An Epidemic of Hopelessness

Unlike in most other countries, as many as 95% of Russian orphans have a living parent and are considered social orphans. Poverty, alcoholism, drug abuse and other social problems are the primary reasons that parents abandon their children to Russian orphanages or lose their parental rights. In fact, the Russian Ministry of Education has reported that 30-40% of the country's orphan population are children from alcoholic families.

Each child in a state-run orphanage is diagnosed as either normal or disabled at the age of four. Research has found that more than two-thirds of the children in Russian institutions have been wrongly diagnosed as mentally deficient and given the label "imbecile" for the rest of their lives with little hope for change.

Those children classified as normal usually remain in a state-supported orphanage until they are approximately 16-17 years of age. Typically, they are ill-equipped for life on their own, and many fail to successfully make the transition from institutional to independent living. As the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Russia explodes (AIDS in Russia is growing faster than in any other country in the world), orphans become an increasingly at-risk group.

According to the 1998 Human Rights Watch Report entitled Abandoned to the State, of the more than 15,000 children who leave orphanages each year:

  • 6,000 will be homeless
  • 5,000 will be unemployed
  • 3,000 will turn to crime
  • 1,500 will commit suicide within a few years

More recently, the Russian Ministry of Education found that of those orphans aging out of institutions:

  • 50% fall into a high-risk category
  • 40% become drug users
  • 40% commit crimes
  • 10% commit suicide

Source: Children at Risk in Russia,

Ministry Overview

Comfort Foundation's goal is to give orphans and underprivileged children in Russia the opportunity to overcome this Epidemic of Hopelessness and to respond to God's love for them. The children receive this amazing gift through the support and care shown to them by our Russian staff and visitors from the United States and Europe. One child reflected the feeling of this care when he expressed to one of the visiting Americans, "My mom won't come across the street to see me, but you came all the way across the ocean!"

Comfort Foundation works to create a network of prayer and financial supporters from churches, organizations and individuals in the United States and Europe who will partner with us in long-term ministry enabling us to meet the needs of the children in Vologda, Cherepovets and the surrounding region.

We currently focus our efforts on children living in orphanages, foster children, and children and families in serious need. In Vologda, the staff visits orphanages and runs programs out of the office. The programs include the Graduates Club, which helps children from orphanages successfully transition to independent living and the Image Studio program to assist young women in gaining self-confidence and skills. In Cherepovets, the team is focused on a high-need, low-income area called New Corners. The staff in Cherepovets, who developed the Image Studio program, runs similar programs with the children in that area, as well as camps with crafts and lessons with purpose.

In the summer and other times during the year, the staff in Vologda and Cherepovets, assisted by teams from the United States and Europe, run day camps for the children. If you are interested in volunteering with a group or individually, visit the Get Involved page for more information.