The new school year has brought 40 new teenagers to the orphanage, where our charity works, and they urgently need our help. We work in the "children's home" department of a technical college, where young people aged 16 to 23 study and live. So we have a vital window of opportunity to work with them and prepare them for independent life.
For the new arrivals, independent life seems a long way off. Their main anxiety is adapting to their new home. The young people all come from different children's home, and for many of them from small towns, this is their first time in a big city. Some are so afraid of getting lost that they never leave the children's home where they live and study.
Natasha, aged 16 said, "Everything's strange here. I would have been better off staying in my children's home. I know everyone there, I can help the younger ones and stay and work there. I just don't want to go anywhere. If I have a child, I will go back to live in the children's home."
Those who wish to meet each week with our support group. There we give them the confidence to make friends and venture out into the city.
We have not forgotten the young people we were helping last year. There is a second group for young people in the final year. Most of them have a job lined up for when they will leave, but many still have problems with their housing. It looks likely that some will have to go back to live with relatives who either abandoned them, or where judged unfit to look after them as children. We offer group sessions where the practical questions are worked through, but also individual sessions, where they can untangle their complicated and painful emotions towards their families and hopefully reach some resolution.
We leave you with the words of one of our young people:
"The lads often don't understand why they should talk to a psychologist and ask me, what do you do there in the in the consultations. I explain that if you have an unbearable toothache, then you know that you can go to the dentist. See, I know there is also a psychologist, and I go there when I feel unbearable pain inside."
With your help this Christmas, we can make sure that all our young people continue to get the help they need.
P.S. We don't have any pictures for you because we must protect the privacy of our sessions.