Many of Russian orphans graduate from special-needs orphanages and have received 9 years of education that equates only to 5 years in general school. Most are fully capable of completing high school, and many are capable of going on to universities. But no one gives these orphans the opportunities taken for granted by their peers of equal intelligence who are brought up at home. Lack of life skills and difficulties in finding jobs due to prejudice further complicate the situation.
Step Up operates as an evening school as many of our students have to work during the day time. We teach a varied curriculum, prepare to take exams for 9th grade and high school diploma, provide career advice and help with finding jobs, develop in students self-confidence and responsibility for their own future. In Step Up we have a unique community of students, teachers, and volunteers built on healthy relationships, trust and respect - features that orphans often lack in the institutions.
Step Up gives orphan leavers, who often become disadvantaged and marginalized, the opportunity to have a quality education and a career that will impact their lives. Students leave the program with increased confidence and tangible life skills that will help them to become self-sufficient and contributing members of society.
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