In 2009, Ecologia Trust organised an international exchange with Findhorn Scotland’s Youth Project with foster children from the Kitezh and Orion communities from Russia. It was an amazing experience for groups of teenagers from different countries.
First, children from Scotland visited Russia and got acquainted with the culture, played together, talked, sang songs around the fire, and most importantly, found new friends! Then a group of children from Russia went to Scotland.
Zhenya Ryazhskaya writes: For almost all the children it was their first trip abroad. My adopted son Sasha remembers this trip as what opened the world to him and made him open minded. Before leaving, Sasha photographed everything in his host family in Findhorn; he really liked everything, home, family, dog, family traditions and family evenings. He said, “it is impossible to convey in words, you must visit there.”
The finale of the project was a performance in which the children performed the play The Master in English, and a talent show in which each participant in the international exchange could sing, dance, show an acrobatic act or other talent. The performance took place in the Universal Hall in Findhorn for 200 local spectators and guests. It was awesome!!!
“My experience of the Kitezh exchange was one of expanded horizons. Spending time really getting to know people from a completely different background in a completely different culture taught me to appreciate the many different ways we as a species live, to appreciate the gifts of my own upbringing, and to celebrate the differences between us all. The way the Kitezh and Orion communities have survived & thrived as a result of (rather than despite) the difficult situations their members come from was very inspiring to me, and I would like to believe I can bring some of that incredible community spirit into the world via my own day to day life.”
– Kevin Featherstone – participant in both Youth Exchanges to Kitezh and back to Findhorn 2009