Hannah's Hands: Providing Love to Abandoned Children in Russia

"I am the woman who stood here beside you praying to the Lord. I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him. So now I give him to the Lord." — 1 Samuel 1:27-28

We all know that providing every child with welcoming arms of love is critical to their development. For the children brought to Crisis Center #15 in St Petersburg, Russia, the Hannah’s Hands program provides them that love at the time they need it most. Children brought to the Crisis Center have been abused, neglected, or abandoned. In St. Petersburg, most of the children who enter the orphanage system have their first stop at the Crisis Center.

A first look at the Center is devastating. The children’s heads are shaved to prevent the spread of lice. The Center is crowded with as many as 20 infants and toddlers and 40-60 older children, all under the supervision of one or two paid government workers. The children here have suffered through an array of unimaginable tragedies. Many of the children suffer from diseases including HIV or AIDS.

The diseases these children endure are only part of the story. The consequences of neglect are just as damaging, stunting a child’s cognitive, emotional, and social development as well as causing a variety of physical problems, in some cases as severe as death. The single staff member is hardly enough to meet the physical needs of these children, let alone their psychological, emotional, and spiritual needs. 

“When we found that there was so few [employees] working at the Crisis Center, we wanted to supplement their staff,” said Amy Norton, program director at Orphan Outreach.

Enter Hannah’s Hands, an Orphan Outreach initiative that hires Christian women to care for the children in the Crisis Center.  They feed, change, bathe, and pray over the children for the 30-90 days that the children wait to be placed in orphanages. For a modest pay, these women act as caregivers and instruments of Christ's love to these children. 

Named after the biblical figure who offered her son, Samuel, to the Lord, Hannah’s Hands offers a warm embrace and a sincere heartfelt kindness that these children need in a trying time of their lives.  They attend to the higher needs of the children that otherwise would not be met by the government staff. 

For the second half of 2010, the Crisis Center was closed for much needed major renovations. The new renovations have extremely improved the physical environment the children are in, but by far the most important need they have is loving care. Orphan Outreach desperately needs to raise the money to re-hire all the Hannah’s Hands women so the children will receive the love and nurture these wonderful Christian women provide.

“Hannah’s Hands women work in shifts to make sure there is someone at the Crisis Center at all times to care for the children,” Norton said, “but, we need to raise support for their salaries. A monthly salary is $400 a month for full-time and $200 a month for part-time.”

Click here to support Orphan Outreach’s work through Hannah’s Hand
Orphan Outreach is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization
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