Teenagers in St Petersburg orphanages and recent orphanage-leavers are supported by psychologists and volunteer families to help them make the difficult transition to adult life. Training is also given to orphanages, college and hostel staff who wish to improve how they care for this vulnerable group.
Around 1,000 children live in orphanages in St Petersburg. When they leave aged between 17 and 23 many of them will quickly find themselves homeless, around 40% will become drug addicts and a shocking 10% will commit suicide. Social isolation is a big reason why orphanage leavers find it hard to adapt to independent life. As a child they lived and went to school in an orphanage and may well have no friends or family outside who can support and guide them when they leave.
Teenage orphans and orphanage-leavers go to weekly meeting with psychologists to prepare them practically and emotionally for adult life. Volunteers who also grew up in orphanages use their own experience to help the younger orphans. Training is also offered to staff from the orphanages or hostels where they live and the colleges where they study, who wish to improve the care they offer to this vulnerable group.
Around twenty five young orphans will be given advice and social contacts that will help them make a successful transition to independent life. Their success will benefit the whole community, meaning lower crime and lower welfare dependency.
"I suddenly realised that I can't imagine what it will be like to live alone. I am used to being called for dinner, woken up in the morning and told what to do" - Victor, 22-year member of the support group
Total Funding Received to Date: $10,645
Remaining Goal to be Funded: $6,066
Total Funding Goal: $16,712
This project has provided additional documentation in a Microsoft Word file (projdoc.doc).