Sarapul, Russia, July 13, 2017
A new Church shelter for pregnant women and women with children in difficult situations has opened in Sarapul, Russia, 700 miles east of Moscow. The new center is the 51st of its kind, reports the Synodal Department for Charity and Social Services.
The shelter opened in a small brick building on the territory of a former kindergarten—the city administration allocated the premises at the request of the diocese. Repairs and the installation of furniture and necessary equipment were accomplished by volunteers and philanthropists. The shelter is ready to receive its first residents, able to hold up to four women with children at one time.
“We are actively working on preventing abortions in our diocese, and several times we have had to look for refuge for women who were on the streets, but we had to nowhere to settle them,” noted the head of the Social Department of the Sarapul Diocese Archpriest Michael Pimenov. “We were obliged by the offices of the pre-abortion counseling in women’s advisory services, where Orthodox psychologists work, to send them to crisis centers in other dioceses. And now we have a place to shelter them,” the priest added.
The area of the new shelter is 645 sq. ft. There is a large living room, kitchen, and bathroom unit. There is room for developing a garden in the yard, and women can take up sewing there—all the necessary equipment exists already at the shelter.
“Employees of the Sarapul Diocese have done a great job; they carried out a major overhaul in the building and consulted with us, the staff of the Moses crisis center ‘Home for Moms,’ on a number of questions on organizing the shelter,” said the head of the Synodal Department for Charity’s anti-abortion movement and director of the “Home for Mothers” Moscow crisis center Maria Studenikina.
The shelter was opened thanks to funds from the international grant competition “Orthodox Initiative.” There is also a center for humanitarian aid, and two offices of psychological care in women’s consultations in the Sarapul Diocese that opened thanks to the competition.
The “Orthodox Initiative” contest has been held since 2005, initiated and organized by the Charitable Foundation of St. Seraphim of Sarov. The contest has continued under the auspices of the Russian Orthodox Church’s Coordinating Committee for the Promotion of Social, Educational, Informational, Cultural and other initiatives since 2010. 267 projects won grants in 2016 and 2017, amounting to 115 million rubles (about $2 million).
In total, there are 51 active shelters for pregnant women and mothers with their children in Russia, organized with the participation of the Church. 50 of the have opened in the past six years. Moreover, there are 115 Church centers for humanitarian aid, with 14 new centers planned to be opened by the end of 2017.