Strength, Adventure, Change, Service
Volunteering at Kitezh and Orion will challenge and inspire you. Community living is a challenge - sharing everything, very little privacy, putting the good of the whole before your personal desires. However, it is also a chance to serve, to learn and to contribute to something really worthwhile. The Russian culture is different from ours in many ways, so we encourage you to go there with an open mind. And you will discover that there is no better way to improve your Russian language than to immerse yourself in a community of native Russian speakers.
Living with a family in a traditional log house at Kitezh or Orion, you will share a room with other volunteers or one of the older children. All the houses have hot water, showers and toilets. In winter it can be COLD outside but the log houses are kept toasty warm inside. Twice a week there is the sauna (Banya), a special Russian treat not to be missed!
There is a full programme of schooling and other community activities that you will be invited to participate in. Teaching English will be your main contribution, and you will have support and guidance from Andrew Aikman, our resident English teacher at Kitezh. You will also be asked to help wash dishes, help out at home, with the children's homework and any other jobs that arise. There is plenty of scope for your creativity, art, crafts, music, dance and sport.
You can choose to volunteer at either Kitezh or Orion. Please go to the Kitezh website www.kitezh.org
and familiarise yourself with as much information about Kitezh and Orion as you can.
You can watch a VIDEO made by one of our volunteers on this page - a bit of light hearted fun. April 2010
Kitezh is 300km south of Moscow, in the spectacularly beautiful yet remote Kaluga region. The village looks like a fairy tale, with log houses and a traditional wooden church. Nearby is a lake for summer swimming, and winter skating and there is a beautiful forest for berry and mushroom collecting. They grow some of their food, and have cows, goats, chickens, turkeys and a horse.
Everyone in the community is responsible for all the children, and they run their own school where most of the foster parents are also teachers. As the older community, Kitezh is more structured and has most experience with volunteers.
Kitezh’s sister community, Orion, is closer to Moscow. It was started in 2004 by an inspired group with the leadership of Kitezh founder Dmitry Morozov. It’s an exciting project that’s still developing and needs your help! Although three hours drive apart, the two villages are closely connected. Several people from Kitezh now live at Orion and the children regularly gather to learn or work on a project together. They have goats, chickens, and a thriving vegetable garden. Volunteers who are happy to pitch in and do whatever is needed will fit in well with the small group who live there.
Our Russian Language Course
takes place in early summer at Orion, and you can stay on as a volunteer if you wish.
Summer volunteers are very welcome as there is always a lot of building and gardening work.
Children and Therapeutic Education
Children are the primary focus and the whole community revolves around them. Therapeutic Education is a holistic approach that works to heal the psychological damage the children experienced in early childhood. The therapeutic approach includes Art and Play Therapy and a unique 'Game of Life' that helps the children to grow in self esteem and personal responsibility.
Volunteers need to understand that working with these children is demanding and may disturb your own unresolved childhood issues. You must be prepared to deal with these in a way that does not distract the attention of the other adults in the community from their focused work with the children. If you have a personal
history of abuse or neglect, please do consider very
carefully whether Kitezh-Orion is the right place for you.
To understand the therapeutic process at Kitezh and Orion we recommend you read Dimitry Morozov's book KITEZH: a community approach to raising children in Russia.
You can order it from our Online Shop.
You can download an extract from the book here. Read More >