Credit: Coleman Bailey
Spalding man helps save Ukraine's most vulnerable victims — orphans
A man from metro Atlanta’s Spalding County said bombs have destroyed a Ukrainian orphanage from which he helped evacuate some of the war’s most vulnerable victims.
Coleman Bailey recently returned from the war-torn nation where he and others got 340 children living in nine orphanages across borders into Germany, Poland and Spain.
Bailey is the field director for Serving Orphans Worldwide.
He said that Ukraine’s orphaned children were in trauma before the war even began.
“The reason they went into that orphanage was because something traumatic happened in their life,” Bailey said. “It was unfortunate for us to see a lot of those negative effects of trauma be compounded by this war.”
The logistical effort that it took to get the children out of a war zone was immense.
Amidst a supply chain breakdown, they managed to drive kids, caregivers and more than 25 tons of supplies across the border.
But logistics was only the beginning of their challenges.
Three of the organization’s vehicles were hit by rockets.
“Our orphanage is in Mariupol,” Bailey said. “Our orphanage about two weeks ago was blown up.”
Bailey describes seeing warplanes flame out and crash right in front of him.
He made several dangerous trips into and out of Mariupol and other Ukrainian cities because of what he said was his belief in the equality of every human life.
“I think once you really understand that and come to grips with that, it allows you to go in there and try to make a difference in some of these people’s lives,” he said.
It also rewarded Bailey to see the children’s smiles and laughter as they simply lived out their childhood amidst the devastation.
“You see a lot of the beauty and resiliency of children,” he said. “Particularly in community.”
When one orphanage was relocated to Germany, Bailey rented a house in the Black Forest on a day when the snow happened to fall hard.
“They were throwing snowballs at each other, they were jumping in the snow,” he said. “That was just a really beautiful moment.”
Since returning to Atlanta, Bailey has spoken to several media outlets and continues working on orphan rescue missions.
His organization, Serving Orphans Worldwide, works across the globe.
Bailey previously worked on orphan rescue missions in the war-torn Democratic Republic of the Congo.