Orphanage for Children with Physical Disabilities
Even in the most developed countries, advocates struggle to obtain civil rights and humane treatment for disabled people, but Russia seems to be moving slower than most.Wheelchair ramps, accessible public transportation and other adaptations have not been made available for those with mobility limitations in Russia.
There are over 20,000 children with physical disabilities living in Russian orphanages. Almost 95% are “social orphans,” given away by their parents at birth because of their disabilities. Many people consider this course of action to be the most reasonable, seeing the task of raising a child with disabilities as “a cross you must bear your whole life.” Most Russian orphans who are in wheelchairs spend their entire childhood inside the walls of the orphanage, because the outside environment is not accessible. Then between the ages of 18 and 23 they graduate from the system and must leave the orphanage, with very limited education and life skills. Statistics shows that within the first year of leaving the orphanage, over 50% of orphans turn to prostitution, become pregnant, or are convicted of a crime. Over 60% become addicted to drugs or alcohol, and 10% commit suicide.
At Big Dreams Children’s Foundation, we are committed to changing this future for as many children as we possibly can. We have partnered up with Project Orphan Outreach and Reverend Kathryn Adams and Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children for this ongoing mission. We lend our support by helping children get out of wheelchairs and walk on prosthetics, sponsoring educational trips, and most importantly, giving them the love and attention they deserve.
With this shared effort we have been able to change the fate of a few children.
Kolya had no legs and only one arm, and was wheelchair-bound. We helped him get prosthetics in the U.S., and he was soon able to walk on his own. In 2016, he walked up Mount Everest on his prosthetic legs, as part of a disability awareness program in Russia.
Vlad had no legs, and was in a wheelchair. We sponsored a trip for him to come to the US to get prosthetics. He is now in his 20s and has graduated from the orphanage. His prosthetics and his personal strength made it possible for him to become a member of the Russian Paralympic curling team.
Stas was missing one leg and had been walking on crutches his entire life, which led to severe scoliosis and numerous spine surgeries. Big Dreams Children’s Foundation helped him to come to the US and get a prosthetic leg, which not only made it easier for him to walk but also relieved pressure on his back and hopefully prevented more spine surgeries.
Dennis needed a complicated surgery to save his leg from amputation after it got severely injured at a fire accident. We partnered with the Scottish Rite Hospital for Children to help him get this important procedure.
Phil has severe arthrogryposis, with very limited movement, We helped him get evaluated at Scottish Rite and purchased a custom-made power wheelchair with a head array and many custom add-ons that make it possible for Phil to operate the wheelchair himself. He no longer has to wait for others to push him—and his new chair can also ascend curbs, so he can join the kids when they go for walks outside the orphanage.
We are looking forward to helping many more children—and we need your help to make the greatest impact.
We plan to continue helping orphans by pairing them with special programs that suit their individual needs and interests and provide them with quality prosthetics in the United States.
We look ahead to our plan of opening an Assistance Center near the Orphanage. The Center will be the site for highly specialized professionals to teach kids invaluable skills for their independent living outside the walls of the Orphanage after graduation. The center will also host Vocational Education and Occupational Therapies, that is suited to each of their specific disabilities. This skill building is the key to their ability to support themselves or supplement their source of income.
Each and every contribution helps us get one step closer to both fulfilling much needed individual services to an individual Orphan in need and also to our future plan to build The Center. We are so grateful for each and every sponsor and donation and hope that we can count on your support.
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