Many children in this vast and complex country are “social orphans.” While some have lost parents to death, many have been orphaned because of alcohol abuse, economic, or other social factors. In many areas of Russian society, the word “orphan” is often synonymous with “worthless.”
The struggles that orphans in Russia face often begin after they are dismissed from the orphanage. The second crisis begins the day they “graduate.” On this day, their chances for survival are cut in half. Most children are required by the government to leave the orphanage by age 16.
Life in an institution leaves them completely unprepared to manage simple tasks of life—or to make good choices about relationships, who to trust, or how to spend their time. No guidance and no accountability mean no compass or direction in life. Orphaned girls are especially vulnerable to prostitution and sex trafficking.
Children’s HopeChest seeks to build relationships with these children through our Community-to-Community partnerships and sponsorship programs while they are in the orphanage. HopeChest desires that upon their “graduation” they are already connected to a larger community, to our staff, and are aware of our older orphan programs. HopeChest provides more than 1,000 vulnerable youth with programs for counseling, medical and dental care, legal counsel, and a safe place to just relax and have fellowship with other older youth through our Ministry Centers and Young Mothers Programs. Girls and boys in these programs are not only safe, but also loved and cared for by our dedicated staff.