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Sunday, March 7, 2010

Homeless Children Suffering In Russia

The problem of homeless children is not a new one in Russia. During the 1920s thousands of children took to the streets in the aftermath of the civil war, and following World War II millions were orphaned. The precipitating crisis in today’s case, however, is a decade of economic decline, and it encompasses the breadth of Russia. There are as many as 100,000 street children in Moscow.

Homeless children in Russia today have good reason to distrust the adults in their lives. Many of them were abandoned by their parents--some directly to state orphanages out of economic necessity; some through neglect and abuse that causes the children to run away. One boy interviewed by Fujimura was told by his father that he was not allowed to spend the night at home if he did not return with a bottle of vodka. Other children simply fall through the cracks in the Russian legal system. Another boy interviewed by Fujimura traveled to Moscow from Kyrgyzstan with his family. Along the way, the father deserted the family, his infant brother died en route, and his mother was sentenced to seven years in prison for assault. Now the boy is trapped in a Moscow shelter without status, ineligible to go into a Moscow orphanage.

Once on the street, children develop a sense of power in providing for themselves, a sense of belonging in the street culture that they create, and a distrust of adults. The institutions and orphanages offered by adults are not perceived as alternatives, but as shelters of last resort to be used temporarily in times of dire need. Such places are under-financed and understaffed, and provide little more than shelter and mediocre food. When living on the streets, homeless children are driven by the need for immediate gratification. Once their immediate physical needs for food and shelter are met, they look for something to take away physical and emotional pain--drugs and alcohol being the most common solution. Engaged in crime and drug abuse, these children risk falling into the most abusive and threatening institution of all--prison.

Even in such terrible conditions, the children feel themselves empowered within their constructed culture of self-reliance. They further define their future success in opposition to the adult society that rejects them. Boys commonly dream of being well-paid killers, and girls routinely aspire to be prostitutes for wealthy westerners.

For More Pictures : Homeless Youth Of Russia

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1 comments: on "Homeless Children Suffering In Russia"

donate car said...

Authorities should have empathy for the homeless children. I hope that these kids could have a chance to see life differently.

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