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TEFL INTERNATIONAL's Fundraiser:

Maria's Children Russia Art Orphanage

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BENEFITING: TEFL INTERNATIONAL

THE STORY:

About us


Our studio is a place where boys and girls from state boarding schools come to make art. They are all very different from one another, but there is one thing that unites them: they are children who have been unlucky in life - from the very beginning and due to circumstances beyond their control. They are orphans. Some of these children belong to the group now put into the general category of “social orphans,” that is children whose parents are in fact alive, but have relinquished their parental rights or had them revoked. At seven years of age, children leave their baby house to enter an orphanage school, and if they cannot read or write - or if they speak poorly, as often happens - they are diagnosed as “debil”. From that point, their path is set: special school, technical high school, unskilled work, a room in a communal apartment, and the stigma of being “underdeveloped”.

The number of orphans in Russia is currently approaching one million. Lacking life experience in a normal family, and faced with modern demands of education and psychological stability, the majority of these children are unable to fully integrate themselves into society. Their own children end up in baby houses, and the cycle continues.

Although there is a lot missing from the lives of orphans living in state homes, these children nevertheless become accustomed to state support, which often leads them to develop a possesive approach to society. We are trying to change this situation.

Maria's Children uses arts therapy to help in the social, psychological and intellectual rehabilitation of orphans and special-needs children. In this way, we seek to enable them to become fully-valued members of society, sharing the same rights as everyone else. We would like there to be the greatest number possible of happy and successful people in our society. If you want to help us you can transfer a donation .

Our arts centre arose as a result of extended work by Moscow artist Maria Yeliseyeva and other volunteers with a group of orphans from state boarding school No. 103. Maria and her friends regularly visited the orphanage, took children into their homes on weekends and holidays, and began to paint with them. Art was the key that opened a new world for the children, and there was a place in this world for the love that had been taken away from them. In our studio, we try to create an atmosphere of warmth and goodwill which, combined with contact with children from regular families, helps to prepare orphans for independent life, facilitates their social adaptation, expands their outlook, and noticeably corrects their psychological and emotional upbringing.

At the moment, there are more than two hundred children from various Moscow-area orphanages who work in our studio; among them are children with cerebral palsy and other conditions. They study drawing and painting, sewing and embroidery, music and ceramics, theatre and elements of circus arts, and are offered consultations with a psychologist. Throughout the existence of our centre, our students have created a great number of creative works, including more than a hundred collective panels, many of which adorn private collections, and public and government organizations in Russia and abroad. Every year our works are shown at various exhibitions, including an annual one at the Central House of Artists in Moscow.

In addition to serving as an arts studio, our centre is the basis for a number of special programs, including a social adaptation program for orphanage-school graduates, the goal of which is to assist them in their integration into society. We have already been able to help many graduates to continue their education in a chosen field, find work, and set their lives in order.

A fundamental element of the social adaptation program is the creation of a charitable children’s centre called the “Pelican Arts Club” . Its basic task will be to help children leaving the confines of specialized orphanage schools to assimilate into society. The Pelican will be more than just a restaurant - it will be a new kind of establishment. The fundamental goals of this establishment will be focused less on commercial gain (although we do intend that the project become gradually self-supporting), than on facilitating the social adaptation of various categories of at-risk youth.

Our young friends come through the studio doors not only for classes of various types, but also to learn sympathy, responsibility, and other necessary qualities of life. In the course of just one year, children volunteer at a baby house, at the First Children’s Hospice for Children with Oncological Diseases, and in various public and governmental organizations that work with people with special needs and developmentally-impaired children. Practically all of our students take part in regular creative and clowning activities which we lead in Moscow and the surrounding areas. We regularly visit a number of hospitals in Moscow, such as the Children’s Division of the Oncological Centre, where we have clown celebrations for the young patients. In addition, we organize creative trips which have allowed our students to visit many cities in our country. During these trips, children visit local hospitals, orphanages, and shelters, and also have a chance to draw from nature and familiarize themselves with the history and culture of other cities.

Every summer, with the help of an international team of volunteers, we organize an arts camp for children. For two weeks, the children have the opportunity to take part in various master classes, relax, and make new friends.

In fact, everything mentioned on this page is just a small part of what goes on within the walls of our studio. The most important thing we have here is an atmosphere of creativity, friendship, and mutual trust between children and adults, which we hope will help every person, big or small, to find their place in life. Through the years of our studio’s existence we’ve formed a fantastic team made up of teachers constantly at work on the project and a great number of volunteers. Come and join us! We’d be thrilled!

 

~If you want to help 

 


If what we do stirs something inside of you into action, and you would like to help us somehow…please don’t ignore that feeling!! We depend so much on financial donations/support from people like you; we also are staffed by many volunteers who are professionals and want to share their knowledge with the children. Your time is also invaluable and much needed—you don’t need to be a professional, talented artist to help the kids feel like one! What is most important for our children is that they experience an open, sustained dialogue with adults outside of the orphanage institution. The more interesting and successful, good people they meet, the more ideas they get about who THEY can grow up to be!

These are the options available to you:

You can:

  

transfer a donation directly into our studio’s bank account

 

  

come to our studio in the center of Moscow as a volunteer; essentially as a volunteer you would talk to or work with the children in their art projects…being face to face also gives you the opportunity to share your knowledge of let’s say, for example, using a computer or using a phone card.

 

  host children for the weekend in your house, and teach them basic household skills, take them out to eat, or simply serve them home-made food

  

buy our cards and calendars, children's paintings and ceramicspurchase some of the children’s art 

 

  

donate:

 

- Art materials (paint, brushes, paper, canvases, pencils, notebooks, fabric, acrylic paint for our wall murals, felt, supplemental tools for lessons [sewing machines, instruments, etc.] )

- Second-hand children's clothes still in good condition, --coats, boots/shoes included! --

 

- DIAPERS!!! That’s one thing that’s always in short supply, also, hygienic products (detergent, soap, shampoo)

 

- Second-hand furniture and home appliances for graduates of the boarding schools starting independent life,

 

- Second-hand computers and office equipment.

 

  

Join us as a clown (we’ll teach you how! We have everything here!) on our trips to orphanages/hospitals

 

 

  

Volunteer  to help us with the Pelican Art Club

 

 

 

Anything else not listed that might help us…

 

We invite everyone, anytime!!!

 

  

Our Bank Information.

 

For transfers (in $USA):

BENEFICIARY:       Maria’s children

ACC USD:     40703840900001007326

BENEFICIARY BANK:      CB “OPM-Bank” Ltd,

ADDRESS:    Moscow, Russia

BENEFICIARY BANK ACC (USD):        0104081419

WITH VTB BANK (DEUTSCHLAND) AG

Frankfurt Am Main, Germany

SWIFT:           OWHBDEFF

Intermediary Bank:    (USD) CITIBANK NA

NEW YORK, UNITED STATES

SWIFT:           CITIUS33

DETAILS OF PAYMENT: Contract and invioce numbers, charitable donation

For transfers (in EURO):

BENEFICIARY:       Maria’s children

ACC EURO: 40703978500001007326

BENEFICIARY BANK:      CB “OPM-Bank” Ltd,

ADDRESS:    Moscow, Russia

BENEFICIARY BANK ACC (EURO):     0104081393

WITH VTB BANK (DEUTSCHLAND) AG

Frankfurt Am Main, Germany

SWIFT:           OWHBDEFF

DETAILS OF PAYMENT: Contract and invioce numbers, charitable donation
 

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Donor Comments

Cessilia Park

Cessilia Park

DONATION: $10

5 years ago