BEARR Newsletter, June 2021

The winning image in the EECA Category of BEARR’s Photography Competition, by Nadezhda Areshina. Altai Republic, Russia. 2020.

 23 June 2021

Dear friends and colleagues, 

In this edition we are delighted to share with you the winners of our 2021 Small Grants Scheme, as well as those of our 30th anniversary photography competition. We bring news of a partnership with Luke Grenfell-Shaw as part of his tandem bike journey from “Bristol to Beijing” raising money for BEARR and other healthcare charities along the way. Additionally, you will find an article from one of our trustees and an article by Pippa Ebel, who joined Luke Grenfell-Shaw for the Azerbaijan leg of his journey; a project report and an interim report by two 2020 grantees, and news from the region. We hope you enjoy it!

With warm wishes,
The BEARR Trust

News & Events

2021 Small Grants Scheme Results

This year BEARR’s Small Grants Scheme sought applications from across the region for projects to “reduce the social isolation of people living with disadvantage”.

We had a fantastic response, receiving 227 applications in total. Over 60% came from Ukraine, with at least one application from every other country which BEARR covers. The level of response made BEARR’s trustees’ task a difficult one, but 15 projects have been selected, including three former grantees who have been awarded additional funding to help improve their organisational resilience as they adjust to working under Covid-19 conditions. Read more about the projects here

BEARR’s Photography Competition: Side by Side

Last month BEARR organised a photography competition on the theme “Side by Side“ to celebrate the organisation’s 30th anniversary. You can now have a look at the 24 winning images in our online exhibition here

We invited photographers to submit uplifting, creative photos celebrating community spirit under one of three categories: a) main; b) photos of/from the EECA region, and c) photos by photographers aged 18-years-old or under. 

The task for our judging panel was a tough one as we received over 100 photos from more than 60 entrants. Submissions came from across the globe – from Europe to India and across the EECA region. Last Wednesday, BEARR’s trustees were joined by the judges and entrants, among others, for the prize announcement. A total of 24 beautiful photos were chosen for our exhibition.

Luke’s Bristol2Beijing Journey

We’re delighted that Luke Grenfell-Shaw has chosen BEARR as his regional partner for leg 4 of a 5 part tandem bike journey from Bristol to Beijing, via much of Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Luke is travelling nearly 30,000km by bike, raising money for and awareness of healthcare charities along his route, particularly charities focused on supporting people living with cancer. Luke himself is a “canliver” and you can read his remarkable story here

Read more about our partnership here, and make sure to check out Luke’s blog and podcast as he travels through the region where BEARR’s grantees work!

Summer Lecture Report

On 12 May, Oliver Bullough gave a fascinating presentation on, “The Londongrad Laundromat and its consequences”. His talk was followed by an equally interesting Q&A, chaired by Financial Times contributing editor, John Lloyd. In case you missed it, you can now read the report by BEARR trustee Ross Gill on our website. The video is also available to watch here.

Translators needed

Calling all translators!  Are you a native English speaker with fluent Russian?  Would you like to join BEARR’s small team of volunteer translators? Volunteering as a translator with BEARR is a great opportunity to stay up-to-date with health and social care news from the region, have your work published, and  join a network of people with similar interests.

For more information please contact


Young people leaving care in Russia, Dr. Charlie Walker

BEARR Trustee and Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Southampton, Dr Charlie Walker, writes about the changing state of support for young care leavers in Russia. While positive steps have been made in terms of reforming the country’s child welfare system in recent years, many young care leavers still lack vital support during a particularly vulnerable time in their lives. Read the full article here

Women in a man’s world, Pippa Ebel

Pippa Ebel joined Luke Grenfell-Shaw for the Azerbaijan leg of his Bristol2Beijing tandem ride. You can read her reflections about the country and the organisations she visited here as well as on Luke’s blog. One such organisation was former BEARR grantee, the Centre for Women in the Modern World (CWMW).

The BEARR Trust has funded two of CWMW’s projects, first in 2017 and again last year, this time for a project aimed at strengthening the position of women in rural Azerbaijan. CWMW’s 2020 project has involved training for doctors, police, youth activists and NGO leaders to promote awareness of domestic violence and the relevant law. Unfortunately, this project has been greatly impeded by both the Covid-19 pandemic and the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and as a result is yet to be completed. 

Project reports

Women’s Fund for Development, Abkhazia

Read the project report of 2020 Small Grant recipient, the Women’s Fund for Development. Last year BEARR awarded the WFD £1,995 for a project setting up initiative groups in selected rural communities in Abkhazia. Women received leadership and advocacy training before conducting needs assessment meetings with the local population. They assessed community needs and set up small-scale projects addressing the problems identified.  

Bonuvoni Pyanj, Tajikistan

Read this inspiring account about one woman who was formerly a beneficiary of NGO Bonuvoni Pyanj’s support services, and now helps to train the organisation’s volunteers. Bonuvoni Pyanj received a grant in 2020 for a project focusing on raising awareness of domestic violence within 10 communities in the Pyanj province, working with four other NGOs. 

News from the region

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