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8 April 2021: ChildAidComputer image of a happy boy in a wheelchair being pushed by a smiling girl

Today we heard from Stephen Barbor of ChildAid. This charity supports children’s charities in countries that were formerly part of the Soviet Union, including the Siberian area of Russia. Unfortunately these countries have inherited from the Soviet era a very disparaging attitude to orphans and to disabled children.

If you end up in an orphanage you must be a bad child of bad parents, for which you have to be punished.

If you are born disabled, it must be due to some fault on the part of your mother. It is regarded as very shameful to have a disabled child, so many are abandoned. The father is likely to separate from the mother. If he doesn’t he could be censured himself for continuing to associate with such a woman.

Stephen gave us the example of one orphanage girl who, at the age of fourteen, was sold for the equivalent of £4 to be groomed as a prostitute. Luckily she was rescued from that situation and moved to one of the projects ChildAid supports.

ChildAid works with twelve local organisations in the former Soviet countries helping disadvantaged children and their families. They have a total of 21 projects. These can help with such things as food, clothing, education and remedial therapies. One of the aims is to reduce the risk of children being abandoned.

As well as working with local charities, ChildAid also works in partnership with Rotary Clubs in the United Kingdom, the European Union and the target countries.