Transforming the lives of orphaned and vulnerable children would not be possible without the vision and passion of our Russian field staff. The work done in Russia is part of a special model, focusing on caring for older orphans by equipping them with the resources they need to live full, productive lives. Our Ministry Centers in Russia create a safe place for young adults to learn vocational and life skills. Numerous programs are offered, such as the Young Mothers Programs, mentorship, dental services, job skill training, and counseling services. Not only are the older youth who connect with the Ministry Centers offered supportive services, but they are also shown love and cared for by the dedicated staff.
Irina V. is the Regional Manager of the Kostroma Ministry Center, which opened in 2001. The Kostroma Ministry Center offers many programs and activities for older youth to participate in, such as Career Guidance, Leadership Program, and Computer Class. This Ministry Center also offers a Friendship Club, where young adults can learn how to manage their recreational time, unlock their talents and potential, and join team-building activities.
We are thankful for Irina’s hard work and her passion advocating for Russia’s children and young adults. We interviewed her about her daily life and her position as Regional Manager.
Tell us a little about yourself, where you are from, where you live, and your family.
I am 48, I have a University degree in Teaching. I worked as a school teacher for seven years. Then I worked with troubled/vulnerable families and orphaned children, advocating for the children in various situations and defending their rights in court together with the D.A.S. Unfortunately, at some point I had to leave this work and move to Kostroma due to family circumstances.
How did you find out about HopeChest?
I was looking for work in Kostroma, and that’s where I met Maria and Katya, who are the Country Directors and Managers for Nadezhda Fund. These two ladies told me about the work of Children’s HopeChest in Russia. Once our two-hour meeting was over, I was offered the position of the Regional Manager of Nadezhda Fund branch office in Kostroma. I’ve been working for Children’s HopeChest since 2000.
What is your role? What is a typical day like?
I work with various departments and social agencies of Kostroma city and throughout Kostroma Region and the directors of orphanages and the young adults who come to the Ministry Center. I am responsible for all the Children’s HopeChest programs that we run in Kostroma and Kostroma Region. While working for Nadezhda Fund I got my second higher education in Educational Management.
What do you like about working for Children’s HopeChest?
I love what I do. Every day I look forward to meeting with the young adults that we work with, talking with them, hearing them out, giving them advice or simply having tea with them and sharing about different things.
What do you like to do in your free time, when you are not at work?
I try to spend my free time with my son and daughter-in-law. I also have lots of nephews, and I get to see them quite often. Of course, I spend a lot of time with my friends and their children. I enjoy traveling when it comes to vacation.
How has your faith in Jesus grown through working at the CarePoint?
I’ve always been a believer, but my faith in the Lord has become stronger through working at the Ministry Center. I’ve started attending church. Every day I try to ask God to forgive me for my wrong doings or rude words that I might use accidentally.
How have you seen God answer prayer in your life and/or at the CarePoint?
God answered my prayers for my aunt a few years ago. My aunt was seriously ill and I went to church and prayed to the Lord and the Orthodox saints for mercy and forgiveness. My aunt is doing well now.