"I talk to you and I feel that I exist, that I'm alive. Before, I had to get beaten up to feel anything."
Our orphanage-leavers are making progress at the deepest, most painful level as Dima's comment makes so clear. Dima is just 17. We are so grateful to you for making it possible to provide them with the counselling they need to do so. Can you imagine what kind of a life Dima would lead if no-one cared enough to help him deal with this trauma?
We have been working hard with our group of orphans in the first year of technical college. Having been abandoned by their parents, these young people have learnt not to trust adults. After testing the boundaries, they realise now that our colleagues are genuinely interested in them, and that they aren't going anywhere. Now the group are happy to talk more openly about their experiences. Now that everyone has grown to trust each other, we take them on outings to art workshops run by friends of ours. It's a very important way of introducing the group to new people, new experiences, and to travelling independently on public transport.
With the older group, who will leave the orphanage at the end of the year, we are talking a great deal about their new homes, how they will look after their home, and what they will do there. Strange thought it might seem, despite the difficulties of orphanage life, most of the residents are terrified of leaving. Knowing nothing else, they think only of ways of prolonging their studies so they can stay on, or how they can live and work with their friends from the orphanage and try to recreate the atmosphere. It is difficult for them to confront these feelings, so we hold an art workshop with them regularly to help them express and deal with their negative emotions.
We have also been making progress with the staff at the orphanage, who have been attending seminars. They take an interest in our work and several times have asked us to help them resolve conflicts with the young people.
We must help this valuable progress continue, so that our young people are able to face life after the orphanage with confidence. If you'd like to make an ongoing commitment to our orphanage-leavers, the wonderful people at Global Giving give you the possibility of setting up a regular donation through their site. If you set up a monthly donation via globalgiving.org you may even have your donation matched. Regular giving is really fantastic, because it means we can promise our young people that we will continue to be there for them while they need us.