News stories

Summer camp volunteers

We are in the process of accepting applications from volunteers from the following countries: US, UK, France, Poland, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Italy, Ghana, Australia and Germany. This may be the most multi-national summer camp yet!

Христос Воскресе

An interesting historical note on Russian philanthropy: "During Pascha in Rus our sovereigns visited hospitals, alms-houses, imprisoned strangers, and convicts and with the paschal salutation brought them clothes, money and food. In general, our tsars and tsarinas spent all Bright Week as pilgrims, traveling to near and far monasteries, with generous charity to the needy and the lame."

From an article on Paschal traditions in Russia:

Experience in micro-finance, anyone?

If so, we at ROOF could use your help. 

Pskov 10 rouble coinRecently we have been thinking about how we might increase the effectiveness of our projects for orphans - especially those in depressed, rural areas, like our programs for the Belskoye-Ustye Orphanage. One idea that occurs to us is that we could partner with someone who has experience in micro-finance, and design programs that would bring a higher level of prosperity to the local community.

While the orphanage and its children are the main focus of outside “investment” in the community, the orphanage and surrounding programs will always and primarily be viewed as a source of wealth by the surrounding community – a potential trough from which to feed. This is a strange and not-entirely-healthy dynamic within the community and can actually breed envy and alienation.

Nor does a depressed locality have much offer in terms of “society” into which the able orphanage leavers can be integrated!

If, on the other hand, new local businesses were opening and if existing local businesses were strengthened, this would immediately be a source of jobs which would make it easier to keep more of the orphanage leavers out of life-time institutionalization. Children who grow up in an MHSD orphanage (an orphanage run by the Ministry of Health and Social Development) are slated for a lifetime of institutionalization. Read more about their plight by following the link.

Not less important would be the psychological effect . Caring about orphaned children within the context of serving the entire community will presumably enable a higher level of "buy-in" and eventual ownership of charity efforts by the local community, itself.

Creative approaches to injecting optimism and well-being of any sort into the local community will clearly have an impact on ROOFs overall success rate in meeting its primary goals. 

In the city, too, ROOF programs will only be much strengthened by appealing to the ingenuity of local people in solving their own problems in ways that also involve the well-being of orphanage children. 

So if you are interested or intrigued by any of what you read here and would like to help, please contact us.