Saturday, October 18, 2014

Project Bertine House

Magne & Olga Gulbrandsen and their kids
We announced it a few weeks ago: runners in action for Bertine House in Poltava, Ukraine. We are currently raising funds to help women and children who had to flee Donetsk.

Bertine House was founded in 2008 by Magne and Olga Gulbrandsen. A beautiful home in Donetsk where women and children can live in safety. The women often have a background of addiction, prostitution and/or abuse and at Bertine House they finally get a chance to start a new life.

Magne was born in Norway. When he was 9 he began stealing and at 14 he started smoking hashish, using amphetamines, ecstasy and later heroin. As a result of this life he spent seven years in prison. Finally he went to a christian rehabilitation center, the beginning of a totally new life! Later he graduated from Bible school.

Women and children of Bertine House
He married Olga and together they now have four children. One day they were visiting a women's prison in the Ukraine when God spoke to Magne: "help these women so they can be reconciled with their children..."And that's how the idea for Bertine House started.

Recently the women and children who used to live in the home in Donetsk had to flee the area because of the war going on there (see previous blog post). They had to leave everything behind and found temporary shelter in a house in Poltava (halfway between Donetsk and Kiev), with poor sanitary conditions (toilet outside). With the winter right around the corner, they had to look for a better place to live.

Let the children come to me... 
So, now they are renting a flat where they have at least a shower and bathroom inside! But in the meantime they keep looking for a large house (to buy or rent) that can be transformed into a women's and children home again. They have their eyes on one... which costs 120.000 dollar... (with the possibility that the owner wants to go down in price).

On October 26 the marathon of Etten-Leur will be held. Four runners have offered to run their miles for Bertine House. Thomas van Dartel (5 km), Erik Slobben (21 km), André van Slooten (21 km) en Jan Verschoor (21 km) will run to help these women and children find a good and safe home!

You can sponsor them by giving a donation per kilometer and/or per person or by donating a certain amount for finishing the race or by giving a general amount. Everything helps!

ALL donations are welcome. Send your gifts to St. Traveling Light, Papendrecht, IBAN: NL91RABO0118582275 BIC: RABONL2U. Make sure to mention: BERTINE.