Today’s read will give you an insight into how Love Russia works from the perspective of a 16 year old orphan and the Love Russia mentor who helped them. First let’s hear from Piotr… "I was put in an orphanage when my alcoholic dad killed my mum. I was just 7. Last summer, I had to leave and I’ve been homeless since then. I have no ID documents so can't claim the government flat entitled to me. The flat is in a town 200km away so I wouldn't be able to afford to travel there or make it fit to live in anyway. I wash cars for a little money and they pay me cash but it’s not enough. But, what choice do I have? I can’t claim benefits or get a permanent room with no ID. My one luxury is a mobile phone – it’s cheap, and the only way I can stay in touch with friends. Last month I met someone who said they could help. I didn’t know what to think, nobody has wanted to help before. He bought me food in a café and said he can help me get my ID documents so I could get a job that pays at least the minimum wage. If he could, it will make life a bit easier. He let me stay at his house a few days and I met other orphanage leavers who visited him and his family. He said he’ll find me a place in a transition home but can I trust him? He rings me every day to see if I am ok. One of the other boys at his house told me I could trust him, maybe I should. I have nothing to lose. I’ll ring him."
When Slava met Piotr...
"I saw a kid sleeping in a doorway, huddled in blankets and cardboard. It was freezing out. I approached him and asked if he wanted to get some food. He looked scared but was clearly desperate so I bought him breakfast and a hot drink. I told him about the work I do with orphanage leavers and he relaxed a bit. His name was Piotr.
He was 16 and had left his orphan institution 3 months ago with no ID. I knew I could help if he’d let me. I said he could stay with me and my family for a bit, and later, find him a place in a transition home. He was apprehensive, but said he’d think about it. Thankfully, he rang later that day and I made a bed up for him. He arrived looking scared, cold and unwashed so I encouraged him to shower and we found him some fresh clothes. We talked, but he was very quiet. After a few days Piotr took off, back to the streets I presume; he seemed too scared to accept long term help. I made sure to ring him often. He said he was doing ok. I pray for him every day, along with the others. Last week a space in a transition home came free so I let Piotr know. He was wary but eventually agreed to think about it… I hope he calls back, with winter on the way he won’t survive long on the streets."
Love Russia supports this kind of work. Helping such traumatised orphans requires long term relationship and developing trust. Your donations, among other projects, fund the time and teaching our mentors give and the emergency shelter transition homes provide.