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In Russia, more than one in ten people live in poverty. This means many children grow up amid deprivation and with limited life chances. At our six SOS Children's Villages, we offer love and care to some of the most vulnerable, and help local families provide a strong, stable environment as their children grow up. … more about our charity work in Russia

Child Sponsorship Report 2009, from Kandalaksha, Russia

Sponsored child from Kandalaksha
Sponsored child from Kandalaksha

A child sponsorship report from Kandalaksha in Russia

Dear Child Sponsors,

In July 2009 it was six years that the SOS Children’s Village Kandalaksha existed. 85 children were admitted to CV during this period. Nine of them returned to live with parents, one was adopted. At the moment there are 75 kids living in the Village. 64 children attend school; eleven little ones go to the nursery. One of the school students has only excellent marks in his studies. Twelve children study with good and excellent marks. This September three seven years old ones started their first grade of a primary school.

The children of CV Kandalaksha actively go in for sport, attending different sport sections and groups. The naturbahn (sledges) group is very popular among our children, both boys and girls. Nine kids have got youth sport certificates in this kind of sport, and Nikolai (House # 4) has got even an adult sport certificate. During this year there were seven district and region naturbahn competitions and one of the events of “Northern Feast” in which SOS children took an active part. Besides sport in their free time the SOS girls attend bead-weaving, dancing and singing circles. Many children are students of music and art schools.

The CV staff pays great attention to the development of social adaptation of the children organizing various events. E.g. in November 2008 the SOS children had a meeting with a representative of Kandalaksha militia (police) who instructed them how to protect themselves in emergency situations (such as fire, street fight and abuse). During the autumn vacation the children attended a World War II history museum in one of the town schools where they were told about the battles near Kandalaksha and heroes who defended the town from Nazi invaders. From January to May the elder children of the CV regularly attended the town library where occupational guidance lessons were held. The youngsters were recommended books telling about different professions and held discussions about vocational opportunities. In February the SOS youths had an excursion to motor transport enterprise. There the visitors were familiarized with job of motor and car mechanics and drivers. The process of lathing and installing of spare car parts was demonstrated to them. Also in February in CV there was a mobile (travelling) exhibition demonstrating various handmade works and techniques of their making. The exhibition was organized by Kandalaksha Youth Centre in the frames of the programme “Youth and civic education”; several master-classes were also held. In the town competition “Professions Parade” six CV children took part. All the participants got certificates and Olga’s work (House # 3) was sent to the Murmansk region competition. The SOS children also took part in the town contest of drawings “Saving Bank seen by children” The competitors were of the age from 6 to 14 and got diplomas and sweet prizes. In April there was also an excursion to the town tailor boutique where the girls got acquainted with the professions of a dress cutter, tailor, sewer, etc. The girls were impressed by what they had seen and made a decision to master sewing skills.

Every year on November 30 the CV celebrates Mother’s Day. The children congratulated their SOS Mothers with a concert of songs, poems and dances. The SOS Mothers were looking so proud to see their children so good looking, nicely dressed and so talented. The fest for the SOS Mothers was also organized by the children on March 8 – the International Women’s Day. The kids gave joy to their Mothers having shown the play “Father Frost” staged by the CV not long ago organized theatre circle. And for the Defender of the Fatherland Day the elder children imitated the final school party of June 22, 1941 (the day of the beginning of the WWII for Russia, when graduates of that year met the first dawn of their adult life with the radio announcement about bombing of the cities and towns of the Soviet Union). The CV children performed many war songs commemorating of those hard years.

On December 25 in CV for the second time the painting auction was held at which works of CV children and children from the town art school, secondary schools and kindergartens and children from a neighbouring town Poljarnie Zori (Polar Dawns) were shown. CV Director invited Kandalaksha businessmen and town authorities to the auction where they bought some works to support CV’s financial needs.

To demonstrate solidarity with members of local community the SOS this year started a tradition of visiting a nearby old-age home where the children sang and danced and played the piano for the residents and then presented beautiful cards to them. We hope that this tradition will be long termed and pleasant for both sides. In May CV took part in the town conference of children’s volunteer organizations involved in charity movement. The Council of Elder children of the CV were only guests at the conference but decided to become active members of the volunteer movement.

Four children from CV took part in the work of a psychological camp in the suburbs of Murmansk. The children not only got good psychological training of team and creative work and advocating their own viewpoint but had the rare opportunity to visit the underground power station 97 metres below the earth surface.

In March the SOS children for the first time participated in one of the episodes of “Northern Fest” that took place every year in a small village of Lovozero in the very middle of Kolski Peninsula and has the Laplander features. The trip to this fest was an award for those SOS children who demonstrate outstanding results in sport, music and fine arts. The youngsters saw reindeer and how the Laplander dance, listen to the Lapp songs.

During May every child in CV was busy with developing new CV rules. At the end of the months all 12 family houses performed some sketches which demonstrated the basis for the rules offered by this or that house. The CV invited guests from the town for this event and in the evening the merry discotheque took place.

When the school ended in June a labour brigade of the CV started its work. During two weeks the members of the brigade have improved the CV territory earning some money for this.

In July the new Governor of the Murmansk region Mr. D. Dmitrienko visited the CV during his inspection of the region. The Governor spent several hours in the CV, was a guest of one of the SOS Family Houses, checked the repair works in CV and presented nice gifts to the SOS children.

Though because of difficulties caused by the world-wide financial crisis the opportunities this year were lower still the children with their SOS Mothers went to the rest to different parts of Russia (Voronezh, Arkhangelsk, Sochi, Astrakhan, etc) staying at their SOS Mothers relatives’ places. Two families went for summer to the former Soviet republics – the Ukraine and Belarus. While the SOS families were out of the Village, the planned renovation and repairs of the CV Houses took place. The heating system, roofs, entrance doors and window frames were renovated in all the houses.

In September when all the CV inhabitants returned from their summer rest and the new school year started, the 6th birthday of the Village was celebrated. The fest was held in the Children’s Cultural centre of the town of Kandalaksha. The staff of the Centre helped the SOS Mothers and children to prepare and held the festivity with songs, dances, poems and sketches. The SOS children got numerous gifts and prizes.

In October and at the beginning of November several Norwegian SOS friends visited the Village. Those were the Norwegian students and some children’s sponsors. They got acquainted with the CV, were guests at the Family Houses, played with the children and learnt a lot about the SOS children’s life.

In October in the town library where they borrow books in, the SOS children had a meeting with a “real” poet and a folk singer. It was very interesting for the children to listen to those two people of art reciting and singing their own poems and songs. Also in October in the CV there was a fair of pastry. The SOS children offered their culinary masterpieces – cakes, buns and chebureks – and sold them. The sale proceeds were divided between all the “sellers”. After the fair the discotheque took place.

On behalf of our children, their SOS Mothers and all the CV staff I would like to thank you for your being our constant supporters and good friends and wish you MERRY CHRISTMAS and A HAPPY NEW YEAR!