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Ecologia Youth Trust

Caretaker & Buddy

Baryatino, Russian Federation

Volunteering opportunity in a rural community of Russian foster families who take orphans into their homes & give them a family & an education in a supportive environment

In short, this is a unique opportunity to volunteer in Russia in a rural village community, home to foster families dedicated to giving children who have had a traumatic start in life a real chance at a better future. They are wonderful places in which to live, work, and contribute to enriching the lives of orphaned and abandoned children.

The issue: 

Of the 26 million children living in Russia today, 700,000 are without parental care. Of those, 95% are social orphans, with at least one living parent who is incapable of caring for their child. The vast majority of these children are placed in state orphanages, which evidence shows, causes harm to children which can last a lifetime and leaves them ill prepared for life in the outside world.

The solution:

Kitezh Children's Community in rural Kaluga region addresses these issues using an unusual, innovative and very successful approach, pioneered by Dmitry Morozov. In 1992, he attracted foster parents and teachers join him to build a village community to provide abandoned or orphaned children with family support, an education and the therapeutic care that is vital to their health and well-being.

Ecologia has supported Kitezh since it began, helping to build two foster family villages, Kitezh and Orion, with homes for the families, a school, a church and a farm.

The community is now made up of two sister communities, Kitezh and Orion, which are rural village communities of foster parents and teachers who take children from orphanage and raise and educate them along with their own children. Kitezh and Orion are entirely child-centred, therapeutic education communities. Kitezh, the first village, is 300km south of Moscow. On 100 hectares of land it has a number of wooden houses, a school, a church and a farm, with natural woodlands and a lake nearby. Orion is closer to Moscow, also in the countryside, and there is constant contact between them. 

What is the volunteers role?

The main role of the volunteers is to help teach the children English, but they are also there to help look after them, and also to help support the community through normal daily activities.

More specifically, volunteers live with a family, teach English to children and take part in the daily working and social life of the community: gardening, cooking, building, playing games, art & crafts, music, drama, sport with the kids. Most volunteers are 18-30, some older, from many different countries, looking for a worthwhile experience abroad. All like to be with children, some have English teaching experience, some speak Russian or have an interest in learning Russian. They are flexible, willing to adapt to a new culture, interested in people and community living. 

Volunteers are warmly welcomed into a safe, homely environment. As well as being a highly rewarding experience, volunteering provides an excellent opportunity to improve your Russian language and experience Russian culture, while living as part of a Russian community.

Volunteers are given a volunteer supervisor for their stay who will guide them through the process of understanding their role and the routines and schedules that they need to follow. All volunteers also receive a comprehensive pack in the preparation stage (before arriving in Russia) that covers every possible question you could have about your stay.

Requirements: No special skills required though any of the following would be useful: some knowledge of Russian, TEFL or experience in teaching English, experience working with children (sports, arts and crafts, music, drama), building, cooking and gardening. An interest in children and willingness to adapt to a different culture and to participate fully in the life of the community are essential. Police check in country of residence required. 

Typical day

A typical day:

We expect volunteers to contribute at least fours hours of work each day except Sunday.  Most volunteers offer to do rather more than that.  As an English speaker, an important contribution is to talk in English to the children, and to assist with English lessons.  Some of the adults are also keen to learn. While a TEFL training isn't necessary, it is very useful. You will need to be resourceful and creative; bring songs, poetry, drama and your favourite topics for the English Club. Carefully structured games are a great aid to learning. 

Its not all work: The contribution volunteers make when they share their passion, their own skills is always appreciated - in sports (football in the snow - yes, even that), yoga, performing arts, any arts, whatever inspires you, share it.  Socialising, singing, dancing, playing games are all part of life in a community.  In Kitezh and Orion, volunteers will be offered the opportunity to join in any classes in Russian when they aren't involved in work - history or Russian literature, or maths in Russian. 

