Does it frustrate you when people who are capable of working receive handouts and government funds? Well it does us too.
The problem in Romania is that young people who come from orphanages learn very little about the real world. They are not required to do anything. This creates laziness, dependency and a whole host of irresponsible and harmful behaviors.
So the orphan is forced to leave the orphanage and to attempt to make her way in the world. This is almost always a disaster. She is completely incapable of surviving in regular society. She has been conditioned to be dependent on someone else.
This young person quickly finds herself on the streets with no opportunities. She joins a gang. She begins stealing and doing drugs. And, many times, she prostitutes herself. Pimps and human traffickers are usually not too far behind.
How to stop this cycle!? We believe that the only way to stop this cycle is for the orphan to learn a completely different way of life. She must change her whole way of thinking – her whole way of being – in order to get by in the tough, post-communist Romanian society.
At the Beauty from Ashes Center for Orphan Girls our program is designed to change lives – spiritually, educationally, socially, and physically. We require the girls to work. But how can they work when they are incapable of the most menial tasks!?
And so for the past year we have worked hard to create a greeting card business for them to work in. Through this business we are able to teach them a new way of life. They learn to work. They learn to be responsible. They learn to budget and to save their money. They receive raises and promotions when they do well.
All of the girls at the Beauty from Ashes Center work and receive a fair wage. They must pay rent out of their salary. Therefore they learn the value of hard work and money.
We are immensely pleased with the results so far. We break the cycle of dependency – instead teaching them to be independent. They advance in their schooling. They hear about Christ and are discipled. Their lives are changed.
Because of the hard work and change required in our program we may never see huge numbers of orphans enrolling. That is all right. We accept the ones God brings us and we work intensely with them.
Due to the success of this “business as missions” venture, we will likely be focusing more and more of our attention on helping to create employment opportunities for orphans in the future.