Because Orphan Care Doesn’t End
Does orphan care end when an orphan becomes an adult? For Orphan Outreach and its partners—including our friends at Porter’s—ministry is not limited by age or geography, and helping an orphaned child successfully transition to a healthy and independent life is an essential part of that care.
As the children cared for by Orphan Outreach’s ministry partners have grown, so has their potential. Many children, who began the program as toddlers and preschoolers, are now teenagers, ready to enter into a new season of their lives. Tragically, while they may be willing to take that next step, there are innumerable obstacles on their path to independence. Orphans in Russian are granted very few basic rights upon their graduation: a small monthly allowance, state housing, free medical and dental care, and access to further education. Though what’s provided may seem a good foundation for adulthood, the stark reality is that most of the housing in uninhabitable, the monthly stipend provides for but a small portion of the physical needs, and the access to education is often limited due to housing and transportation.
Dedicated to going deep, Orphan Outreach has extended their support for these children in whatever their next step might be. For children in Russia, that means providing the financial, emotional, and the legal support necessary to help them transition out of residential care and into life on their own.
Orphan Outreach has a long-established Aging Out Initiative in Russia. These children are anywhere between 15- and 18-years-old, without any family or connections. As a staggering number of these youth end up on the streets and in gangs, Orphan Outreach developed a trained support network staffed by Christian social workers, psychologists, and attorneys, who are available to the graduates 24/7.
Olga Nikolay, a 24 year-old graduate from orphanage #60 in St. Petersburg, is currently enrolled in the Aging Out initiative in Russia. She recently graduated from a teacher’s training college and works as a kindergarten caregiver. She says this about the Orphan Graduate program:
“This program has changed my life. Without the spiritual, psychological, moral, and financial support, without the guidance of the staff, I could not have made it to where I am now. First of all, I never would have gotten an apartment. The staff has gone with me to every authority in the city and even when I was ready to give up, they did not. As a result, I am in a wonderful apartment.”
When Olga was struggling, she was able to meet with the on-staff psychologist, who worked with her and later referred her to a specialist.
“It is so important to have someone I can talk to if I run into a problem. Whether it is a debt, a need, or a simple question I know I can get answers and help,” Olga said.
Olga also shared how important the weekly meetings were to her spiritual and social growth:
“During our weekly meetings, they help us learn to interact with people, as well as learn how to cook and serve food. All in all, it has been a blessing. It has helped me through the most difficult time after graduating from the orphanage.”
Porter’s Round-Up program continues to provide for the ongoing needs of orphaned and vulnerable children around the world—including Olga and the other young adults who are part of Orphan Outreach’s Aging Out initiative in Russia.