To Children With Love run a myriad of programmes in Russia. We solve problems on a week to week basis that arise as the children have many issues post orphanage. However, our staff have quite structured programmes inside Zhukofka Orphanage and outside the walls once the children leave.
We do believe that we will see Russia without orphanages in the next decade but for now there are approximately 80,000 orphans still in the system, leftover from a huge breakdown in family and society itself, after the collapse of communism.
Every child deserves a family.
Every child needs their mother and/or father.
We do not support infrastructure, rebuilds, or renovations, as we believe that this simply elongates the life of the orphanage system. However, there are children in the orphanage who still need care, love, respect, birthday gifts, hygiene products, pretty and stimulating books and IT, First Bell and Last Bell support and any additional support needed that the State budget does not cover.
No child deserves to be raised in an institution.
Every child needs real love and care to reach their full potential.
We do not live in an ideal world, so for now, we have 150 children within one large orphanage, created from the closure of many small provincial ones.
Our International Programmes
Playroom ProgrammeWe have a large playroom within the orphanage. When we visit, we cook with the children, usually pancakes with jam, make chai, sing, chat, talk, share our lives, strengthen our bonds with each child and discuss their schoolwork, their dreams, or their family connections, if there are any.
We need to establish strong bonds with each child as our main programmes are post orphanage when they start life in Colleges and Universities, so the stronger the bond with each child, the better hope we have of advising, mentoring and supporting them during the very difficult transitional time when they leave those walls for the first time. They are usually 15, 16 or 17 years old at this point and vulnerable.
The playroom needs constant replenishing. We also need a flow of gifts for both birthdays and Christmas. We usually buy on request on these occasions, as we do not like everyone getting the same gifts.
For the playroom, birthdays and Christmas, we need support with toys, books, phones, instruments, art equipment, craft equipment, cosmetics and hygiene products.
Social Integration ProgrammeThis includes supporting and encouraging children in orphanages to participate in activities within the wider community so that they are mixing with “family children”. We do this by supplying the necessary sports equipment and training to ensure they participate in local sporting competitions (soccer/basketball/volleyball/cross country skiing etc.) and also bring the children out on trips to the cinema and theatre and local cafes on their birthdays. We also have classes in music and dance. These programmes allow us to break down the barricades that serve to isolate orphans from the wider community.
Life Skills ProgrammeWe provide classes in cooking, sewing, wood craft, crochet, knitting, computers and budgeting to ensure they have useful skills when they leave the orphanage and have to take care of themselves.
Post Care ProgrammeThis time in the children’s lives is the most difficult. They leave the security of the orphanage, which is all they have known, with very little experience of the outside world. They have no role model parents and they are exceptionally institutionalised. The children go straight to hostels, which is far from ideal, and are quickly exposed to alcohol, drugs and prostitution, so they need constant monitoring at this point. We need support to supply them with blankets, pots and pans, hygiene equipment, duvets, kitchen utensils, cookbooks, lamps, hairdryers, books and legal assistance.
All orphans in Russia are supplied with a room from the state. This room may be hours away from the village where they were born. We will always try to help the children to complete necessary paperwork to sell their room and buy a one room flat (of course it goes without saying that we take nothing from the children, no funds, no money, no flats. It is our job to assist and support them in any way possible and always be a part of their solution). We do advise the children to be watchful at this time, as ruthless people can take advantage of them. We fund lawyers if they need it.
We have a small, dedicated staff. We have volunteers that we trust implicitly. We have strict rules about who works with the children and who advises them or mentors them. These children are vulnerable and need guidance from the right people and protection from making unwise decisions. We have strong bonds with the Department of Education and work hand in hand with the local administration at all times.