Motivation is Key to Orphans’ Academic Success

Studying isn’t the most exciting activity for a lot of children. Even the young orphans that we help care for aren’t spared from the usual school doldrums. However, when academic proficiency is not only necessary, but life-saving – which is the case for orphaned youth in Eastern Europe -- it must be undertaken with even more diligence and responsibility.

The main deterrent for most children in the Perlynka orphanage is lack of motivation. Often, when there is a long break, such as summer vacation, the children take awhile to readjust and get back on track. It’s even more challenging for those who have just arrived at the orphanage.

The pace at which this obstacle is overcome can vary – some of the children are better able to motivate themselves independently, while others need that extra push from Allies volunteers and their teachers. In the latter’s case, there’s no “one-solution-fits-all” formula; every child is different after all, and just as each learns differently, so does each get motivated differently.

Proficiency levels also differ, depending on the subject. Some may do better in Geometry than others, while others do better in Science and Math. English is more difficult to learn for all; at the start of the school year, there was a lack of language instructors, making it more challenging for the students to catch up.

Despite all these road blocks, Allies volunteers are confident the children will prevail. Each time homework is provided, the volunteer team makes sure to talk about responsibilities, and how, as one grows up and enters adulthood, these responsibilities (i.e. taking care of the family, building healthy relationships with other people) become more complex and necessary. The volunteers also touch on consequences and carelessness, hoping to encourage the children to be more diligent and mindful of their own studies.

Irina, a mom of 4 and certified in providing assistance to children whose parents have lost rights, has been volunteering in Perlynka as a teacher. She has a good relationship with the children, and loves them dearly.

“I got to know some of the workers and children from the orphanage at our local church,” Irina shared fondly. “They attend Sunday services and Sunday school. I try different ways of helping the children with their studies and homework, as well as explain to them why they are studying.”

Helping these children find the motivation to seriously pursue their studies is one out of the many things in Allies’ to-do list. For orphans in Eastern Europe, a good academic standing means not only better career opportunities in the future, but also access to a safer, smoother path, one that leads them away from dangers that continue to claim vulnerable children and teens. As we enter a new year, we hope and trust in your continued support in carving out that path, and saving more young lives in Eastern Europe.