Volunteer in Ukraine :: Odesa

Over 60 government facilities for orphans and children with special needs in the Odessa Oblast. Detailed list at bottom of page.

Odessa Oblast

Odesa Oblast, also written as Odessa Oblast ; also referred to as Odeschyna Ukrainian.  Odesa is an oblast (province) of south-western Ukraine. The administrative center of the oblast is the city of Odessa..
Odessa is a warm water port. The city of Odessa hosts two important ports: Odessa itself and Yuzhne (also an internationally important oil terminal), situated in the city's suburbs. Another important port, Illichivs'k, is located in the same oblast, to the south-west of Odessa. Together they represent a major transport hub integrating with railways. Odessa's oil and chemical processing facilities are connected to Russia's and EU's respective networks by strategic pipelines.


Odessa is situated on terraced hills overlooking a small harbor on the Black Sea in the Gulf of Odessa, approximately 31 km (19 mi) north of the estuary of the Dniester river and some 443 km (275 mi) south of the Ukrainian capital Kiev. The average elevation at which the city is located is around 50 metres, whilst the maximum is 65 and minimum (on the coast) amounts to 4.2 metres above sea level. The city currently covers a territory of 163 км², the population density for which is around 6,139 persons/км². Sources of running water in the city include the Dniester River, from which water is taken and then purified at a processing plant just outside of the city. Being located in the south of Ukraine, the geography of the area surrounding the city is typically flat and there are no large mountains or hills for many miles around. Flora is of the deciduous variety and Odessa is famous for its beautiful tree-lined avenues which, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, made the city a favourite year-round retreat for the Russian aristocracy.

The city's location on the coast of the Black Sea has also helped to create a booming tourist industry in Odessa. The city's famous Arkadia beach has long been a favourite place for relaxation, both for the city's inhabitants and its many visitors. This is a large sandy beach which is located to the north of the city centre. Odessa's many sandy beaches are considered to be quite unique in Ukraine, as the country's southern coast (particularly in the Crimea) tends to be a location in which the formation of stoney and pebble beaches has proliferated.


The oblast occupies an area of around 33,300 square kilometres (12,900 sq mi). It is characterised by largely flat steppes divided by the estuary of the Dniester River. Its Black Sea coast comprises numerous sandy beaches, estuaries and lagoons. The region's soils are renowned for their fertility, and intensive agriculture is the mainstay of the local economy. The southwest possesses many orchards and vineyards. while arable crops are grown throughout the region.


The economy of Odessa is largely based around its traditional role as a port city; during the Soviet period the city was home to the USSR's largest trading port, a role which it still retains today as independent Ukraine's busiest international port. The port complex contains an oil and gas transfer and storage facility, a cargo handling area and a large passenger port. In 2007 the Port of Odessa handled 31,368,000 tonnes of cargo. The port of Odessa is also one of the Ukrainian Navy's  most important bases on the Black Sea. Rail transport is another important sector of the economy in Odessa, this is largely due to the role it plays in delivering goods and imports to and from the city's port. Industrial enterprises located in and around the city include those dedicated to fuel refinement, machine building, metallurgy, and other types of light industry such as food preparation, timber plants and chemical industry. Agriculture is a relatively important sector in the territories surrounding the city. The Seventh-Kilometer Market  is a major commercial complex on the outskirts of the city where private traders now operate one of the largest market complexes in Eastern Europe. The market has roughly 6,000 traders and an estimated 150,000 customers per day. Daily sales, according to the Ukrainian periodical Zerkalo Nedeli, were believed to be as high as USD 20 million in 2004. With a staff of 1,200 (mostly guards and janitors), the market is also the region's largest employer. It is owned by local land and agriculture tycoon Viktor A. Dobriansky and three partners of his.

Points of interest

  • Odessa Opera
  • Akkerman Fortress
  • Potemkin Stairs
The Passage galleries, one of the city's landmarks.

Deribasovskaya Street is one of the city's most important commercial streets and a large number of the city's boutiques and higher-end shops can be found on it. In addition to this there are a number of large commercial shopping centres in the city. The 19th century shopping gallery Passage was, for a long time, the city's most upscale shopping district, and is to this day an important landmark of Odessa.

