When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, its shaky orphan-care system also fell. No other country has such a severe alcohol abuse problem as Russia. Officials estimate that 40% of men and 7% of women are alcoholics.
Over 750,000 documented children live in orphanages, ranging in age from newborns to 18 years-old, with another 1.2 million living on the streets. An orphan’s average life expectancy is less than 30 years.
Statistics show that only one out of ten Russian orphans becomes a functional member of society. Between the ages 15-18, children are forced to leave the orphanages with little or no formal schooling, very limited life skills, and no one to turn to for assistance. Within the first year of leaving the orphanage, over 40% are involved in prostitution or crime, another 40% are addicted to drugs or alcohol, and another 10% commit suicide.
SunErgos partners with orphanages in Saint Petersburg and Velikiy Novgorod. Through summer camps and weekly visits, SunErgos Staff and Volunteers share warmth, food and hope with those that have been abandoned by their families.