Orphanage #1

“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in distress.” (James 1:27) At Orphanage #1 in Samara, Russia, Director Tamara Turkina looks after 128 orphans, ages 7 to 18, many of whom were taken from their families because of alcoholism or drug abuse. From that dark place, these children are given a chance at a new life. In addition to nine years of compulsory schooling, the children are encouraged to complete two more years that qualify them for studying at a university. At the orphanage, classes are offered in art, dancing, painting, crafts, sewing, cooking, physical education, theater, choir and band, to name a few—none of which are required by the government. The classes are of such high quality that other parents in the community will send their children to the orphanage for them. Members of Samara UMC also bring a faith component to the orphanage by offering Bible study and times of worship. Her aim, Tamara says, is to have a vision for each child beyond life at the orphanage, and to help them reach those goals. Surely that is pure religion as God intended.