Our mission

Our mission is to help every child receive an education and develop as an individual, overcoming the damaging inheritance of their orphanage past.

Step Up is a Russian charity that works with residents and graduates of both correctional orphanages and psychoneurological institutions.

We strive
not just to bring those who study with us to the point where they pass an exam, but to raise them, inspire them and allow them to grow. The school year should not be perceived as circular, but as mounting the stairs of time — from ignorance to knowledge, from inner dissension to the acquisition of a unique personality, from marginalisation to social ease and from a fear of one’s individuality to a dialogue with the world.
We understand
that those living in orphanages today cannot simply be expected to wait for the system of institutional education to change so that they have the chance to realise their full potential.
We believe
that learning, especially for those only really beginning to study aged 15 or 16, can only truly occur in an atmosphere of trust and mutual respect. We have created such an atmosphere and we work every day to maintain it.

What makes education an ascent?


Friendship between students and between students, teachers, and volunteers


Without discipline learning is impossible – but without play it is boring


Relating to education as if it was an adventure; difficult, but compelling

The upward glance
that makes humans of us

At Step Up we never forget that it is our aspirations – the upward glance – that makes humans of us.

We believe that access to a quality education and the opportunities it brings should be equally available to everyone.

Our team of teachers has been working with orphanage residents and graduates for more than fourteen years.

In 2010 Step Up was registered as an independent Russian organisation – until then it was called the post-orphanage integration centre and worked within the framework of ROOF (the Russian Orphan Opportunity Fund).

Among our students there are both talented orphanage leavers studying at top universities and those who have been labelled ‘unteachable’ – young men and women who have learnt to read only with our help. We are proud of each and every one.

Over the 14 years of the Centre’s work we have not only created a place of personal and creative development, but we have achieved concrete results.