Bolshaya Peremena (Big Change)
Context: The situation for Russia’s 500,000 orphans and those who work with them is highly dynamic. Most orphanages in Moscow used to have schools on site but as of September 2013, all schools are to close and orphans are to be relocated to community schools. While the intention was to give orphanage kids better exposure to community and allow better socialization, the community schools are not ready on such short notice and lack the trained staff to work with this number of orphans.
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 5th grant to Big Change helps provide educational and transitional support to 25 young women and men in residential institution. Big Change will also document further the lessons from its programmatic practice and disseminate its approach through engagement with both key NGOs and institutions as well as government officials.