Projects for mentoring orphans and disadvantaged children
The Expert Council of the Agency of Strategic Initiatives, in collaboration with the Russian President, has approved five projects. The “Mentors: Not apart but together!” and “Etnomir” projects are to receive information, advisory and administrative support.
A meeting was held under the auspices of the Strategic Initiatives Forum and timed to coincide with the Agency’s fifth anniversary. Of the five approved projects, three will be undertaken in high-tech industries and two in the social sector.
The “Mentors: Not apart but together!” project, developed by the inter-regional public body “Big Brothers Big Sisters of Russia”, finished second in a poll, having received 87.5% of the vote and will be aimed at children from disadvantaged families. Individual contact with mentors will help such children adapt and fully integrate into society.
The essence of this project is to get representatives from State agencies, businesses and successful figures from the cultural and sporting worlds to act as mentors. The Director of the Agency is also taking part in this project. A programme of individual mentoring will enable children to unlock their potential, have confidence in their own abilities, develop leadership skills and start thinking about a future career, says Alexandra Telitsyna, Executive Director of “Big Brothers Big Sisters of Russia”.
The Forum also hosted a photo exhibition organised by the “Mentors: Not apart but together!” project which showed children of different ages taking part in the “Young and Old” programme. Visitors were able to speak to a number of mentors involved in the project to find out why mentoring is considered the most effective means of enabling children to adapt successfully to society, as well as testing themselves in the “role of a mentor”.
The Agency offers information and administrative support and will be able to help in establishing lines of communication with regional authorities in order to promote a project which will cover 20 Russian regions. More than 800 children will receive help from mentors, assisted by nearly 1,000 fully trained volunteers.
The “Etnomir” Cultural and Educational Centre promotes the lives, traditions and cultures of the people of Russia and other world nations. Located on its authentically recreated grounds are harmoniously sited ethnic buildings, including houses, hotels, craft shops, museums, traditional restaurants, souvenir shops and other outlets which convey an impression of the way of life enjoyed by different peoples. Visitors who become “native dwellers” for a while get an idea of the diversity of people and culture around the world and realise this is a big harmonious family that has to live in peace and understanding with one another. Children’s educational projects are run in the Cultural Centre which also hosts festivals, carnivals, exhibitions, conferences and concerts associated with the cultures of different countries and nationalities.
The “Etnomir” project leader is Ruslan Baimarov, President of “Dialogue between cultures – a united world”. According to him, more than 1,500,000 people have already visited the “Etnomir” Centre. Over the past decade, it has hosted some 30,000 educational projects, 70 national and international conferences, 385 festivals and holiday celebrations and 56 children’s camps. “We’re hoping that in future “Etnomir” will become a creative city of friendship among peoples”, said Baimarov. There are plans in the coming years to open an “Etnomir” school, a youth centre, a family innovation and education centre, as well as an eco-centre. The project’s creators also intend to continue the practice of carving busts and artefacts of famous national and global figures.
The Agency is also offering advisory and methodological support for the creation of an extra children’s educational programme at the “Etnomir” Centre, as well as helping to develop international contacts.
Author: Yulia Vyatkina