7 Russian cities opening new centres for vulnerable mothers
Winners of the “Orthodox Initiative 2016-17” competition have been awarded grants to develop help centres for pregnant women and those with children who are in a vulnerable situation. Social projects in Magnitogorsk, Uglich, Sarapul, Ekaterinburg, Shakhty, Nerchinsk and Kazan are expected to be implemented within a year.
According to those responsible for this initiative, all those who come to these shelters for help will receive expert assistance from social workers, lawyers and psychologists as well as temporary accommodation. The women will receive free food and be provided with essential items and hygiene products. Mothers will be helped in completing the necessary paperwork and in repairing family relationships. Priests will also be on hand to offer spiritual guidance. Those with nowhere else to go will have access to accommodation and work.
In the “House for Mum” crisis centre which is being set up in the city of Shakhty in the Rostov oblast, women are being offered the chance to train for a new profession with the centre providing sewing workshops. Sewing and needlework courses are also being organised in the “Unexpected Joy” shelter in Ekaterinburg. Women are being taught hairdressing skills in the “House of Mum – Hope” Orthodox Centre in Sarapul (Republic of Udmurt).
Maria Studenikina, Director of the “House for Mum” crisis centre, explained that the main aim of these places is to prevent abortions and to stop children being abandoned.
The rules of the “Orthodox Initiative” competition stipulated that the winners had to set up grant supported centres no later than 20 January 2018. The allocated money will go towards repairs and in getting premises up and ready, specialists’ salaries, purchase of essential furniture and equipment, as well as items such as hygiene and food products.
There are currently 48 church-run crisis centres and more than 80 humanitarian help centres operating in Russia.
The International Open Grants’ Competition “Orthodox Initiative” has been running since 2015. There were 267 successful projects during 2016-17 with a total grant fund of 115,000,000 roubles.