Staritsa Children's Shelter Main Page
Related: Vozdvizheniye ~ The City of Staritsa, Tver Region
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THE ORIGINAL INTERVIEW WITH THE ORPHANAGE DIRECTOR THAT GOT THINGS STARTED

The following is based on the interview with the orphanage director Mrs. Yegorkina. The interview was conducted on January 28, 2002, by me, Paul (Pasha, Pavel) Voytinsky, on the request of Danny Carrier , who wanted to help the orphanage yet untouched by western charity, and thus asked me to investigate their needs.

Anyone wishing to help the Startisa orphanage may contact Danny Carrier or Diane Dwyer-Reynolds. Their contact details:

Danny Carrier
7985 – 91St. Avenue Edmonton, Alberta, Canada T6C 1P9
E-mail: zyrcon001@hotmail.com 
 
[seems to have disappeared]
Diane Dwyer-Reynolds
d.m.reynolds@verizon.net

[from what I hear they still pretty actively involved with the Staritsa orphanage]

If you need assistance communicating in Russian or delivering things to Staritsa, feel free to write to me  I travel there regularly and usually have enough space in my car to take a couple of boxes.

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Social children's shelter
Staritsa district
Tver region

Paulina Fedorovna Egorkina, Orphanage Director,
and Paul Voytinsky
January 30, 2002

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General information

  Orphanage director: Paulina Fedorovna Yegorkina   NEW DIRECTOR: MARINA NIKOLAYEVNA LAVRENTYEVA
Address: 171360 Russia, Staritsky Rayon, Novo-Yamskaya 64
Telephone and fax: (+7-08263) 21-308
E-mail: Probably easiest to write to me, especially in English or French. My e-mail is paul_voytinsky@yahoo.com. I'll translate and re-direct your message to their fax or read it over the phone or whatever..

If sending thing to them feel free to use my address in Moscow. Your letter will get here faster and in a more reliable manner. Tell me what you plan to send and I'll advise you about the most appropriate/efficient/safe/economical manner of doing so. - Pasha

Number of children registered at the orphanage: 40
Number of children in fact staying there: 32 (the rest are in hospitals or resorts)
Age: 3-16, boys and girl
Attending school: 20

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The economic strategy of the orphanage stresses independence, mobility, and development of its own farm. Two cows have been acquired recently. These were the cleanest cows I've ever seen in Russia!

 

Cow Knopka ("Button") and a pile of quality fertilizer she produced.

Newly constructed greenhouse is not yet covered by glass

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The orphanage kids look happier, judging by their eyes and rosy cheeks, than many of the children we see in Russian small towns and villages.

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Their priority needs identified in the course of the interview  [INCLUDING JULY 2003 UPDATE]

Nov. 2004: CONSIDERING A DONATION? THE WEBMASTER RECOMMENDS MAKING A CONTRIBUTION TO PAULINA'S (RETIRED ORPHANAGE DIRECTOR STILL ACTIVE IN CHARITABLE WORK) EYE OPERATION.

  1. Footwear is rated by the director as perhaps the biggest problem
  2. Clothing for ages 10-16, but generally clothing is not a big problem
  3. Cleaning supplies (the orphanage uses 2000 roubles, or $70US per month of them)  [that's an ongoing need, so if you have access to cheap or written off supplies, they'll appreciate it]
  4. Toys, especially for the older age group
  5. Sports equipment, sleighs, bicycles and such
  6. Gas boiler (8000 roubles, or $275)   [DONE: PROCURED, DELIVERED, INSTALLED LAST SPRING]
  7. Large electric stove (they are supplied with flour well but have no easy way to use it without a stove)  [I THINK IT HAS BEEN ALSO TAKEN CARE OF AS OF JULY 2003]
  8. Stationery and textbooks for 20 students (12 000 roubles, or $400 per year) THAT'S AN ONGOING NEED, AND I'D LIVE TO GET MY HANDS ON WRITTEN OFF STATIONERY IN SOME QUANTITY
  9. A washing machine (we brought them ours, but another one or a bigger machine would not be bad)  DONE
  10. Financing to install workshop equipment that has already been procured. I WOULD PERSONALLY RATE THAT AS A STRATEGICALLY IMPORTANT NEED BECAUSE MOST BOYS WILL END UP AS MANUAL WORKERS AND NEED TO ACQUIRE FAMILIARITY WITH WOODWORKING EQUIPMENT
  11. Financing to pay for the work already done on the exercise hall and workshop
  12. Photocopier (lots of paperwork for each child)  DONE
  13. A bigger hard disk for their computer DONE

February 2006 update of their needs

 

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Sports equipment waiting to be installed in a recently finished exercise room

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Crafts room. Woodworking equipment is waiting to be unpacked and installed here.

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Toys made by children

Sources of supplies and financing

  1. District authorities
  2. Local industrial facilities
  3. Clothes are collected at the Tver Railroad Car Building Plant. An active retired woman organizes collection.
  4. The Blago Fund (Tver)
  5. Own garden, gathering berries, recently got two cows
  6. Donations from private individuals cover about 1% of what’s needed

Total cost of operation

The budget is 560 000 roubles, or approx. $20 000 per year

Of this 370 000 roubles ($12 000) come from reliable sources, get about 80 000 ($2700) elsewhere, and the rest get by without.

priut18.jpg (5738 bytes) Paulina Fedorovna talking of her vision to set up the workshop that would give her children works skills for independent adult living.

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Staff library

Resources worth mentioning as reflecting their survival strategy

  1. A good 4 wheel drive van
  2. Two cows
  3. Huge vegetable field
  4. Greenhouse

In their survival strategy they rely on their own resources, their own work, etc.

Other impressions

I was surprised by the cleanliness and friendly atmosphere of the establishment. An institution is obviously operating under very pressing circumstances, but they make the best of what they got, have a sensible strategy, and a strong professional at the head. Lots of evidence of productive and coherent activity. The cow shed was the cleanest I’ve ever seen in Russia…..

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The main hall

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Girls' bedroom

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The little zoo with hamsters and Guinea pigs. In return for my involvement I cadged Lunch-the-rat from them, who now is the cover face for my Cheap Accommodation project.

Our position

Although our own resources are very small compared to the needs of those we want to help, we’ll be more than pleased to be of assistance to anyone wishing to make a positive contribution to the Staritsa district.

We are based in Moscow, and the cottage that we are trying to turn into something of a mini-farm is in the Staritsa district, thus our interest in making a positive contribution to the Staritsa community.

You’ll find more information on our projects, of what help we can be and what types of assistance we could use, on our site www.unclepasha.com and www.rural-russia.narod.ru [hasn't been looked at for a while - Nov. 1, 2004]

Please contact me with any questions and ideas.

A note from a cynic converted

I went to the orphanage purely as a job-related function. At the beginning of our visit I was convinced that helping orphanages and similar establishments is largely useless as they represent wasted human lives, and a human life wasted with or without sufficient footwear makes not real difference. Having seen this institution from the inside and heard its director Paulina Fedorovna, I repented.

If you are looking for a worthy cause to support, consider the Staritsa orphanage. As of this moment it not covered by western charity. I spend half of my time in Staritsa and thus will be able to do some monitoring to make sure your help is used as intended.

pv

Need to contact the orphanage? I will translate and relay your message and their response.

A complete (big anyway) list of orphanages around the world: http://www.orphanage.org/

Staritsa Children's Shelter Main Page
Related: Vozdvizheniye ~ The City of Staritsa, Tver Region
Contact me