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Each time I leave an orphanage (internat) for home I have mixed feelings: on the one hand, I feel pleasure from communicating with the children; on the other hand, I also feel sadness and sometimes even frustration. The reason does not lie in the lack of up-to-date facilities or the poor material conditions in our state-run internats, but rather from encountering the impoverished inner world of most of the orphans!
What we find:
Here is a general knowledge profile of a typical internat child that I made after two years of working with orphans: Igor, a ten-year-old boy and a resident of the orphanage:
- cannot name the country he lives in;
- does not understand how to read time from a watch;
- does not know the names of the months or seasons of the year;
- does not remember his own birthday;
- does not know that the Earth is a sphere;
- can read only by spelling out each word;
- can hardly write and then only with clumsy letters;
- can multiply up to the threes only (with mistakes);
- knows, however, how to earn $4 a day by begging;
- knows how to get sweets and cakes at the cemetery on remembering days;
- takes pleasure in smoking cigarettes and sniffing glue;
- likes to watch action films and play computer games;
- likes adults coming to the boarding school with presents and candy;
- dislikes being bullied and teased by other orphans;
- dreams that someone will take him home someday, at least for school vacations.
What does the future look like for children like Igor?
Of course, there are happy exceptions to the typical internat pattern. Still, how will the typical orphan survive in the real world with such limited knowledge, life experiences, and skills? How can the typical internat child form healthy relationships in his/her future family? What kind of work will he/she be qualified for?
Unfortunately, most orphanage children desire only to enter a trade school where they can be trained as house painters, plasterers, seamstresses, welders, and the like. According to official data, no more than 1% of internat children enters college and receives higher education.
How can you help?
How can we, ordinary folks, change this situation?
If we really want to help these children, then it is better not to stuff them with gifts of sweets but instead to develop their intelligence, introduce them to the complex, beautiful world outside of the orphanage, and teach them to love their neighbors. Otherwise, all of our help will do more harm than good.
Our educational program
Our experience shows that finding able volunteers to teach orphans is slow and difficult. But the need is pressing now for permanent teachers. Where possible, therefore, we hire tutors to work with one or two children each. The number of orphans that we can teach in this way depends entirely on the financial contributions we receive.
Tutor Irina Ivanova with her pupils Yulya, Vanya and Sergey
Coach Irina Ivanova with her pupil Sasha.
A computer teacher's salary is about $2.4 per hour. Each class hour, six to eight pupils take part, and there are many more children who would like to learn computer basics. An English teacher's salary is $6 for an hour of instruction for two to three children.
Your donations in support of our educational program are much needed and greatly appreciated. Please, write "Donation for education program for orphans" when transferring funds to our Charity Fund "Happy Child".
Please note that for all donations received for our projects, we guarantee complete accountability
You may also see our routinely updated report about the childrenТs learning progress.
A modest donation today can make a big difference for a child.
You may contact us by cellular phone at +380 66 513 34 35 (Albert)
E-mail contact: email@example.com
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