and communities in Northern Ireland, and further afield, in doing something truly meaningful.
Not only do we intend to keep this going for the foreseeable future, we are thrilled to partner with Team Hope to make an even greater impact through this simple act.