The summer holidays are over and our project helping orphanage-leavers prepare for adult life got started up again at the beginning of this month.
Over the summer, several of the young people undertook work placements organised by their college. Some of them have been given part-time jobs at the end of the summer, which they will have to do alongside their studies. One young man will be doing one shift a week at the local bread factory.
Orphanage-leavers find it difficult to settle in a job. They often decide that they don't like what they trained in, and start a new course at the college rather than leave and find work. The technical college and the students' hostel are very familiar, almost like the orphanage. The workplace is scary and unfamiliar and the young people find it difficult to cope with new people, new routines and independent living.
The group will meet specially on Saturdays to help those who are working and studying at the same time to help them with these difficulties. They will continue to meet during the week also.
We wish all our orphanage-leavers well, and thank you for helping this project continue.
"All my life I dreamt about going hiking with other grown ups, somewhere where no-one knew me. I was very interested in how I would be with them, and how they would relate to me. Now, not a day goes by when I don't remember this journey: about how I deliberately got myself lost so that they would come looking for me, about how they talked openly with me, and about how I wasn't offended by them. I can't wait for September when I can come to the group and see them all again."
Thanks to our Global Giving donors Nadia's dream came true. Our Russian colleagues have just led a hiking trip for eight families and Nadia, a member of the group for teenagers who are about to leave or have just left the children's home.
This was a joint venture between the teenagers' group and a special group for parents who grew up in children's homes and who have pre-school age children. The two groups are both run by Elena and Natalia's team, and they both benefit from joint activities. Two of the families were volunteers, who help the ex-orphanage members of the group to connect beyond their own social group. Sadly, staff in the local children's homes were worried that their teenagers might not be ready to take part. Fortunately, the older members of the teenagers' group, those who have already left the children's home, find it easier to keep in touch independently.
The hike is a great opportunity to try new things, meet new people, learn how to overcome problems and grow in confidence. Thank you for making it happen.
"What good news you have sent us!For us it is an unexpected joy!Our group has been looking forward to and preparing for the summer hike and camp, and, or course, such financial support gives us confidence and credibility to our plans.With gratitude to all our supporters, Elena"
This is how our Russian colleagues reacted to the news that we're about to transfer the latest chunk of your donations. We would like to thank you too for helping give such pleasure and support to our group of teenage orphans.
The first year of the project has been such a success that we want it to keep going for next year. Can you help us find more supporters by sharing this page on Facebook or Twitter?
Wednesday 16th March is bonus day on globalgiving.com! Donate as soon as you can that day to take advantage of this fantastic offer, which will make your donation go further. Global Giving pledge to match 30% of your donation up to $1,000 per donor until they have matched $75,000 (if you live in the USA). This means that if you donate $31 on Wednesday, your donation will be increased to just over $40.
Elena, our project leader in St Petersburg, reports on how the young people are gradually growing in confidence, thanks to your help.
“Teenagers in children’s homes feel very stable and untroubled. They are still relying on the social teachers to look after them while they study at college or technical college, where they will live in orphan’s centre, and independent life is still far off for them. But the young people in the final year at college are in a completely different state of panic and confusion. Until this point they haven’t thought of asking for help, because everything seemed to happen “of its own accord”. Many of the young people find it very difficult to work out what they feel and what they need, and the future is unknown and fearful to them. Understanding “what stage in life I am at” has become an important theme in the training sessions.
Boris said, “When I imagine my life, I can’t see what is next to me and where my place is. It’s frightening to think about what’s next”.
Alexander: “ I have several paths, but they are all mixed up inside me when I have to make a choice, because no-one is going to choose for me. “
In January we held three meetings and led one outing with 12 young people from the top classes in children’s homes or who have recently left the orphanage. Two volunteer families from our club for parents who grew up in orphanages also took part.
We invited our young people to a festival of kind art called “A Happy Postcard. From heart to heart – sent from person to person” in order to support our young people and to show them that their situation in life is dependent on choices and decisions rather than on the punishment of fate, and that you can learn from this as an adult. The young people took part in open master classes with professional artists, were taken round the gallery of contemporary art, and open exhibitions, in which the young people saw art work by children from other children’s homes amongst creative work of artists and photographers from around the world.
It was a revelation to them that “complete strangers can be kind to me”, and that, “I can do something with people I don’t know”. Natasha said, “I didn’t expect that someone from a children’s home could draw as well as a child from a family”.”
Please help us continue to support these fearful orphans, so that they can look forward to a positive future.
With this report I have posted a photo of a young man, a recent orphanage-leaver in St Petersburg, who takes part in our project to help orphans adapt to adult life. At the end of a recent session he stood up and said, "I can't wait to come back next time, but now I want to sing". Which he did, and the rest of the group joined in.
The good news is that, thanks to our Global Giving donors, we have raised enough money to keep this project going to the end of its first year, this summer. Because it has been so successful at raising the confidence of the participants, the project will continue next year with a larger group of teenagers living in orphanages and young people who have recently left orphanages.
We very much hope that you will help us reach this goal, and the Global Giving site is giving you good reasons to donate again this March.
If you live in the US the key date is March 16th. On this date a portion of your donations will be matched by Global Giving up to a certain amount. Don't worry, we will remind you nearer the time and give you more details. Just remember that on March 16th your donations will go further.
In the UK we have two weeks from 1st to 14th March to collect as many donations as possible for our Russian orphans project. We need to raise at least £500 from at least 25 donors during this period to be in with a chance of winning a prize. The ten projects to raise the most through globalgiving.co.uk will all win prizes of up to £500. Your donations large or small will help, and so will links to our page on Facebook or Twitter.
So, do please make a donation this March so we can give more St Petersburg orphans a reason to sing. Thank you!
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