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The Need

Why “For Survival”?
The breakup of the Soviet Union brought Ukraine needed independence but also economic catastrophe.

The nation's gross domestic product fell 60% from 1991-1998, compared to a 46% drop between 1929 and 1933 in the U.S. during the Depression.

The elderly were hit hard: massive inflation in the early 1990s wiped life out savings overnight, making the elderly dependent on the government - a government that had no money for old age pensions or health care.

Many resorted to begging in the streets of Kyiv and other cities.

Pensions have risen recently but the cost of living in Kyiv is rising faster. Ukraine’s capital was recently ranked as more expensive than Chicago or Los Angeles by a respected business survey.*

The minimum pension in Ukraine 2005 was the equivalent of $65 per month and is the only source of income for almost all elderly. From this meager amount the elderly must pay for food, rent, utilities, clothes, and medical care.

* Mercer cost of living surveys, available at www.mercerhr.com