The tourism sector is of great importance to Odessa which is currently the second most visited Ukrainian city. In 2003 this sector recorded a total revenue of 189,2 mln UAH. Other sectors of the city's economy include the banking sector; the city is home to a branch of the National Bank of Ukraine.Imexbank, one of Ukraine's largest commercial banks is based in the city. Foreign business ventrues have also thrived in the area, as since January 1, 2000, much of the city and its surrounding area has been declared a free economic zone, this has aided the foundation of foreign companies' and corporations' Ukrainian divisions and allowed them to more easily invest in the Ukrainian manufacturing and service sectors. To date a number of Japanese and Chinese companies, as well as a host of European enterprises, have invested in the development of the free economic zone, to this end private investors in the city have invested a great deal of money into the provision of quality office real estate and modern manufacturing facilities such as warehouses and plant complexes.


The oblast's population (as of 2004) is 2.4 million people, nearly 40% of whom live in the city of Odessa.

Significant Bulgarian (6.1%) and Romanian (5.0%) minorities reside in the province. There is a small Greek community in the city of Odessa.

Bulgarians, Moldovans and Romanians represent 21% and 13% respectively, of the population in the region of Bukjak, within Odessa

Most of the city's 19th-century houses were built of limestone mined nearby. Abandoned mines were later used and broadened by local smugglers. This created a gigantic complicated labyrinth of underground tunnels beneath Odessa, known as "catacombs". During World War II, the catacombs served as a hiding place for partisans. They are a now a great attraction for extreme tourists. Such tours, however, are not officially sanctioned and are dangerous because the layout of the catacombs has not been fully mapped and the tunnels themselves are unsafe. The tunnels are a primary reason why no subway system was ever built in Odessa.

Odessa Opera & Ballet Theater

A grand Renaissance-era theater finished in 1887 which still hosts a range of performances. The theater is regarded as one of the world’s finest. The first opera house was opened in 1810 and destroyed by fire in 1873. The modern building was constructed by Fellner and Helmer in neo-baroque. Its luxurious hall follows rococo style. It is said that thanks to its unique acoustics even a whisper from the stage can be heard in any part of the hall. The most recent renovation of the theater was completed in 2007. The theatre was projected along the lines of Dresden's famous Semperoper built in 1878, with its nontraditional foyer following the curvatures of the auditorium.

The centre of Odessa, with its statue of Catherine the Great, is one of the city's major attractions.

Potemkin Steps Odessa’s most iconic symbol, the Potemkin Steps (Primorsky Stairs) is a vast staircase that conjures an illusion so that those at the top only see a series of large steps, while at the bottom all steps appear to merge into one pyramid-shaped mass. The original 200 steps (now reduced to 192) were designed by Italian architect Francesco Boffo and built between 1837 and 1841..

Port of Odessa

One of the biggest in the Black Sea, Odessa’s busy port is a place to see some impressive ships. Odessa Sea Port is located at Black Sea coast along North - Western part of Odessa bay on the artificially created territory. Total shoreline length of Odessa sea port is - 7.23 km. Port’s work does not depend on season and weather: interior port waters are defended by breakwaters. Port includes the Oil Harbour, container handling facility, the passenger area and 7 facilities for handling dry - cargoes. Port's capacities may be handle up to 14 mln tons of dry-cargoes and about 24 mln tons of oil products. Port's passenger terminal may receive up to 4 mln passengers per year.

Vorontsov’s Palace

Another supreme work-of-art from Italian architect Francesco Boffo, this 19th-century palace and colonnade was built for supreme Odessa governor Prince Mikhail Semyonovich Vorontsov.

Deribasovskaya Street

An attractive pedestrian avenue named after José de Ribas, Spanish-born founder of Odessa and decorated Russian Navy Admiral from the Russo-Turkish War. Deribasovskaya Street is famous by its unique character is magnificent architecture, crowds of people leisurely sitting on terraces of numerous cafes, bars and restaurants, perfect cobblestones, no vehicle traffic and big shady linden trees.

Childrens homes in Odessa Oblast.

Odessa orphanage boarding (for girls)...138 children, aged 4 - 25 years

Odesa specialized orphanage...200 children, from birth to 5 years old

BB "Izmailskaya boarding school and II levels for orphans and children deprived of parental care"...155 children, aged 6 - 18 years

Odessa sanatorium boarding school and II levels number 6 for children with scoliosis...239 children, aged 6 - 15 years

KU "Urban specialized database number 1" Odessa...100 children from birth to 4 years old

DB Black Sea UDDUVP penal colony number 74 in the Odessa area...50 children from birth to 3 years old 

October Boarding School I and II phases...150 children aged 7 - 17 years

Odessa special boarding school № 34 for children with intellectual disabilities... 150 children aged 7 - 18 years

Odessa special boarding school and II levels number 87 for visually impaired children...135 children, aged 6 -17 years

