In most large cities, you’ll find some deprivation and need. In Ryazan, where Love Russia supports locals caring for orphans, orphanage leavers and orphan mums, there is a great deal of need in the community. Serve the City is a global movement that seeks to gather volunteers and ‘show kindness in practical ways to people in need’. This ethos completely fits with Love Russia’s own core values. So, for the second year running we joined forces with locals in Ryazan to Serve the City. Over the 4 serving days between 10 & 15 volunteers (different faces on different days) met up and divided into teams to respond to various needs.
Fly tipping and general waste is a big problem. Each day a small group got clearing. They focused on communal areas found outside large tower blocks where many families live. These areas are where children play so the team made sure they removed any broken glass, rusty metal and discarded needles to make these areas safer.
Some of us went to a hugely underfunded college where we have supported orphan students in recent years. The college houses 40 residential orphanage leavers out of the total 100 students.
On two of our serving days, small teams visited the college grounds to help dig and plant new veggies that will benefit the students later in the year. The staff here really seem to care about the orphans (aged 16 - 18 years old) who are left in their care. They take steps to ensure they have contacts they can turn to once their time at the college is up.
Orphan flat clearance...
By far the biggest project we got involved with was stripping back a derelict flat that is home to three orphanage leavers; 2 brothers, and 1 girl. All three, now in their 20's, spent the majority of their childhoods in the orphanage system. 2 of them now have a baby. Trapped in poverty and with no idea how to go about a flat renovation, it was so important to lend a hand and help them get started. Without this gift of voluntary team work, it would have taken them months, not days.We carried the broken fixtures and furniture down 10 flights of stairs. Nothing in this flat was worthy of salvage and a large skip was filled to overflowing before this one bed flat was fully empty. Behind every item we moved, an intrusion of cockroaches ran free! There were 5 layers or more of peeling wall paper, sackfuls of fire damaged plaster, an old bath and a concrete wall to remove too. The place can now be fumigated and the smell that had built up through years of neglect is beginning to clear. The flat is now a blank canvas, ready to be made into a home and a safe environment for these young people who have had nothing of their own their entire lives. Since the flat is still unlivable, our transition homes once again served their purpose as temporary shelter whilst the renovations continue.The completion of this project has been left in the capable hands of a mentor who will help the orphan boys through the process and teach them valuable practical skills along the way.
In 2020 we will be going again! At the moment we anticipate joining a Serve the City team during June. You can register your interest to come with us by providing just your email address and we'll pass on more information about the trip as soon as we have it.
Register here >