JewelGirls update, Sept - Dec 2010

Since September 2010 the Russian JewelGirls project has been taking place mainly in Moscow and the Moscow region. We have regular workshops taking place usually once or twice a week, mostly on the premises of the “Way Back Home” shelter (“Doroga k domu”). The workshops were run mainly by Elena Timofeeva (FAIR Fund Program Manager) and Veronica Antimonik (Program Coordinator).

Four volunteers have joined the program’s activities: Dawn Tucker, Olga Terebilina, Valentina Kalinina and Marina. All of them have assisted in organizing the workshops. Moreover in November Dawn Tucker ran a JewelGirls sales party with the participation of American Embassy staff. Valentina Kalinina got involved in the project in December. She assisted in organizing workshops and selling jewellery. Olga Terebilina is from the Pskov region of Russia (in the northwest) and is interested in promoting FairFund’s activity there. Marina is a student and is planning to conduct socio-psychological research studying data from the JewelGirls project.

Generally about 20 children and teens participated in these workshops including both boys and girls aged between 7 and 17. As the shelter provides teens only with temporal accommodation, each month several new children join the workshops and start to create jewellery.

Each workshop usually lasts 2-3 hours. During this time each child produces up to 7 items of jewelry, mostly earrings, beads and bangles. The children are highly motivated and enjoy the workshops.

In the course of the program, children have also been offered social and psychological assistance and support to help them with their current problems and concerns.

From September 5 sales parties have been organized. One of these has been run with the assistance of the NGO “Step up”. Children accompanied by a social worker took part in selling their jewellery. Apart from these sales parties, other jewellery has been sold in this period through the Internet, through the help of  volunteers, etc.

In total more than 300 pieces of jewelry have been created. About half of these (150 pieces) have been sold. Some items of jewellery that did not sell for a while have since been redesigned by their creators.

The proceeds from the sale of jewellery was spent on winter clothes and shoes for the children and young people as well as on other items of their choice. All children participating in the workshops have also received New Year’s gifts.

Information about FAIR Fund and its activities in Russia have been widely distributed along with requests for volunteers. As part of this process, several web-pages have been created in social networks. They describe FAIR Fund and the JewelGirls project and contain pictures of jewellery. The purpose is to inform more people about the problem of human trafficking, FAIR Fund and JewelGirls. One of these social networks that is open and popular also outside Russia is livejournal:

From 20 December FAIR Fund began sharing ROOF's office space in Moscow. Several fundraising presentations have been prepared. A meeting with Dawn Tucker was also organized in December where important questions on the implemention of FAIR Fund’s activity for the next year were discussed.