Orphanage graduates in Russia who were recognized unable to live independently by the age of 18 are moved to mental houses where they usually stay for the rest of their lives. Almost all their life they spend on the territory of the mental houses and as a result they are in fact excluded from the society. Among these young people there are those who with special support and guidance can start to live ordinary life - live independently, study, get a job, have friends and communicate with people.
Orphans live in the orphanages up to 18 years without individual approach to their needs. As a consequence their cognitive and intellectual activity significantly reduced. As a result, they are moved to the closed institutions for adults - mental houses. In institutions they have the necessary living conditions and medical care, but do not get the support for educational development, realization of interests and especially preparation for independent living based on their individual features.
Big Change teaches these people to read and write, to navigate the world around, to interact with people. This is not a one-time event and not a short-term project. It's a long program that lasts sometimes lifetime. Not all students will be able to leave the mental house, but the quality of their lives will change significantly. We have 12 stories of success when education and socialization has allowed our students to leave the mental houses, study, find a job and start to live ordinary life.
19 young people from mental houses receive our support and participate in our programs in the current academic year. Also 9 guys are on the waiting lists. With your help they will be able to participate in our programs and to realize their dreams. We work in cooperation with specialists from russian mental houses, they participate in our conferences and are very interested in our approaches. Experience exchange is very useful as a long term impact in our common cause.