Strength, Adventure, Change, Service
Kitezh and Orion are communities of people who have dedicated their lives to the fostering and care of children. Their work is highly professional and aims to achieve a standard that would be recognised as “best practice” in any country. This can be extremely rewarding and fascinating work, but it is also demanding, intense, and at times, quite stressful. It provokes any personal insecurities in the carers and thus requires a certain level of maturity and self awareness. For these reasons it is undertaken within the framework of a mutually supportive ‘community foster care’ model.
Volunteers are invited to support this work and under the guidance of staff, to participate in the children’s care and education, as well as other activities that support the adults. Volunteers will receive an introduction to teaching English to non-native speakers, a chance to learn about Russian history, and of course plenty of opportunities to improve their Russian language skills. Our volunteers support the community and the community supports our volunteers.
Volunteering at Kitezh or Orion is a great opportunity as the communities are inspirational and unique, and you will feel well rewarded by the experience. Kitezh Children’s Community is growing fast and there is plenty to be done – with the children, gardening, cooking, and building. Orion is the second children’s village to be built on the Kitezh model, in 2004. Country life also offers opportunities to work with animals on the farm, collect berries and mushrooms in the forest, and go swimming in the lake in summer and skating in winter.
Volunteers work alongside Russian teachers as teaching assistants. Their main contribution is to provide English language practice, but you will also have plenty of time to take part in woodwork, crafts, music, drama and sporting activities. Whatever your talents or expertise, you can contribute to this innovative approach to family-based, rural community care and education for orphan children deep in the Russian countryside.
Living with a family in a traditional log house, 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 houses are kept toasty warm inside. Regularly there is the sauna (Banya), a special Russian treat not to be missed!
Summer volunteers integrate more easily into the community if they speak some Russian as the school is closed in June, July and August, so come prepared to do all sorts of different activities. The season is short and they really need help. Kitezh and Orion run summer camps in July and August for up to 60 children. It’s better to arrive in June so you can familiarise yourself with the routines and make some friends before the summer camps begin.
If you are looking for closer contact with a family, then Orion is probably more suited. Orion families are very keen to have English speaking volunteers all year round to help their children learn English. Orion is growing fast, and there is plenty to be done – with the children, gardening, cooking, and building. Whatever your talents or expertise, you can contribute to this innovative approach to family-based, rural community care and education for orphan children.
Volunteering at Kitezh or Orion is more than just an interesting way to improve your Russian language. Although it is not essential to speak fluent Russian, it is important to be able to communicate. It is also probably the safest way to visit Russia for the first time as the community is very supportive and will give you the confidence (and the language ability) to travel on your own later.
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, or read an extract from the book here.
Find out more about available dates and booking information.