Children in Russia
According to some estimates, there are up to 1.8 million homeless and neglected children in Russia.
The majority of children taken into care are ‘social orphans’, meaning that a child may have parents but they are unable to provide care for their children.
The number of street children is an issue in Russia. Sexual exploitation is a related problem, especially in urban centres. Children living on the street are often addicted to harmful substances including glue, opiates, alcohol and cigarettes.
Though economic reform has improved the employment rate, 11% of people in Russia still live below the nationally defined poverty line. Urban areas have enjoyed a rise in standards of living, but in rural areas facilities are often underdeveloped. In these regions health care is a critical issue, particularly with rising cases of tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS. Although recent work has slowed the growth of both diseases, 980,000 people in Russia live with HIV/AIDS.
Our Children's Villages in Russia
Our plans to establish an SOS Children's Village in Russia began in the late 1980's but it wasn’t until 1996 that the first children moved into the 11 family houses in the Tomolino community, on the outskirts of Moscow. The initial site for the Village proved unsuitable and an alternative had to be found. In 2002, an SOS Youth Home for the older children was established, where they can live and be supported until they are independent.
Since then three more villages have been built. SOS Children's Village Lavrovo, in Orjol region, about 350km south of Moscow, opened its doors in 1998 and currently has 12 family houses for nearly 80 children. There is also an SOS Social Centre, opened in 2009, offering community support to nearly 300 children.
Pushkin, St Petersburg
SOS Children's Village Pushkin, 17km south of St Petersburg, was finished in 2000 and has 12 family houses for nearly 80 children, many of whom were previously living in the streets or in run-down, overcrowded state orphanages. There are also three Family Strengthening Programmes in nearby St Petersburg, offering help to over 500 children.
A fourth Village has been built 250km from Murmansk - SOS Children’s Village Kandalaksha. The Village, which is the most northern SOS Children's Village not only in Russia but in the world, came into operation in 2003.
SOS Children's Villages originally began working in the area through a relief programme in 1998/99 in conjunction with the Norwegian Red Cross, providing warm clothing and toiletries to over 2500 children in orphanages or living with foster parents.
All four villages have the advantage of good infrastructure and the children attend local public nurseries and schools. Planning is underway for two more villages to be constructed in Russia in the near future.
There are also seven SOS Youth Homes in Russia, into which the older children, aged 15-16, move from the SOS Children’s Villages once they have finished their general school education. They live here for 3-4 years until they have finished training for their chosen profession. They are helped to study, find employment, and prepare all the necessary documents to get accommodation of their own.
The 18-19-year-old youngsters are offered an after-care programme for the next 3 years. Three of these youth homes are located in Moscow and the Moscow region, two in Oryol, and two in St Petersburg.
Since 2006 a Foster Family Project and Family Strengthening Programme have also been in operation in the Murmansk region. A further Family Strengthening Programme was started in 2008.
SOS Children's Village Pskov opened in December 2010 and contains 14 family homes for around 90 children. An SOS Social Centre and Family Strengthening Programme has been in operation since
SOS Children's Village Vologda opened in 2011 and currently consists of six family homes for nearly 40 children. An SOS Social Centre and Family Strengthening Programme for Vologda and Cherepovets has been in operation since 2008.
Russian Committee SOS Children’s Villages
Kedrova Street 5
Building 1, Office 5
Fax: +7/495-718 99 18, +7/499/125 76 22