Russia (MNN) — The suffering of children from domestic violence could get worse as families deal with the hopeless outlook of COVID-19 in the former Soviet Union.
Yesterday we reported about the spike in domestic abuse resulting from the worldwide COVID-19 lockdowns. We focused on spousal abuse, stemming from false cultural views of men and women in South Asia. But children suffer domestic violence just as often.
“I’ve been told the kids that are in the orphanages are the lucky kids,” says Eric Mock of Slavic Gospel Association, adding that only 30% of orphans in Russia are “true orphans.” Their parents may still be alive but they offer no help. If they don’t live in orphanages, many kids just live in the street.
He relates two stories from the former Soviet Union. One girl saw her mother kill her father with an axe, while another hid behind the stove in the house for weeks, hiding from her mother’s boyfriend after trying to eat a crust of bread from the table.
Mock says, “When I was in Tajikistan I actually met an unbelieving mother who sold one of her three daughters at age 11 to human traffickers to feed the other two children. . . But this mother, who was an orphan herself, almost looked at me with surprise. If that’s what she needed to do to care for her other two kids, that’s what she would do.”
What causes the home experience of these children to be so horrific? Often the parents struggle with drug and alcohol addictions. Most often, these families live shrouded in overwhelming hopelessness.
They do not have access, Mock says, to the resources we do in the United States, either medical or economic. They do not live with the daily hope that they will be able to provide for their families.
And with the pandemic making inroads into Russia, their government will offer them no hope, Mock says. “In other countries, there is no support checks. There is no Congress working together to take care of their own country. It’s every person for themselves. And so these kids very clearly are at the end of the food chain.”
SGA’s Orphans Reborn program works with orphans, and even keeps track of kids after they leave the orphanage. Mock says, “The children up until age 18 are really tracked as far as the government’s concerned, but after they leave the orphanage, many times the church does its best to keep track of these children and minister to them.”
That’s why Orphans Reborn works with local churches to provide aid to the kids, and even give them places to stay when they can’t safely stay at home. SGA shares the Gospel with these children, telling them of God who has not abandoned this bleak, hopeless world, but who is bringing hope and joy into it through Jesus Christ.
Christ over COVID-19
Mock says, “SGA soon is going to be putting out a 31 days of prayer, Christ over COVID: Much Prayer Much Power. We want to set the focus on prayer.” Believers can pray that these orphans would be filled with the hope of Christ. Pray also that Christians working with the orphans and families would be able to minister well in safety.
Consider getting behind the Orphans Reborn program to help local churches in the Soviet Union minister to orphans and their families.
Pray most of all that the former Soviet Union would see the transformation of Christ and that light and hope would visit the land.
Map of lockdowns in Russia. The lighter areas are only partial lockdowns. (Photo courtesy of Wikipedia Commons)