RUSSIA: Strengthening families and supporting children

The social and economic upheaval following the collapse of the Soviet Union left many families in Russia struggling to survive. Thousands of children are neglected, abandoned, and living on the streets, while an estimated 113,000 live in institutions.  With the fastest growing HIV epidemic in the world, Russia also faces high rates of abandonment of babies born to HIV-positive women.

Supporting at-risk youth
Since 1994, Doctors of the World–USA (DOW) has been working in St. Petersburg to provide community-based services to street and at-risk children and youth.  Our innovative programs offer safe places for young people to access a range of support services and help youth find alternatives to living in the streets or in institutions. We provide comprehensive case management and life counseling, work to restore biological family support or support foster family placement, and offer crisis and transitional housing.  DOW also helps street and at-risk children and youth access HIV testing and treatment, and works to prevent the spread of HIV among this marginalized and disregarded population.

Helping HIV-positive mothers keep their children
Since its launch in 2005, the successful MAMA+ Project to Prevent the Abandonment of Children Born to HIV-positive Mothers has empowered hundreds of HIV-positive mothers to keep their children, and is serving as a model for similar projects in the region.  The MAMA+ project offers services to enable often disenfranchised HIV-positive mothers to access vital services while gaining the knowledge, skills, and confidence to keep their families together.

Comprehensive and long-term solutions
To ensure project sustainability and provide support to our partners, DOW co-founded a local nonprofit organization,
Doctors to Children, for joint implementation of many projects.  DOW’s community-based services have also strengthened the local government’s support for child welfare and human rights, and have created vital connections between public services, local organizations, and people in need.


Support for HIV+ Street Youth

Support for Street and At-Risk Youth

MAMA+ Project