Odesa Custodial Orphanage for children of preschool and school age...127 children aged 3 - 18 years

Kotovsky urban social hostel...15 people, aged 15 - 23 years

Bolgradskiy regional center for social and psychological rehabilitation of children and young people with functional limitations...25 people aged 7 - 35 years

Reni district center for social and psychological rehabilitation of children and young people with functional limitations...30 people aged 7 - 35 years

Ovidiopolskij regional center for social and psychological rehabilitation of children and young people with functional limitations...14 people, aged 3 - 35 years

Tarutinskij social hostel for orphans...24 people, aged 15 - 23 years

Municipal Institution "Odessa Regional Centre for HIV-infected children and youth"...10 people from birth to 35 years and older

Shelter for children with. Nikolayevka "Crane" 20 children age 3 - 18 years

Regional municipal institution "Regional center of social and psychological assistance"...24 people, aged 18 - 35 years

Orphanage family type Martynenko...18 children, aged 10 - 25 years

Rozdilnjansky regional shelter for children "Warm House"...20 children aged 3 - 18 years

Pishchansky special school, orphanage and children deprived of parental care with intellectual disabilities...77 children, aged 6 -16 years

Ananyev orphanage-school (for boys)...28 children, aged 3 - 17 years

BB "Ismail city shelter for children"...30 children aged 3 - 18 years

Odesa regional asylum center for children...50 children aged 3 - 18 years

Odessa City Foundation social support disadvantaged children, adolescents and youth "Light House" ...30 children aged 14 - 24 years

Orphanage family type Karpenko...10 children aged 6 - 18 years

Orphanage family type Maistrenko...11 children, aged 9 - 20 years

Specialized neuropsychiatric DB number 3 "sun" Odessa...148 children, from birth to 4 years old

Children's home of family type "Stork" family Zarutska...6 children, aged 9 - 20 years

BB "Odessa special boarding school and II stages № 88 for children with mental retardation"...152 children, aged 6 - 16 years

Chorna special boarding school for children with intellectual disabilities...105 children, aged 7 - 17 years

BB "Kiliya special boarding school for orphans and children deprived of parental care with intellectual disabilities"...165 children aged 7 - 17 years 

Orphanage family type Cheban...6 children, aged 12-17 years

Belyaevsky District orphanage "Hope"...20 children aged 3 - 18 years

Ismail Rayon shelter for children "Nest"...30 children aged 3 - 18 years

BB "Ananyev boarding school and third degrees"...165 children aged 7 - 17 years

Orphanage family type Plisko...11 children, aged 8 - 17 year

Orphanage family type Shumeyko...10 children aged 8 - 16 years

Andreevo-Ivanovo boarding school I-II levels for orphans and children deprived of parental care...140 children, aged 6 - 16 years

Bolgradskiy special boarding school I-III for deaf children...70 children aged 2 - 20 years

Ismail specialized orphanage...100 children from birth to 6 years old

Orphanage family type Letinskyh...11 children, aged 10 - 22 years

Orphanage family type Negro...12 children, aged 6 - 23 years

Orphanage family type Martynovs...18 children, aged 7 - 17 years

SPC "Children's home № 9" - school-Boarding degree...67 children, aged 3 -11 years.

Krasnosel'skii DB-school for mentally retarded children (girls)...160 children, aged 4 - 35 years

Odesa DB-school (for boys)...168 children aged 4 - 18 years

Commission on Narcotic Drugs "Orphanage" Perlinka "...35 children, aged 3 - 12 years

Orphanage family type Goncharenko...8 children, aged 11 - 16 years

Kodymsky regional shelter for children "Buslyk"...30 children aged 3 - 18 years

BB "Baltskaya special boarding school and II levels number 1 for children with mental retardation"...220 children, aged 7 - 17 years

Kotovskaya school-orphanage and children deprived of parental care...230 children, aged 7 - 17 years

Odeska boarding school № 4-III levels...98 children aged 10 - 18 years

Tarutinskij shelter for children Juvenile Services TARUTINSKY District Administration...50 children aged 3 - 18 years

Zatyshanskyy regional shelter for children...20 children aged 3 - 18 years

Odessa Regional Clinical Hospital...510 children from birth to 18 years old

BB "Regional shelter for children" Dawn "...50 children aged 3 - 18 years

KU "shelter number 1 for children Juvenile Services Odessa City Council"...60 children, aged 3 - 18 years

Berezovsky shelter for children "Raduga"...20 children aged 3 - 18 years

KU "shelter number 2 for children Juvenile Services Odessa City Council"...60 children, aged 3 - 18 years