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No child should feel like an outcast...

At last, Russia is seeing a progression in attitudes towards disability. Autism, as an official diagnosis, has only been accepted in Russia during the last decade. Previously It was considered a childhood disease and treated as a sickness with medicines, injections and even electrotherapy. After the age of 18, it was often misdiagnosed as schizophrenia.

Because of this delay, support programs for families with autistic children in Russia are quite new and need development. There is a lack of trained non-medical professionals (teachers, psychologists, speech therapists, etc.) and schools are not ready to provide for children with autism. As a result, most are kept at home.

This is why it is so remarkable that Yuri and his wife Ira started a facility for children with mental disabilities 30 years ago!.. a facility that Love Russia has supported for 27 years. The aim of the project was, and still is, to train teenagers with disabilities and create jobs for them. And, in the process, build their confidence and skills while they fulfil real orders for real people and earn a little in the process.

Ira, who continues to run Federovits, says...

"Yes, these young people are different. Their mental disabilities mean that working under normal conditions isn't possible... BUT with lots of encouragement and taking the time to teach them... there are many skills they CAN perform just as well as anyone else.

Our goal at Federovits is to help them prepare for independent life, teach them not to be afraid of new things, overcome difficulties, not limit themselves in communicating with other people and to enjoy every day. All these years, we rejoice over every small success of our guys!"

"Zhenya is a special boy. He has autism and he does not talk. But I can tell he likes us and being here very much. He understands everything and performs all his tasks with care and accuracy.

I am concerned about his future. Zhenya lives alone with his father and his mother died a year ago. I continue to surround him with care and love, and it makes me so happy when he tries to use his words."