When young people aged between 17 and 23 leave state care in Russia they are not prepared for the adult life. The orphanages do not have procedures in place to help their young leavers to learn to live independently. As the leavers are very often unable to cope with the challenges of their new life unsupported by the state care, they are likely to become homeless, unemployed or to involve in crime and risky behaviour. Young people often feel isolated, find it hard to maintain relationships and have poorer health.

GraduatesHelp Impact awarded a grant to the UK-based charity St Gregory’s Foundation on a project to prepare orphanage-leavers practically and emotionally for their new independent life. St Gregory’s Foundation works with a partner Sunflower Centre in St Petersburg which performs this programme. The project is implemented by psychologists with the help of volunteers who also grew up in orphanages. It is scheduled to run from September 2020 until May 2021.


This project provides psychological support and social and life skills training for 60-100 young people who have just left or will shortly leave orphanages. Activities include:

  • Group and individual counselling
  • Life skills course
  • Individual home visits
  • Group outings

The programme is performed by psychologists, social workers and also volunteers who grew up in orphanages and now use their own experience to help younger orphans.

Project objectives

The project objectives are:

  • To provide emotional support to the young orphanage leavers
  • To widen their social network
  • To prepare them for their future family life
  • To help them to take responsibility for their own lives and solve problems themselves.

The above shall not only result in the increase of the quality of life of the state care leavers but also will benefit the whole community as anti-social behaviour and crime rates are likely to decrease.