Ross Nave Photography


Much of our time in Yaroslavl was spent working with orphans. We were able to work in what seemed to be every tier of the orphanage system. 

The lowest tier of this system is called "The Shelter". The shelter is a facility that temporarily houses the children of parents who are unable to provide proper upbringing. After some time (typically several months), if the parents are still unable to provide for their families, the children are transferred into an orphanage. Unfortunately, from my understanding, approximately 80% of the children are not able to return to their parents. Many of the parents lose their children because of their addiction to alcohol. 

The highest tier of this system is called "The Children's Hospital". The Children's Hospital is a facility that houses orphans who either continuously misbehave or are unable to keep up with the educational activities within their orphanage. It was a difficult place to comprehend. The ages of the children ranged from around 5 years old to around 15 years old; they were all placed together. The staff rarely interacted with the children, unless disciplinary action was necessary. It seemed the children were left to fend for themselves. 

The most difficult part to comprehend was the quality of the facility itself. The paint was pealing off of the walls, the smell was horrendous, the children were only allowed to bathe once every 10 days, and before we even reached the children, we had to pass through two locked doors. Many of the children were not allowed to exit the building to join us on the playground. It is hard to imagine a good outcome for the children in these facilities.