Back in 2005, ROOF opened the “Abilitation Center” in Porkhov – a program that enables graduates of Belskoye-Ustye Psycho-Neurological to “make a go” of life outside the institution, rather than being transferred to homes for the elderly/mental institutions at age 18. In seven years, the Abilitation Center program has had the same number of residents, three of whom have already gone on to live elsewhere, independently.
Of our four current residents, one works as the caretaker of ROOF Baranovo House Volunteer Base and already lives more or less independently at Baranovo. Another resident has medical conditions, including severe asthma, which mean that he will never be able to live alone. ROOF’s Sergei Andreev and wife Nadezhda have recently decided to assume permanent, life-long custody of this resident, and are now making necessary arrangements! Our other two residents stay with us for 4 days per week, as they are still underage and still live officially at the orphanage. Our goal is to gradually take on more younger residents, starting earlier to equip the young people for life outside of the institution. Of course, our ultimate goal for every resident is that he or she should find a “family” and build those mutual bonds that will carry him or her through the rest of life.
The Abilitation Center program presently enjoys a total of 28,000 RUR (around $1000) sponsorship per month from two private sources. Generous gifts to the program at Christmas time 2012 have made it possible for us to raise our monthly program budget by another 30% during the course of 2013.
- significant repairs to the Abilitation Centre house, itself, which are likely to run upwards of 300,000 RUR ($10K USD) even if we are able to use volunteer labour;
- a further increase in monthly budget by at least 6000 RUR ($200) for each further young resident that we take on;
- constant prayers that: we will be able to negotiate this difficult time for work with orphanage children in the wisest way, and for growing spiritual support in and through local ROC (Russian Orthodox Church) parishes.
 The Baranovo House Volunteer Base hosts ROOF’s summer camp, as well as being home for ROOF volunteers who visit to work with the orphanage children throughout the year. Over the past years, some volunteers have even lived at Baranovo for months or years, increasing to nearly constant our contact with the orphanage children.
 Although ROOF is still intent to help this young man gain rights to a home of his own. He, too, is without a place to call home. His case is a little more complicated than the other boys’ cases because he was already over 23 years old when ROOF began the arduous process of trying to lobby the Pskov Oblast to allocate housing for the boys. There is a law that says housing must be allocated to orphans by the age of 23. Of course the intention of the law is to ensure that the State allocates housing without delay, but in this case our resident’s age is being understood as a reason that the State no longer bears responsibility.