Women who Make a Difference
March 5th, 2005 -
Presented by The Junior League of Miami and the Royal Carribean International
In 1995, Clara J. Pascal traveled to Ukraine with a church group. On this trip, she visited an orphanage and personally witnessed the horrible conditions being suffered by helpless and defenseless children and met the child that eventually became her son. That trip changed her life and the lives of thousands of children. She abandoned her film career, and devoted her life to providing a better life for orphans in Ukraine.
Upon returning to the United States, she became affiliated with Universal Aid for Children and founded its Ukrainian division. The program began as a medical mission - to find volunteer doctors to correct serious but treatable medial conditions that were being ignored. Through her efforts, numerous western medical professionals have traveled to Ukraine to donate their services and time to perform surgeries on children with a variety of correctable deformities.
Clara then worked at training and assisting local professionals to address the needs of thousands of abandoned and displaced children. Today, the organization she built to help these children services more than 2,000 children of all ages in 23 different shelters. She has overseen the construction and improvement of these facilities ensuring that the place these children call home change from dilapidated buildings into healing, harmonious environments. Her organization offers nutrition, healthcare, psychological counseling, and education to these orphans. At the holidays Clara plays Santa to thousands of Children.
Clara also began the Orphaned Teen Scholarship Program in Ukraine to enable orphans coming of age to have a chance at higher education or vocational training. Through this program, over 150 children have gone on to some level of higher education, including law school and medical school. Many return to mentor younger children in the orphanages.
Clara has built this organization by encouraging countless people to volunteer their time and money to the cause of these children half a world away. She organizes volunteer trips to Ukraine, and encourages sponsors and volunteers to visit Ukraine ad witness firsthand the plight of these orphaned children.
In 1997, Clara adopted her son, Luke, two years to the day after meeting him for the first time on her first visit to an orphanage in Ukraine.