Volunteers: we need you for our summer camp in Belsky Ustye!


Friends, we are pleased to tell you that we are now officially accepting applications to become a volunteer at our Belsky Ustye summer camp!

The Step Up Orphan Opportunity Centre has organised this volunteer camp for more than 10 years now (since 2007). At first, we just held summer camps, but since 2013 our volunteers have also been making regular visits to the orphanage during the Christmas holidays. Thus began our winter camps which, though they may be two weeks’ shorter than their summer counterparts, are no less exciting.

Thanks to these camps, we have formed a community of experienced volunteers who are determined to change the institutional system and to change the lives of orphans going through the system.

More information about the volunteer camp – reports, photos and videos – can be found on the camp website.

Who are our volunteers?

In our team of camp volunteers, we like to see active, cheerful, creative, open, stress-resistant young people. Volunteers must be over 18 years of age. If you have an interesting hobby, or something to share with others, you will have the opportunity to hold a masterclass- a camp is the perfect place to put your hobbies and interests into action.

This year our summer camp will take place from 4th July until 23rd July, with the arrival of volunteers on 1st July.


Where will you go?

The place where the camp takes place is a small hamlet in the Pskov Region (800km from Moscow), called Belsky Ustye. The orphanage is located here too, where around 60 students between the ages of 4 and 25 live, each of them with various intellectual disabilities.

What can I change if I take part in this camp?

In orphanages for children with special needs students live in severe social isolation, they are deprived of the opportunity to go take part in certain educational programmes and programmes of social adaptation that are, frankly, completely necessary for them.

    – Your participation in the camp will give every student of the Belsky Ustye orphanage, regardless of their difficulties, the chance to take part in educational activities and to communicate with new people which, as experts have shown, is a powerful tool for students’ development.

    – Becoming a volunteer, you will understand that the camp is a breath of fresh air for both students and teachers thanks to new ideas, events and interaction with students. All of these are thought up and carried out by volunteers with such ease and creativity. The camp brings something new, unexpected and unpredictable to the daily life of the orphanage.

    – The volunteer camp is a way to prevent the staff of the orphanage from burning out emotionally. Thanks to the camp programme, students show interest in the world around them, they are inspired by learning and are overcome with positive emotions. For the orphanage’s teachers, part of their emotional load is lifted for at least a month.

    – Finally, one of the main reasons to participate in the camp is so you become aware of the problems associated with the isolation of students living in residential institutions. The camp is a way of making wider society aware of these problems and to attract caring volunteers, sponsors and specialists.

    Think about it: before visiting a camp you would never have guessed that you could do something important and useful to help solve such problems, albeit on the small scale of one orphanage.

Please address any questions to alexandra@vverh.su, info@vverh.su or phone us on 8 495 629 51 17 (The Step Up Centre’s office).

Subscribe to our Facebook page facebook, where we talk about life in the Step Up Orphan Opportunity Centre and about our preparations for the camp. Share this information with your friends – someone out there is looking for this opportunity!





You can find more photos from the 2015 summer camp in our gallery.