How do orphans cope financially after exiting the Russian orphanage system?
When orphans leave their orphanage, aged 16, they are entitled to certain benefits. Despite years of probing, asking questions and researching online - we have never been able to find any concrete facts on the subject! There seem to be a million and one variables, rules and criteria that affect the amounts they get from one case to the next.
Take Vadim for instance. After leaving his orphanage, we believe he had access to a lump sum of money –it was an amount he thought was enough to get on a train to Moscow and set up a life there straight after leaving his orphanage. Within a month, everything was gone, he was on the streets and he had nothing. Vadim had no idea how to budget the most likely not so large sum of money. He’d heard about a man (a Love Russia Mentor) through an orphanage friend. Vadim called him at rock bottom to ask for help.
Then there was Sasha. He spent all the money he had on a car he didn’t even have a licence to drive. This may sound so utterly ridiculous – what sort of person would do that? Well, a person who has never been educated or seen (from family) how to plan or how to make sensible decisions.
There are others who, not yet understanding the value of their little sum of money, give it to friends – not realising that more cash is not going to come their way.
The ‘flats for orphans’ government scheme seems to be a lottery too. Under this scheme orphans are entitled to be provided with a flat from the state, but we hear horror stories about this all the time. Most recently about 2 young orphan mums who had to wait 7 years, pleading with the courts to give them a place to live. If they don’t receive a flat by age 23, the government are no longer obliged to help.
The bottom line is that some get and some don’t. Many of those who receive these benefits end up blowing the lot due to very poor education, and no one to put the brakes on them. The common factor in a lot of cases for those that don’t receive these benefits is that they’ve got no one to help them. No-one to help with paperwork, no-one to teach them how to budget, and about making sensible, safe and reasonable decisions for their lives. Some are fortunate to have helpers, the parental figures they desperately need. It’s these helpers that Love Russia LOVES to support because they are the ones who are making a big difference to vulnerable young people. They allow them to develop their potential and in doing so they lift them into a society that needs to see them, accept them and give them a chance.
If you would love to support these helpers, please get in touch or visit our Mentors page.