Christian sex ed program in the making for Ukraine


Eastern Europe


Ukrainian refugee speech therapist with a 6-year-old Ukrainian refugee with sensory-motor alalia (a speech disorder). Photo AFP, Attila Kisbenedek

How can you provide sexual education to people with a disability? Dutch organisations take up the challenge in Ukraine. “Especially in times of war, these materials are needed.”

Several Dutch Christian organisations are working on a project about sex and relationships education for people with intellectual disabilities in Ukraine. In recent months, the first steps have been taken for the translation and contextualisation of the full program of "Wonderfully Made Special" in Ukraine, the organisations write in a press release. The program is an initiative of the organisations Kom over en Help (Come over and Help), Perspectiva 21-03, and Driestar Christian University for Teacher Training. It provides practical tools for relationships and sex education for people with intellectual disabilities.

The "Wonderfully Made" program is a Dutch initiative for sexual education based on Christian norms and values. It propagates, for example, that people have dignity because they are created by God.

Perspectiva plays a leading role in the project, the press release states. The program is sponsored by the organisation Kom over en help and was developed by Driestar Christian University for Teacher Education, which also provides the training.


Through its mission, Perspectiva aims to support people with intellectual disabilities to have meaningful daytime activities. It provides facilities for a dignified life for people with Down syndrome, autism and learning disabilities. The president of the organisation, Dima Indylo, says "besides teaching important practical skills for everyday life and possible employment, we want to help young people with intellectual disabilities to develop their self-esteem and healthy friendships in a positive way. This will help them build meaningful relationships with other people and lead full lives."

Gerben Heldoorn, director of Kom over en Help, points out that the organisation started to notice a need for material for young people with disabilities. Kom over en Help is willing to financially support the project, Heldoorn says. "That way, young people learn to appreciate themselves even more as unique creatures of God and learn to take better care of others."

Training aimed at organisations across the country

There is interest in "Wonderfully Made Special" from all over Ukraine, from both Christian as well as non-Christian organisations, the organisations behind the initiative notice. Therefore, Driestar Christian University will use the so-called 'train-the-trainer' format.

Elly van der Gouwe, lecturer in higher education pedagogy and advisor in relationships and sex education, will provide training, as well as support and advice in the process of contextualisation. "It is great to see that the practical materials of Wonderfully Made Special, which are used in many Christian special schools and care organisations, will also be used internationally", Van der Gouwe says. "I am looking forward to the online training sessions, the conversations, and the practical cases we will discuss together. And I hope these materials and the training will be a blessing for many."

Meaningful life

Dmytro Indylo from the Perspectiva organisation says the materials are needed, especially in this time of war. "There is a great need for tools to keep communication open with this target group", he says. Dima: "We pray that God will use this program to equip young people who have intellectual disabilities so that they too can have a meaningful life."

Wonderfully Made worldwide

In addition to "Wonderfully Made Special", the ordinary program Wonderfully Made for primary schools is already in use in several other countries, including Germany, Ecuador, Papua Indonesia, Canada and Uganda.



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