The school year is coming to an end for our orphanage-leavers, and we can report progress with our project. For the last three months, our support groups have been meeting once a week at the orphans' hostel at college No. 113 and at the orphans' centre Prometheus in St Petersburg. At last the young people are able to come to the group without relying on teachers to bring them and the sessions are only occasionally disrupted by staff who schedule something like doctor's appointments that clash with them.
The new arrangements are also giving us opportunities to work more closely with the staff from the orphanages. Incredible though it may seem, psychologists employed by the orphanages do not realise that their sessions with young people should remain confidential. Nor do they realise that the young people in their care need to be encouraged to take responsibility, not treated like children when they may be as old as 23.
"Suddenly I realised that I can't imagine what it will be like living on my own. I am used to being called to dinner, woken in the morning and being told what to do." Victor, aged 22
Fortunately, with more regular meetings, our orphanage-leavers have built up trust in the group leaders. They are prepared to discuss their problems and their fears, and to work towards solutions.
Over the summer, the young people will be either sent on work placements or back to their families, so the meetings will pause until September. When the time comes, we must be ready to repay their trust and continue supporting them. If you'd like to help Victor and his peers, you can either give now, or put 13th June in your diary. That's Global Giving bonus day, and donations to our orphanage-leavers project will be matched at 40%.