Penniless and Parenting
Has money ever been so tight that the only option you felt you had left was to place one of your children in care?
Today we're looking at the reality for orphan mums living in poverty.
Unable to afford food, Olga recently approached an orphanage to talk to them about temporarily giving up her youngest son. In a desperate place, this was a last resort.
Olga is an orphan and a single mum. The finances she needs to survive far exceed her meagre income.
The orphanage system that Olga is all too familiar with, offers a way out for desperate mums like her. After being told she would not be allowed to visit she decided not to go ahead.
Olga's Mentor Galina.
Galina is a busy wife, mum and full-time schoolteacher and has long been involved in assisting orphanage leavers. She is passionate about preventing situations like Olga's - the cycle of orphans creating orphans. This occurs when orphan mums are overwhelmed by poverty and other difficulties brought about by their institutionalised childhoods.
Galina volunteers her time running a support group. During the pandemic she adapted, and for now meets the mums one-to-one and continues regular phone contact with them all.
No Family to Turn to
Galina checks up on them and guides them through their frequent difficulties, responding to their needs like a mum and they open up to her about parts of their lives they are ashamed of. All have faced serious trauma - and for some, the repercussions have manifested as addictions and even serious attempts at suicide.
After hearing from Olga, Galina's heart broke as this is precisely the outcome she tries hard to prevent and the very reason she works hard to support orphan mums.
After discussing with Galina exactly what Olga's needs are and the depth of her problem, Love Russia has temporarily increased Olga's bursary to remove the fear of not being able to feed her children.
Poverty is real.
Some orphans try to survive on small government stipends which can be as low as £25 per month up to £125... but even these are inconsistent and unreliable. The amounts awarded vary massively depending on living arrangements, numbers of children and location.
As the pandemic worsened, the additional strain on their small incomes increased: the expense of travel to a foodbank, the cost of vitamins to boost immunity, the price of essential face masks had all gone up. Galina decided to buy enough for each of them knowing they could not.
Galina's teaching salary is less than 10% of a that in the UK, so we were pleased to bless her with a gift to cover her costs.
Galina's devotion and your support means together we can meet these orphan mums' needs. Donated children's clothes and regular bursaries to top-up their income for day-to-day essentials helps immeasurably ...and of course, we can meet needs like Olga's which prevented a child from ending up in an orphanage.
Our Lent Appeal 'Donate a Plate' will help fund needs like this now and in the future!