In 2016, a group of relative strangers travelled to Russia to build a playground. The playground was to make safe the exterior of a women’s crisis centre where the grounds that were strewn with hazardous objects. The team really gelled and found themselves dreaming about other ways to improve this facility that is so basic and run down in appearance yet so needed in this community.
Immense poverty, abuse, homelessness among women with no means to support themselves is a real problem in the town and surrounding areas where the crisis centre is located. Young girls and ladies have been rescued from horrific circumstances nearby and others have been known to travel vast distances just to find sanctuary here.
During the week of the playground build, the team were able to take a good look around a half-finished building on the centre’s grounds that could potentially house many more destitute women.
It was decided, as soon as we could get the funds together, we would be back! During Christmas 2017 the fundraising was on a roll and by Easter we were able to tell Alina, who runs the centre, that we’d raised enough to complete the job. Her absolute joy really was palpable. She wanted to know who had been so kind and was astounded to hear that more than a hundred individuals had gotten behind them.
Here we are now, in the Summer of 2018. 2 years after our dreaming and 2 weeks before the Team head off on another building adventure!
Meet the team….
Matt will be leading the project as the professional builder in charge.
James is also a pro builder and Matt’s second-in-command.
Simon is leading the project from a logistics/Love Russia perspective – he’s just finishing remodelling his second house.
Lawrence was a professional plumber and is an all-round legend (he doesn’t always look like this).
Helen is handy and resourceful with DIY experience. She’s also our media bod so will be wielding a camera a lot.
Abi is a summer camp veteran, has bags of energy and will give anything a try. She may also be called upon to occupy children if they’re getting in the way!
Nikita has served long years as an interpreter at our camp in Estonia, and this is his 2nd LR project of 2018. He is currently remodelling his new flat.
Anya was an interpreter on the 2016 team. She was helpful, reliable and got stuck and all-round excellent!
Helena is and ex member of LR staff, now a volunteer, she just cannot stop loving Russia!
Practically, we would not be able to complete the vast amount of work needed to transform the interior of the building in just one week. So local volunteers from a nearby men’s rehabilitation centre have been preparing the way for some months – we are so excited to join them! The enclosed play area has been a real blessing for the vulnerable mums and their children who come to stay…. New rooms for refuge will do infinitely more!
So, in the (almost) words of popular film from the 90’s 'The Full Monty' … ‘We may not be young, we may not be pretty, we may not be right good… but were here and for one night week only, were doing the crisis centre build!’