Dear friends

We would like to express our gratitude to our sponsors, supporters, staff and volunteers, who make our work possible. It’s encouraging to see that thousands of children and hundreds of carers have increased ability and self-reliance. Due to everyone’s dependable contribution we are making a difference, thank you very much!

 Dear friends

Our Story

Having discovered the enormous need within all aspects of orphan care in Ukraine, in 1997 I organised our first humanitarian aid projects. Though I was familiar with the sad effects of severe poverty and corruption on the weakest sections of society from my time of working in India and Nepal, some of the severe lacks and inhumane practices I saw were heart breaking.

So in 1998 we founded Care in Action eV in Munich. We launched larger aid projects which eventually embraced thousands of orphans, vulnerable children and families at risk. We rebuilt critical facilities, such as orphanage roofs, bathrooms, kitchens, furnished bedrooms and classrooms. After executing additional projects in Montenegro and Albania my wife Janice and I turned our full attention to the needs in Ukraine. In addition to our aid projects we rallied support for changes in orphan care practice, especially for moving away from inhumane, large outdated institutions towards family based care.

At the same time a generational change was taking place. Some of the active, educated post-soviet youth also showed great concern for these social needs and wanted to put their interest into well-coordinated actions. Volunteers and employees got involved to help us deliver child development programs and support projects for orphans. In 2011 we set up a local sister organisation, ‘Turbota v Dii’, which is governed by its own Board of Trustees.

Seeing Dima become happy and confident makes us celebrate.


Developing our strategy and team

Many heart breaking experiences in traditional children’s homes confirmed our motto: 

“Children need more than food, a roof over their head and basic education, they also need family, love and positive integration into society.”

Because these were so often lacking we made attempts to drive change within the orphan system, organising conferences, round table discussions and international experience exchanges on “Family style care models”.

By 2015 we began programmes to support the efforts of foster families and Family Style Orphanages (foster families of 5 to 10 children) in Ukraine. This development called for adding professionals and staff, including several key volunteer leaders, such as Yaryna Ponizhay, Maria Putilina and Khrystia Katola, later on Olena Semchuk and others. More recently Oksana Kusyak and Iryna Shemetchko have made a valuable addition to our management. Together with our longest serving volunteers, expert consultants, our Ukrainian Board with leaders like Maria Budajeva, and my wife Janice, they all contribute considerably to our projects and have become a skilled and specialised force for good.

We also developed partnerships to address the needs of children in Malawi. We built up two community based organisations who meet the needs of AIDS orphans and vulnerable children, and later extended our existing sponsorship programme to give the poorest children the opportunity to stay in school.

Our team

Looking forward

There are many challenges yet to master though I do feel our efforts have matured and their reach extended considerably. We have developed a holistic approach that directly helps the individual child and supports their carers to improve their environment, and partner with others to make a greater, more sustainable difference. Our projects have an annual impact on thousands of children in care, on hundreds of carers, and are set to impact national standards as well.

Care in Action – Turbota v Dii has become a respected name in the field of professional care in Ukraine, helping to raise awareness of the issues faced by children in care and to disseminate best practice care methods and models. Our ‘Parenting in Action’ journal for professional parenting is used nationwide by many social services, experts and foster carers, with 4000 copies of the 3rd edition distributed. In addition, we are launching a training programme to spread expertise to every part of Ukraine with the best practice care model “Providing a Secure Base” by Prof. Gillian Schofield and Dr. Mary Beek of the University of East Anglia, and are working towards having it included in Ukrainian state care as part of the deinstitutionalisation process.

I see our impact on care leavers like Anna Pavlyna for example, who had great difficulty obtaining and retaining employment. After extensive assistance and mentoring she has now been employed for over two years and is able to manage her life. In Malawi, after two years of having her education supported, Thokozani Penda was able to pass her secondary school examination with merits and is selected to enter university. When I see care leavers like Hennadiy proudly joining our Ukraine staff, because they want to give back, want to help others like them, I feel it has been worth it all.

Thank you for your involvement and support.

Werner Lehnis

Founder, Managing Director

Contact us

Jasmine Lehnis-Leitao

Jasmine Lehnis-Leitao

Operations Director

[email protected]

Languages: English, German

Janice Lehnis

Janice Lehnis

Co-Founder, Project Manager

[email protected]

Languages: English, German, French

Iryna Shemechko

Iryna Shemechko

Programme Manager

[email protected]

Languages: Ukrainian, English

Give time

It's easy to do and we'll show you how! You can simply share our news or lend your skills and expertise. You can also challenge yourself with a fundraiser or introduce us to your school, church or workplace.