Here’s a case study. He’s a 12 year old Russian orphan and we are calling him Dima. It’s not his real name and we helped him some years ago but he illustrates childhood trauma which is sadly quite common in the children we help.

Dima lived in the countryside. Like many country folk Dima’s parents had a house in a village with sufficient land on which to keep a few animals. They provided an important source of food. Dima’s father had two cows. They weren’t his own but he received money for looking after them. Both parents were heavy drinkers. Tragically when Dima was just 3 years old his mother, under the influence of drink, slipped with a pan of boiling water and much went over the boy, causing him severe scalding and a stay in hospital. His mother was arrested and the court took away her rights to be a parent. She was sent to prison and Dima has not seen her since. His father could not manage Dima on his own so he took him to the local orphanage and arranged for him to come home in the summer to help with the garden and animals. After one such holiday when Dima was 10 years old and had just returned to his orphanage where he was unhappy, another tragedy struck. Dima’s father was drunk at the time and somehow one of the cows found its way out of the garden enclosure and wandered on to a nearby railway line. It was hit by a train and the father was in serious trouble. In the depth of despair he went to a nearby wood and hanged himself. Dima was now on his own.

The picture of him was taken when he was 12. He was determined to do well and was selected by his orphanage to take up an offer to study in the UK for a year. This gave him a good grasp of English and on his return to Russia he went to a good school and later to university. During the intervening years Theo Trust supported him with his education and accommodation and some visits back to the UK. He is now happily married and his wife is expecting their first child. He was able to turn adversity into success and he takes a keen interest in his old orphanage and helps other children.