teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime'…...
This well-known phrase is a guiding principle for charity and aid work. However, solving a problem is never that simple. In reality, there are times when people simply cannot fish, and need to be fed. On the other side, teaching someone to be an excellent fisherman is not a quick or one-off intervention, and requires local knowledge e.g. waterways, species and seasons. Taking the analogy even further, the man might begin to catch enough fish to sell, and then teach or employ others. This is the pathway we aim for: relief (emergency help during a crisis – giving a man a fish), rehabilitation (recovery from long-term neglect or damage – teaching him to fish), development (new opportunities and wider social progress – helping him become an independent fish seller!).
Love Russia’s support and intervention at crucial moments creates a safety net to rescue, nurture and empower young people to embrace LIFE after an orphanage childhood.
When the dire conditions in orphanages came to light you collected underwear, shoes, built sanitation and raised emergency funds for food, coming to the rescue with much-needed resources that orphanages were simply not able to provide - material relief at a time of crisis.
Now fed and clothed, it was clear the children needed positive human contact and the healing experience of fun memories with good people. You volunteered at camp, raised money to send volunteers, faithfully building relationships summer after summer and restoring hope that adults can be trusted and life can get better – stable, faithful rehabilitation; recovery from abuse, neglect, rejection and poverty.
With trust established, you supported Mentors who teach life skills and give specific, personal guidance that widens a young person’s horizons, helps them take new opportunities and make decisions for themselves. This ongoing development is likely the longest stage, fraught with mistakes, risk, rebellion, setbacks, wobbles and tantrums, but staying the course provides the safe environment from which a young person can to learn to fly.
When orphans leave their institutions the same applies – emergency shelter in transition homes (relief), one-to-one mentoring and inclusion in a church or community (rehabilitation), Genesis sponsorship through education (development). Young orphan mums suddenly finding themselves in crisis again receive shelter, medical care and baby supplies (relief), drug detox, counselling and community (rehabilitation), parenting guidance, a safe playground where they can bond with their children, and the chance to care for new arrivals at the centre (development).
Love Russia supporters are the bedrock of faithful love and generosity facilitating healing in many different ways. Mentors and project leaders tell us they value knowing you are praying for them and feel your support and compassion, even across continents.
An unhealthy charity culture would be to tell people what they need and provide it without consultation - even if people appear to want this. Material needs with fixable solutions are ‘appealing’ because charities and their supporters can easily see what was achieved, however always 'fixing' or providing material relief can cause dependence and stops short of lasting recovery. Conversely, only ever enabling development could leave the most needy in situations they're unable to get out of. Encouraging and empowering people to grow and supporting them as they find solutions for themselves is the key to them succeeding in the long term.
As we strive to provide appropriate measures of relief, rehabilitation and development, there are 5 key values Love Russia aims to stick to...
Speaking in truth and love. Our actions speak volumes to our vulnerable friends who depend on us. Honour is given to God when we keep our word.
Staying the distance. Love Russia and the Mentors we associate with are known as the friends who never forget. Meaning, we don't just fix and walk away - we're committed to those needing healing.
Listening and asking. Instead of imposing solutions, we ask - what do you need?
Encouraging local initiative. Spreading the charity culture among locals and getting them engaged. Three locals; Karren, Andrei and Sveta are now actively involved and have an interest in orphan development.
Prayer. Taking every decision, large or small before God.