There are over 1 million children living in
institutions in Russia today. (Many believe this number to be closer to 2 million.)
An addition of approximately 1.5 – 2 million are living on the
The situation for orphan children and
children at risk is becoming worse and the number of these kids entering
into the orphanage is on the rise.
Survival statistics for orphans once they
leave the orphanages are abysmal. Many directors, as well as officials in
the department of Education for St Petersburg, claim that only around 10 –
20% of orphans "survive" within a few years of leaving the orphanages. By
"survive" they meant not becoming a drug addict, a prostitute, a homeless
person, or put in prison after they leave the orphanage.
According to the Russian Procuracy General,
around 15,000 orphans "graduate" from the orphanages every year. Within a
few years of graduation, of the 15,000 graduates, 30% will be unemployed,
35% will be homeless, 20% will have criminal records, and 10% will commit
As the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Russia explodes
(AIDS in Russia is growing faster than in any other country in the world),
orphans become an increasingly at-risk group.
We are especially concerned for the young
teenager who is in the transition period of leaving the orphanage to enter
into the real Russian world - often times, a world without hope for the
Russian orphan. These children are often considered outcasts in their
society, with little hope for further education or a secure job. Many
times children are forced to leave the orphanage as early as age 15 due to
"After interviewing and surveying numerous orphans, I have concluded that
they all, regardless of level of physical surrounding, feel unloved, alone,
isolated, and without hope for their future. These orphans lack a will to
survive. A true relationship with Jesus Christ gives hope for the future and
security that they are not alone."
Cristi Hillis "Co Mission
for Children at Risk".