A brief overview and sponsorship status in Russia
Please note: In compliance with Russian law, we do not share identifying information about any of the institutions or children with whom we work with the exception of #5, the Russian Christian Foster Home. Other orphanages will be named using numbers and no individuals will be identified.
In Western Russia
A favorite destination for many Boaz short-term team members, Orphanage #1 is home to approximately 40 preschool children. For 16 years, our donors have provided these precious young ones with basic necessities like medicine and clothing as well as Bible Discovery Classes lead by Russian believers. In addition, we offer birthday and Christmas presents. The director is warm and receptive to our teams and works to create a nurturing “home” environment for the children.
Orphanage #3 is unique among The Boaz Project Homes in that it is not technically an orphanage, but a rehabilitation center. This is an attempt by the Russian government to work with children and families in cases where the parents have been stripped of their rights to their children due to abuse, addictions, neglect, etc. The institution typically has about 36 children, each of whom has measurable goals he or she is encouraged to achieve, as do the parents. The hope is that the two will be reunited, but it is often for only a short time before the child is removed from the home once again and placed into an orphanage permanently.
The director of this orphanage loves The Boaz Project, especially our construction teams! Set in a very rural village, Orphanage #2 is unique among Boaz homes in several regards. It is an internot, which means it is home and school for children with learning disabilities. The practical skill focus of the internot is agriculture, so the approximately 60 school-aged children spend a majority of their time working in the fields and caring for livestock. The institution is spread across a larger territory, encompassing several buildings.
Since the inception of The Boaz Project, its leadership has dreamed of providing an alternative to the state-run orphanage system for orphans in Russia. In 2011, an amazing couple’s calling to start a Christian foster home in Vladimir has been the start to making this vision a reality. When Sergei and Zhenya Zaozersky met while attending the Moscow Evangelical Seminary, they discovered that each had been given a call by God to start a Christian children’s home. Now a married couple living in Vladimir, Russia, Sergei and Zhenya are setting a powerful example to Christians across Russia by dedicating their lives to loving, caring for, and taking in the orphans that have been shunned by society since Stalin. Russia is said to be home to somewhere between 750,000 to 8 million orphans. Why do these numbers vary so greatly? Because these abandoned children are considered the very lowest in Russian society, and keeping accurate records on them is not at all their government’s priority. The Boaz Project has come alongside Sergei and Zhenya as they continue to work towards making their vision reality and provide exactly this to Russian orphans– a stable, Godly, healing family environment.
In Eastern Russia
Orphanage #5 is an apparent paradox. While the number of orphans who succeed academically and pursue higher education there crush the statistics, there is also tremendous evidence and testimony of abuse in this institution. In 2011, the orphanage was selected by Putin to be renovated and the physical structure is now quite impressive! But within the freshly-painted walls, hurt and pain remain with the nearly 95 school-aged children who live there.
Olya has been exposed to the ministries of The Boaz Project since 2001. After graduating from the orphanage in 2007, she returned weekly to teach Bible lessons, despite the director’s warnings not to. “I know what it is like to live there,” Olya said. “You think no one cares about you, whether you are alive or dead. But now I know God loved me all that time, and the kids who still live there need to know that, too.”
Nearly 75 school-aged children live in Orphanage #6. It is a large institution in a rural setting. The director relates well to Boaz Russian personnel who teach weekly Bible Discovery Classes and she seems to have the best interests of the children in mind. It is a very poor orphanage which relies heavily on donations from The Boaz Project’s donors.
This institution is actually a hospital with a wing for abandoned babies. Sometimes the children are hospitalized for medical issues; sometimes it is only because it takes a long time to get the child admitted to the orphanage system after a mother refuses her rights to the child. There are very few caregivers for the infants. The work of The Boaz Project’s baby nurturers is evident in the responsiveness of the more than 100 babies who are there at any given time.