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151

(1923) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen - Tema: Russia
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SANITARY AND SOCIAL PROBLEMS 151
one of the gravest problems in Russia to-day.
The children are a nation’s future ; their mental
and bodily soundness will form the backbone of
the coming generation ; but how is it with these
homeless children, especially in the large Russian
towns? The reports one receives on their con
dition are grim reading.
It may be conceded that the Soviet authorities
have devoted much attention to this problem, and
have done a good deal to mitigate the evil, but it
has proved too much for the means which were
available,
The Pan-Russian Executive Committee recently
proclaimed a " Children’s Week " at the beginning
of May, with the object of collecting funds to save
these multitudes of unfortunates . In that con
nection it was stated that many thousands of these
poor little creatures are wandering about in the
towns and in the country, in conditions of in
credible suffering, want, and destitution. Thousands
of them die by the roadside or in the streets from
hunger and disease ,• but what is still worse, crime
and prostitution are increasing to a dangerous
extent among these miserable little beings, and
their lives are assuming the most unnatural and
perverse forms. The state of things is so bad
that it is now difficult to find among them a
healthy child, or one who is really normal, physi
cally and psychically.
The children’s hornes, in which more than a
million orphan children receive shelter, have the
greatest difficulty in procuring food and clothing

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