Pushkin, St Petersburg
Our work in the St Petersburg region takes place around 11 miles south of the city in the cultural and historical town of Pushkin. Once the Imperial capital of Russia, St Petersburg is now described as “Russia’s cultural capital”. Although this recent cultural recognition has brought growth back into the tourist industry, many people are yet to benefit.
Falling standards of living
Some industries within St Petersburg have benefited from growth in recent years. However, the surrounding region has been slow to react to economic reform. Many families are still struggling due to high unemployment and a competitive job market, which provides fewer opportunities for women and young people. Following a significant drop in the average household income during the global economic crisis, many families must raise their children in deteriorating living conditions, or place them in state care.
Ongoing HIV/AIDS crisis
HIV/AIDS has been affecting St Petersburg since the early 1990s. The epidemic began in the 1990s with the large-scale trafficking of narcotics and a nationwide surge in heroin use.
A recent study estimated that around 38% of children living on the streets of St Petersburg's were suffered as a result of illness within their families. Unfortunately, this is a recurring problem seen all too often on the streets of St Petersburg. If parents are unable to find work or keep a job due to personal illness, children suffer the consequences.
How SOS Children's Villages is helping
Our Children’s Village is located on the city’s outskirts. We assist families through a range of community programmes, and provide a loving home to children who have lost their parental care.
We provide families with clothing, healthcare, nutritional information and educational support to help promote their children’s development and enhance their social skills. Our counsellors and psychological specialists are always on hand to talk through any anxiety or distress faced by the families we support.
We work closely with parents in the region - particularly single mothers - to resolve crisis before it escalates. We provide advice support on parenting, income generation, housing options and accessing benefits. With other local groups, we run group workshops which allow new and expectant parents to share experiences, learn from one another, and receive guidance and advice from a qualified staff member on parenting an active child.
When a safety net is not enough
For children who cannot live with their families, we provide a loving home in our Children’s Village. Here, our children enjoy a warm welcome from an SOS mother their new SOS brothers and sisters. We ensure siblings always stay together and that children arriving on their own are matched with others of a similar age and with similar interests. Children attend local community events alongside families from the neighbourhood. This helps them remain a part of the community and gives them to chance to pursue their activities and interests.
After their time with us, our children leave their SOS families and begin independent adult life. We are there to help them with the transition. With the help of our SOS youth programmes in St Petersburg, they are able to move closer to the city while remaining in further education or training under the guidance of our teachers and professionals.
With the harsh economic downturn causing many impoverished communities financial hardship, we continue to provide love and support to children that have no one else.