As One Door Closes...
Our Education Bursary Support Programme in St Petersburg has been running for the last 10 years - ever since we became aware that teenagers were forced to drop out of education due to extremely low incomes and therefore denied the chance of stable futures as employed as teachers. These children were from families who could not afford to feed everyone let alone pay for their child's bus fare and books.
Zakhar, an orphan, was on the programme in 2018. He lived with his alcoholic aunt who made him homeless. He was visibly withdrawn and suffered a lot of anxiety. At the college we partnered with, 'V' helped Zakhar find a place to live and he began receiving our bursary. Her care and this small financial boost led to a big transformation and soon he was living independently, was more confident and he studied hard. Zakhar is now a qualified teacher and has the promise of a salary three times that of the minimum wage in Russia which is just £214* per month.
As a result of the international conflict, and the Russian government's increasing desire to distance itself from the West, it is no longer safe for this college to partner with us to help their young vulnerable students.
“Given the current political situation, it is impossible to officially do this. We are all grateful for your help and support over the years and your big and loving hearts." - 'L' (College Director)
There has also been a re-shuffle in leadership at the College which means our help that was quietly given for so many years is no longer possible. We are so sad we can no longer connect with and help students at this particular college.
However, we thank God for the previous 10 years during which 100s of young people's futures were impacted by the support they received. 'V', who identified and cared for their vulnerable students said this...
“I never ceased to be surprised by your humanity and your desire to help people from another country, even during such a difficult period for mine. Thank you so much for your activity, for your kind hearts, for your hard work! You did a great and noble thing.” - 'V' (Support Co-ordinator)
Please pray for the students affected now, that local organisations will step in and support them, and for us, as we seek to make new partnerships in an increasingly challenging climate.