Ekaterina Kurdyukova

The majority of the young people with whom we work have never had anyone take a sincere interest in how they are doing. And this is also true in a wider sense – with education, life plans, and day-to-day matters; how they slept, what they ate… This is especially true of our students in adult psychoneurological institutions. Step Up has become a place where people confide in each other knowing that there is real interest in their lives. I often say that I love my job because its most important aspect is chatting over tea.

My first degree was psychology, and my second cultural studies. But all my life I have worked outside these spheres in non-commercial organisations, doing translation, and for the last eight years I have taught English at Step Up.

I think that the study of a foreign language – especially for our students who frequently don’t have an opportunity to get to know the world because of the nature of the institutions in which they grew up – can become the key to an understanding that there are many different ways to think and to live.

As a member of Step Up’s board of trustees, I work with donors including international funds.