Friday, October 23, 2009

Pajamas for Russian Orphans

I'm helping to organize an activity at church to make pajamas for Russian orphans. A family from our area moved there a couple of years ago. The woman who gave us the information doesn't speak Russian but decided she could still help and has been actively involved in volunteer work for disabled orphans. As she explains it:

"There are about a thousand kids in orphanages in our region here. Most of them are not really orphans but are called social orphans or foster kids. They have one or two parents, but the parents have either had the children removed from the home because of drug or alcohol abuse or physical abuse or because they are in the prison system. Some have been abandoned for economic reasons. The state takes care of them until they are 16 years old and then gives them a small stipend to go to school or just work in the community. Most of the children who graduate at 16 have some serious issues within a few years of graduation. The orphans that would be receiving the pajamas are all disabled children. There are no facilities in Russia to accommodate the disabled in the community. They have no rights. There are no handicapped toilets or ramps anywhere. Most severely handicapped children are just turned over to the state. The facility we visit has 300 handicapped children. They are downs syndrome, blind, deaf, CP, etc... Most of them are learning disabled as well. The home is seriously in need of remodeling, underfunded and smells strongly of urine.

We need sizes 3 to 16. I could also use pajama tops, but I am most interested in the bottoms because that is what needs to be covered up the most. I would prefer they use a flannel or cotton material rather than fleece because I can fit more in a suitcase. The orphanages are usually very warm so there is no need for fleece. I thought it would be fun to give the pajamas as a Christmas present since they have never worn anything new. "

We are collecting fabric and sewing elastic waist pajama bottoms. If we get enough fabric we'll also make scrub type tops to go with them. Simple patterns. Sizes 4-12 are needed.

If you are reading this and would like to help, please do! Make just one pajama set or get a group involved, however suits you best. You are welcome to donate fabric or make pajamas and send them along. (I'm going to involve my children and have them each help me with one pair each. They'll learn a little about sewing and hopefully a lot about how blessed we are here.) If you donate fabric, please send it to me by November 15th. The pajamas are needed by December 10th when our friend will be town. We hope to stuff her suitcases full and then some.

Email me at italynw[at]gmail[dot]com for address information and other questions. God bless you!


Satoko said...

I would LOVE to get involved!! Can I try to get my ward in York, PA involved too? (if that is possible.)
Is it possible to send them directly to her place in Russia? (although it might cost us some money...) or we can maybe send them to you after we are done. What do you think?

Heidi Davies said...

I will definitely contribute at least a pair. I'll see if I can get some other people in on it, too.

Shannon said...

Paige, this is awesome! I have a question, though - do they have to be handmade? Target has some great pj bottoms in the boys department for about the same price as the yardage. And my sewing skills are still firmly at the "beginning" stage. I will check back here in a day or so to see the answer. thanks! :)

Paige said...

Satoko -- she's going to be here around December 10th. She said if she doesn't have enough room for the pajamas that she'll ask other people who are working for the company and traveling back and forth to bring them for her. If your ward can make a bunch and have them here by the first part of December that would be great. We are keeping really basic with our pattern.

Heidi -- even one pair would be great, use up some extra fabric for a good cause!

Shannon -- Store bought are great too. This woman is really excited to be able to give these children something new.

Thanks for your interest!

Lynne said...

I guess you know that this is right up my alley, as they say! I'd love to donate pajama bottoms. I'll get some off to you as soon as I can Paige. Thanks for being involved and for sharing with the rest of us. Love you!

Janetta said...

I love stuff like this! Thanks for posting this. I think I will post it as well...Is this the Bakers? I love them. Anyway, I'm good for at least a few pair and I'll make sure to get them to you before the deadline.

Shannon said...

thanks Paige :) We have a pres mtg tomorrow, and I am going to see if our rs pres thinks we can extend this to our ward. I'll let you know what I find out.

Elena said...

I would love to get involved as well. I am from Russia. I can mail some pajamas to you. is there a chance to vail stuff directly to the orphanage? elena.marvin at