Who are we?
Caring Hands Russia is a small charity whose aim is to work for people in need, especially children and young people, in the former Soviet Union. We generally work with other agencies, both charitable and local government, in their own establishments, such as children’s homes, schools or hospitals. We work mainly in and around St Petersburg.
State funding for most orphanages, hospitals, schools and other centres provides barely enough money for food and staff salaries, let alone buildings maintenance, renewing of equipment, or the provision of resources to prepare the youngsters for adult life. The ‘Children’s Home’ teenager is often discriminated against in the jobs market, and faces the pressures of drugs and crime, and the threat of Aids. Popular attitudes to disability are changing, but very slowly outside the major cities. The level of things like access to public buildings, or even shops, the availability of mobility aids, and the readiness of parents – especially fathers – to accept their own disabled child, is some distance from the standards we in the West have learned to regard as the norm.
Day to day
Caring Hands has no capital, owns no property and has no paid employees. Co-ordinating and promoting its work in this country is shared by the trustees.
We prefer wherever possible to offer practical help rather than to be just a fund-raising agency. We welcome anyone to work with us who cares to do so, but have determined that trustees and management appointees should be committed Christians.
Our aim is to support, encourage and enable local people to carry on their work more effectively, rather than to do the job for them. Our commitment to individual projects is therefore normally short-term rather than long-term, though each is considered according to its own needs. It is also our principle to work on the basis of responding to requests for help received from Russian nationals. This is especially useful when folk ask us why we go, or why we have come, to Russia.
Active consideration is given to future visits to Britain by Russian partners. If you are involved in such areas as creating employment opportunities for people with disabilities or learning difficulties, supporting families who have children with those challenges, or in training schemes for young people, or other work with disadvantaged people, or in social welfare, and would value an exchange of ideas and experience with Russian counterparts, please contact Tony Wilcox at the office address.
Please contact us through our Contacts Page if you would like to be added to our mailing list, or to consider joining a volunteer work team, or to invite one of us to visit your group to speak about the work we do.