Russian Church opens three shelters for mothers, children’s hospital in one week

Russia, June 7, 2019

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Within the span of a week, the Russian Orthodox Church opened three new shelters for mothers in difficult situations and a children’s hospice in various locations throughout Russia.

The Hope shelter for women in crisis pregnancies opened in Kyrgyzstan on Monday at the Holy Resurrection Cathedral as a joint project of three countries: Kyrgyzstan, Russia, and Germany. The shelter can accommodate up to four women at the same time and accepts everyone, regardless of nationality and religion, reports the press service of the Synodal Department for Charity and Social Services.

The German embassy in Kyrgyzstan partially paid for the renovation of the premises and the Co-Operation Foundation allocated funds within framework of the international Orthodox Initiative competition for the purchase of equipment, and the Social Service Department of the Bishkek Diocese co-financed all stages of the project.

“The main goal of our shelter is to help women in difficult situations choose motherhood,” said Social Department head Elena Ivanova. The shelter helps mothers care for their children and teaches them how to resolve the problems of motherhood themselves. Shelter staff will continue to help the women within the framework of other diocesan social projects once they begin to live independently.

Assistance is also offered to those pregnant women who have a place to live but face other serious problems.

Additionally, the Social Department of the Astrakhan Diocese opened a shelter on May 31 with funds from the Synodal Department’s financial competition. A new shelter was also opened in Murmansk on June 5 with the support of the Murmansk Diocese.

Another center for women was also opened earlier in May in the village of Kurgan in the Rostov Province. It is presently home to 11 people.

Over the past 8 years, the Russian Church has opened 63 shelters for women in crisis situations, and over 100 new humanitarian aid centers over the past 3 years. Today, there are 64 shelters for women and more than 180 humanitarian centers.

And in Pavlovsk, 18 miles south of St. Petersburg, a children’s hospice hospitality was opened in a formerly abandoned building in a local park on June 4, reports the Metropolia of St. Petersburg.

The opening was preceded by presentations and activities for children, including performances from acrobats and a petting zoo.

“By your professionalism you have shown that health care can be good and medical institutions comfortable,” Fr. Alexander Tkachenko, the hospice director, said, thanking the organizers of the hospice.

The hospice has 8 spaces for children to live with their parents, each designed as an apartment with a private bathroom and equipped with medical equipment. There are also games, sensory rooms, and spacious living rooms.

The hospice has been providing medical, social, psychological, and spiritual assistance to 400 sick children every year for more than 15 years.

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