Life Beyond the Village

Nastya was only five when she first came to SOS Children’s Villages Kandalaksha, in the north of Russia.

“I liked my life in the village,” says Nastya, now 17. “I liked everything. Mother was good. Now I see how lucky I was to be in the SOS family.”

Last year, Nastya finished secondary school in Kandalaksha and moved into a SOS Youth Home in the city of Murmansk. It was a big change in her life.

“I was afraid,” she says, “But it turned out to be better than I expected. We cook there and take more responsibility in everyday life. I love it.”

Nastya is still very close with her SOS mother, and often visits with her.

“When we meet, we chat about everything over a cup of tea just like friends. I tell her about the way my life goes and she gives me advice and comforts me if I’m worried or sad. And then of course she treats me with her lovely 'mom’s food’ that reminds me of the time when we lived in the village,” she says with a smile.

Today, Nastya is in her second year of Pedagogical College where she is training to become a nursery teacher. This is fitting, she says, as she would always take care of her younger siblings when her SOS mother would have to run errands.

Her favourite subjects are Children’s Literature, Speech Development and Child Psychology. She plans to graduate in two years, and is thrilled that her dream of working with children is becoming a reality.

“Little children are so cute and funny,” she says. “I think I can keep them happy. They never bore me. I would like to have many children in my own family.”

Nastya is looking to the future, and it looks bright. She hopes to move to a bigger city, like Saint-Petersburg or Moscow, when she graduates to find a job, and maybe afterwards obtain a university degree in child psychology.

Soon, Nastya will be able to live on her own. When asked if she is ready to live independently, she says with a smile - ‘Not quite yet. I know I’m able to achieve my goals and get along with others – the things that I’ve learnt in my SOS family and at the youth home. I’ve also learnt many practical things like cooking, washing, managing money and so forth but still I need somebody to rely on, somebody to ask for advice or just talk to when I feel down.' When Nastya turns 18, she will move into her very own apartment. SOS Children's Villages will continue to support her financially and otherwise until she finishes college and starts her career, and the relationship that she has with her SOS mother is for life.

The transition into adulthood and path to employment and self-sufficiency can be challenging for many young people around the world today. It is especially difficult for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds and communities with high unemployment rates.

High-impact training programs like those offered through SOS Youth Facilities are essential, and are needed on a larger scale.

Canadian's wishing to support SOS Children's Villages are encouraged to sponsor a child, sponsor a village or to make a direct donation. Your support ensures that SOS Children's Villages can continue to provide a safe and loving home to orphan and abandoned children worldwide.