Bolshaya Peremena (Big Change)
Context: The situation for Russia’s 800,000 orphans and those who work with them is highly dynamic and has become politicized. The law prohibiting US nationals from adopting Russian orphans has unleashed a series of other changes as well.
Organization: Big Change (BC) was founded in 2002 by a group of teachers desiring to help orphanage graduates successfully integrate into society. BC works with orphans and orphanage graduates to obtain an education, choose a job path and gain the confidence and skills required for independence (such as resolving problems independently). BC collaborates with educators, social workers and other childcare professionals and volunteers to identify the most effective ways of supporting orphaned youth to realize their potential and become independent adults.
Current Grant: EMpower’s fourth grant will build on methodological improvements Big Change has made, and will enable it to influence how other entities (both governmental and NGOs) work with orphans, to increase the effectiveness of their approaches and the scale of its model. Laws and regulations with orphans are in a state of flux in Russia and this is an important moment to influence the sector. Moreover, Big Change has the track record, experience and earned reputation to garner interest among its peers in trying and adapting its approaches. During the period of this grant and with the proposed changes, Big Change’s role may shift from being a service provider to a resource for other organizations working with orphans.