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Families in need of constant care

At first glance, the 10 mothers in Galina’s orphan mums' support group come across like many typical young mums. But behind their façade of coping, smiling and friendly faces, these mums are challenged by traumas and life experiences that many of us couldn’t imagine.

Single mum Olga is savvy and manages to keep her head just about above water thanks to our bursaries and some food parcels from another charity. But, she is worried that if she gets admitted to hospital with coronavirus she would have no one to take care of her sons as she is an orphan.

Single mum Karina works hard as a legal secretary and is always dressed smartly and carries herself well. Her son Kolya is friendly and the vocal lessons we are supporting him to get means his confidence is growing. However, Karina keeps dropping into periods of severe depression where she feels she can’t cope any longer. She carries a lot of trauma since life in an orphanage, and her older sister was killed around five years ago. We are now supporting Karina to complete a course of psychotherapy to hopefully work through these feelings.

Darya is isolated with no community due to the location of her flat, she has learning difficulties and she struggles with parenting Valentina, her daughter. Her only relative, a brother, drinks a lot and takes advantage of Darya and the little she has.

Others suffer with health conditions, have homes that are completely run down and find it hard to hold down jobs. If they can find new jobs they are likely to work for just 80p per hour.

In my three years at Love Russia, Liza was one of the mums I thought was doing well. Recently, Liza’s husband left her so she's now a single mum to three. Galina is extremely concerned and is sceptical if any Russian woman, regardless of family support, could survive as a single mum to three. Despite Liza’s calm countenance she faces many emotional challenges from her childhood in an orphanage as well as from her previous marriage to an abusive man. Liza can’t work yet as her youngest is only one year old.