In 1992, we opened a home for girls in a rented house. We started with three young girls, whom were between 5 and 6 years old. Today, the Home for Children without Parents is a permanent fixture and a home to 40 children, between the ages of 5 and 18 years of age, with a senior girls’ home in operation for those over 18 now working or continuing with higher studies. Having started only as a home for girls, a home for boys was opened on the same campus in June 2011 which now caters to 14 boys.
Most of the children living at Russ have lost either one or both of their parents, and all of the children are either CIA (Children infected with HIV/AIDS) or CAA (Children affected by HIV/AIDS). The successful integration of all of these children, including those infected with HIV/AIDS, was a big challenge but also one that has made a big impact and one that stands Russ Foundation apart from many other organisations. Russ Foundation also focuses on children of female sex workers and other people from high risk backgrounds.
All of the children attend school or college, with the younger children attending Carlsson Nursery & Primary School on the same campus. Around 20 girls have now graduated with bachelors, masters and diplomas in many fields, including several who are now working in various Russ Foundation programmes. All of these graduated girls have jobs and several are married and starting families of their own.
At home, the children are cared for by a dedicated team of staff, who all live together with the children as one family.