About Baranovo

The ROOF house in Baranovo is the centre for many projects to benefit the children of the Belskoye-Ustye orphanage. In the summer, it serves as the base for the large group of Russian and foreign volunteers who assemble to lead our annual summer camp. The rest of the year, the house serves as the base for various educational programmes and other events. 

Howard at workHaving volunteered on the summer camp, Howard Amos came back to Baranovo as a longer term volunteer, developing the house's use as an educational resource for the children, and being a continuous presence with the children in the orphanage itself as he ran a variety of activities. 

When asked, "What draws you to work with the kids in Belskoye Ustye?", he said:

"I have been asked this question many times and have always found it a difficult one to answer. I think all the volunteers who come to the orphanage for Summer Camp are very struck by what they see, by the system within which those children live. A natural response is to want to help in any way in which you can. Inevitably, however, once you spend more time at a place like Belskoye Ustye you begin to realize the sheer intractability of some of the problems and the limits of your own ability, as an outsider, to change them. Nevertheless, this does not alter the fact that the potential of these children is significantly more than the system, or the expectations of their teachers and carers would allow. Their futures could – and should - be much brighter than simply institutionalisation and an early death."

Stas, closest to the camera, at the Education Centre graduation event in 2006This is what we aim to do with the Baranovo house -- use it as a base to brighten the futures of these children who otherwise face lifelong institutionalization.

One former resident of the orphanage, Stas, has seen many summer camps come and go. He now works as ROOF's caretaker at Baranovo, looking after the house year round and helping with hospitality for its visitors.

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