Call for Volunteers!
Step Up’s international Summer Camp brings together committed young people from Russia, Britain and other European countries in Belskoye Ustye, a village about 100 kilometres from the historic Russian city of Pskov. Working with kids from the nearby orphanage, volunteers think up games, put on plays, organise festivals and camping trips. They glue, cut out, paint, draw, run, jump and dance – providing a rare bit of warmth and love.
There are about 70 kids in the Belskoye Ustye orphanage, aged between 3 and 22. The majority have physical or mental disabilities, of varying severity, and all of them suffer from isolation and the effects of institutionalisation. Most will eventually be transferred to ‘adult institutions’ – closed facilities that serve as social dumping grounds for those unable to live independently within Russian society.
Why take part?
You can make a difference. The orphans are in desperate need of the new experiences and individual attention that will help them to develop and learn, and give them a chance of re-entering society.
Make friends for life. Living in close proximity with other volunteers and working together is a unique experience. Many become close friends – there has even been one marriage as a result of Summer Camp!
It is a unique glimpse of Russia’s orphanage system. Russia warehouses over 100,000 children in orphanages and few outsiders ever get to see how this system works, or are given a chance to change it for the better.
– Enthusiasm, creativity and a willingness to work hard in difficult circumstances
– Some knowledge of Russian (fluency not required).
– You must be available from June 26th until July 20th and able to pay for your visa costs and travel to Russia.
The Step Up Orphan Opportunity Centre runs an evening school in Moscow for orphanage children, helping them to adapt to society.
This is the 12th Summer Camp at Belskoye Ustye, and Step Up has a wealth of experience working with vulnerable children. Step Up provides visa support and covers accommodation, food costs and travel in Russia for volunteers.
More information & applying
Details of Step Up’s previous Summer Camps can be found on its website.
Russian photojournalist Dmitry Markov made this short video about Summer Camp volunteers in 2010: http://vimeo.com/13557265.
If you would like to put yourself forward to become a volunteer, please send a CV and 200 words about what you would bring to Summer Camp to project coordinator Howard Amos (firstname.lastname@example.org). The closing date for registering interest is May 9th.
If you have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch.
Step Up Orphan Opportunity Centre, 8 Voznesensky Pereulok, +7495 629 5100 (www.vverh.su)