Details on Arrival

Volunteers can join the program throughout the year, at pre-defined start dates based on 3 month stays (which we recommend). These dates are listed on our website.


We will guide you through the application process including helping arrange your visa.

We ask volunteers to arrive and depart at Domodedovo Airport, Moscow, on Wednesdays. Our minibus will meet you and take you directly to your assigned destination, a journey of 2 to 5 hours.

Free-time activities

Kitezh and Orion are surrounded by forests with opportunities for hiking, swimming in the river and lake, skating in winter. Opportunity to visit the provincial cities of Kaluga or Tula, and Moscow.

Swimming
Hiking
Sports
Yoga/Meditation

Program Requirements

In order to join the program you need to be at least 18 years old on the program start date. There might be exemptions if you can provide the permission of your legal guardian(s).
Language Skills
You need to speak English (fluently) and Russian (intermediate level)
Health Declaration
required
Criminal Background Check
required
Education Requirements
English, Russian at High School level
Required Documents
Introductory Questionnaire, passport copy, signed Child Protection Policy and Insurance & Indemnity form
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Other Skills
TEFL or experience in teaching English is useful, but not required, also experience working with children (sports, arts and crafts, music, drama)
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 09:30 - 17:00

Suitable for

Singles
Couples
Groups
50+

Any questions? Just ask. We at Ecologia Youth Trust are happy to help you.

Contact Project Coordinator
Contact & Reservation
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec

Included Services

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We refund your fees if Ecologia Youth Trust cancels your trip
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Our services are free of charge!
All program fees are charged directly by Ecologia Youth Trust.
Services by Ecologia Youth Trust

Visa support (Invitation from partners), airport transfers, accommodation & meals, pre-departure and post return support, on arrival orientation, dedicated volunteers coordinator on site to give personal support; one Russian lesson per week.

Airport Pickup at Moscow Domodedovo Airport

Pick up from Domodedovo airport Moscow by minibus to Orion (2 hours) and to Kitezh (5 hours) and return to Domodedovo airport at the end of your stay.

Accommodation

Accommodation will be in a shared room in a guest family house.

You will live in one of the homes, in a traditional wooden log house, and you will most likely share a room with other volunteers. All the houses have hot and cold water, showers and toilets. The food is simple and nutritious, but probably unlike what you are used to!

Guest Family
Food & Beverages

Breakfast, lunch & dinner and lots of tea!. Usually meat, fish, chicken daily, vegetarian food available, no alcohol permitted.

Internet Access
Good access at the project site
What's NOT included?
Visa, flights, travel insurance or vaccinations are NOT included in the program fees.
Flight Tickets
The nearest airport is Moscow Domodedovo Airport (DME) in Moscow. We assist you to find cheap flights to Russian Federation.
Travel Insurance
Going abroad is an adventure and it is always best to be prepared. Sudden illness or injury, cancellation or theft - a travel insurance for Russian Federation provides security and is a plus to have.
Vaccines
If you are intending to volunteer in Russian Federation you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for Russian Federation.
Costs (Prices in USD)
4 weeks (min. stay)
$1,710.00
5 weeks
$1,791.00
6 weeks
$1,873.00
7 weeks
$1,954.00
8 weeks
$2,035.00
9 weeks
$2,116.00
12 weeks (max. stay)
$2,360.00
Average fees
$312.00/week

You can volunteer at the project site in Baryatino/Russian Federation between 4 weeks and 12 weeks. Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated and subject to exchange rate fluctuations. Ecologia Youth Trust will let you know about the final price during your application process.
Crowdfunding Service
Generally, volunteering abroad involves certain costs. In case you need financial support, we will assist you to fundraise your volunteer program in Russian Federation.
Deposit (15%)
The deposit is simply to reserve your volunteer placement. Payments are handled by PayPal, our trusted global payment provider. If you don't have a PayPal account, you can also pay using a credit card.
Final Payment (85%)
Your final payment will be agreed with Ecologia Youth Trust during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.
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