Help for vulnerable women and children
In Russia, if a mum seeks support to rehabilitate from domestic violence, abuse, addiction, homelessness or poverty, she faces serious risk of her children being removed from her care. We believe that keeping families together can be an essential part of rehabilitation.
We run mums groups where at-risk mums are equipped both as individuals and parents. Many of the mums supported are orphans themselves so are extremely vulnerable.
At a crisis centre near St Petersburg we also provide residential support for vulnerable women and their children seeking refuge. Here, residents find the love and support of a Love Russia mentor who guides them through rehabilitation as well as friendship and encouragement from other residents living there.
These groups and the crisis centre have been successful in preventing children being removed from parents; in empowering women as mothers; in helping women move forward from addictions and abuse and in restoring whole families.
This support is often essential in helping mums in poverty provide for their children as food, nappies, clothing, financial and medical help is also offered.
We are currently developing a new building at the crisis centre as it is full to bursting! In 2016 a volunteer team built a new playground and in 2018 a volunteer team completed the first stage of the build!
The Crisis Centre
The aim of the crisis centre is to help rehabilitate women, most of whom are mothers, so they may confidently care for themselves and their children.
Many of the women at the crisis centre grew up in orphanages or have pasts of abuse and violence from partners or those who were meant to protect them.
At the centre they are helped to rebuild their lives through counselling, structure and teaching, giving them the tools they need to recover and cope in the future. They work as a large team all caring for each other as they share the gardening, cooking and childcare.
While other rehabilitation centres often remove children from parents and place them into orphanages, the mothers here can keep their children with them. Once a child enters the orphanage system it can be very difficult to legally reinstate parental rights so preventing this is critical.
Becoming a mother soon after leaving an orphanage is not uncommon due to a lack of education and a desperate need to be loved. As mothers their poverty increases and without adequate encouragement and support it can seem logical, having been social orphans themselves, to give up their children and allow an orphanage to raise them.
Love Russia partners with individuals who serve these vulnerable young women through support groups. These groups meet regularly to educate, discuss, resolve problems and provide financial help with a Love Russia bursary - the only help some of them receive. And, once they are part these friendship networks, they begin helping each other too!