The Orphan Crisis:
There are 163 million orphans in the world.1 If these children were counted as a single nation, they would comprise the 7the largest nation in the world! This ORPHAN NATION is a nation in crisis.
In Russia, the number of orphaned children is estimated to be more than 730,0002 and each year 100,000 new orphans (more than 300 per day on average!) are discovered.3 In Ukraine in 2009, 101,819 orphaned children lived in institutions and 17,827 children in shelters and centers of social rehabilitation.4 These numbers may indicate only part of the actual magnitude of children without parental care.
Many of these orphans struggle to physically survive, but even those that have their physical needs met suffer from deep emotional scars. For the most part, children living in orphanages have plenty of food to eat and toys to play with. However, the future looks grim for these precious kids after they leave the orphanage. In Ukraine almost 80% become alcoholics or drug users and get involved in criminal activities upon leaving the orphanage. 10% eventually commit suicide. Only one in 10 live a more or less successful life.5 Sadly, the statistics are similar in Russia.
Clearly orphanages are not what orphans need. As Christians we know that we are called to care for orphans, and it is now agreed that these children thrive best when placed in loving families. In Russia and Ukraine, this was not always the prominent belief. In fact, it has only been in the last several years that the concept of family as the best environment to raise children has been embraced in these countries. Finally, the orphan crisis is being addressed as people band together to find a home for every orphan!
Why Russia and Ukraine?
A Family for Every Orphan (formerly Doorways to Hope) started working in Russia and Ukraine largely because our founding members had personal experiences that placed the orphans in these countries on their hearts. Much of our team has either worked with children in Russia and Ukraine, been part of a family that adopted or fostered, or studied the Russian language and culture. When we became aware that local Christians in both Russia and Ukraine were starting grassroots movements to resolve the orphan crisis in their own countries, we recognized that partnering with these already-existing, successful movements was more sustainable than going in to start a new project or program. We see ourselves as coming along side these champions for the Orphan Nation and hope to see a world without orphans.
1. Unicef. "U.S. Government and Partners: Working Together on a Comprehensive, Coordinated and Effective Response to Highly Vulnerable Children." 2009.
2. Osadchuk, Svetlana. “Russian Orphans.” The Moscow Times. 19 May 2008. Web. 11 May 2011. <http://www.themoscowtimes.com/arts_n_ideas/article/russianorphans/362861.html>.
3. Altshuler, “Russia: Rights of the Child, Including Situation in Orphanages." European Union Delegation to the Russian Federation. Moscow, Russia. Presentation at the Round Table “Briefing to the EU by Human Rights NGOs: EU/Russia Consultations on Human Rights.” 13-14 April 2011. Web. 30 Jun 2011. <http://www.pravorebenka.narod.ru/eng/index.htm >.
4. “Draft Ukraine Country Programme Document 2012-2016.” Unicef.org. Unicef, n.d. Web. 30 Jun 2011. <http://www.unicef.org/search/search.php?q=orphan%20ukraine&hits=10&type=Main&navigation=%20pageyear:2011>.
5. Unicef. "Child Poverty and Disparities in Ukraine." 2010. Web. 8 June 2012. <pdf.usaid.gov/pdf_docs/PDACQ777.pdf>
6. For more information, see:
Attwood, Lynne. The New Soviet Man and Woman: Sex-Role Socialization in the USSR.
Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1990. Print.
Rockhill, Elena Khlinovskaya. Lost to the State: Family Discontinuity, Social Orphanhood
and Residential Care in the Russian Far East. Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2010. Print.
Tobis, David. Moving from Residential Institutions to Community Based Social Services in Central and Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union. Washington, D.C.: The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development/the World Bank, 2000. Web. 5 May 2011. <http://lnweb90.worldbank.org/eca/eca.nsf/0/5231989d8868de98852569640071dfa2?OpenDocument>.
Wertsch, James V. Vygotsky and the Social Formation of Mind. London: Harvard
University Press, 1985. Print.
Zeanah; Poe; Tizard and J Hodges as cited in Correll, Lucia, Dana Buzducea and Tim Correll. “The Job That Remains: An Overview of
USAID Child Welfare Reform Efforts in Europe & Eurasia.” usaid.gov. USAID, June 2009. Web. 17 August 2011. <dec.usaid.gov>.