If you grow up in an orphanage in Russia, you have no positive experiences of family life, you are traumatised by being abandoned or taken from your mother, and you are thoroughly institutionalised. It is no wonder orphanage leavers struggle when they have their own children. It is common for children of orphanage leavers to be taken into orphanages themselves but we can break this cycle. We support 38 families year-round to become better parents. The summer camp is the high point of the year
An orphanage upbringing continues to effect people for many years after they have left the system. Orphanage-leavers often struggle to look after themselves, so when they have children they can reach crisis point. Having not been hugged as a child, they struggle to bond with their child, and to communicate. Unable to cope, they may give their child back to the orphanage, or the state may take their child away to protect it. We know of one family where 5 generations grew up in ophanages.
It is not inevitable that orphanage-leavers will be bad parents. The Sunflower Club provides counselling, parenting classes and play therapy on a weekly basis. The summer camp continues this work with eight families in a more intensive way in a beautiful rural setting. Parents improve their communication with their child and receive counselling to come to terms with their own difficult childhood. Sharing a simple log-cabin life, basic parenting skills can be developed.
When the parent child bond is strengthened, the child's whole development improves: their health, their communication skills, their behaviour. Parents learn to take responsibility for their family and are motivated to find and stay in employment. Overcoming their lack of confidence, they are also more likely to seek help from other agencies, and to take their child to kindergarten, which sets them up to achieve more when they start school. Best of all the families stay together happily.
I can see how the leaders get on with the children and I begin to understand how to talk to my child, how to understand them and how to give them the chance to develop. - Nadia, Mother who attended the summer camp in 2012
Total Funding Received to Date: $600
Remaining Goal to be Funded: $6,200
Total Funding Goal: $6,800