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Russia, the largest country in the world, is 1.8 times the landmass of the United States, covering 11 time zones. With a war-torn past of over 1000 years, its people are very proud of their culture and history. It is a country of amazing natural resources that historically have been exported in their raw state and imported as finished products. During communism, the power was centralized in Moscow but since the fall of the Soviet Union, a change has taken place. Now each region (much like a U.S. state) has the responsibility of controlling much of its own destiny.
Russia is also home to about 800,000 orphans who are deprived of parental care. Alcohol abuse and economic struggle are serious problems throughout Russia. As a result of these issues, children are often abandoned by their families and left to grow up in a state-run orphanage. Understandably, after being abandoned, and growing up in an institution, many Russian orphans have large emotional scars that leave them entering society without the basic life skills necessary. Children’s HopeChest and its Russian Partner, Fund Nadezhda, have created discipleship and life skills programs beginning in the orphanage and continuing through the time an orphan graduates from a tech school, college or university. Through teams visiting, disciplers, and letter writing the orphans are taught basic life skills and most importantly that they are special and important additions to society. Through these programs the orphans are prepared to enter adult life, helping to break the cycle of orphans producing orphans.
Children’s HopeChest and Fund Nadezhda began working in the Kostroma Region over ten years ago. The region of Kostroma is located about 6 to 8 hours northeast of Moscow on the Volga River. Ostrovskoye Orphanage is located in the small village of the same name. It is located about 45 minutes southeast of the city of Kostroma. The orphanage is a converted house that can hold up to thirty children in residence, and is warm and homey. The director is determined to meet the emotional needs of the children. As a result, the children are open, loving, caring and very friendly.