Building bridges between Geneva and St Petersburg
23-27 October 2006, St Petersburgh: Building bridges between the School Emilie-Gourd, Geneva (Upper Form) and a Centre for homeless youth, St Petersburgh, Russia.
Two students from Collège Emilie-Gourd, Geneva, chose for their A-level special subject ‘Humanitarian Aid’ a project which will enable them to work with young people and children of ‘Dom Miloserdie’ for a week.
They will work with the youngsters at the Centre on an art project in form of posters, which will stay at the Centre, and of paintings, which will be collected and edited later.
Theme of the week: ‘Who am I ?’
The students hope that the youngsters will express themselves by painting, working with glue and collage on the question of their identity.
A most worthwhile project.
Mrs Evelyne Fiechter, teacher of ‘humanitarian law’ at the Collège Emilie-Gourd, will accompany Morgane and Julie.
Mrs Py-Dard, French and literature teacher, has been counselling the project.
The evaluation will be part of the diploma ‘Maturité Suisse’
We wish Morgane and Julie a an enriching experience, as well as to their teacher, Mrs Fiechter.
15, rue le Corbusier, CH-1208 GENEVE
Details of the project
For years now, the city of St Petersburg has been suffering from the problem of street children – and the problem has grown exponentially since the dissolution of the USSR.
According to the most optimistic sources, there could be 16,000 or more of them living in the cellars and attics of the city
The reasons impelling them to choose life on the streets are many and varied: the increase of criminality in the heart of Russian society, the speculation in property which puts some families out on the streets and the heavy consumption of alcohol and drugs… To these must be added the disorientation experienced by many families as a result of joblessness, in many cases resulting in their failing to bring up their children.
Deprived of parental care or with parents who are alcoholics or drug addicts, abandoned to the tender mercy of mafias or to prostitution and exploitation, these children often have nothing better than prison to look forward to
Introduction to the Dom Miloserdie Centre
The Dom Miloserdie centre for the reintegration of children in difficulty is situated at St Petersburg, in an ancient palace on Vassili Island on the Neva. Created in 1992 under the direction of Viatcheslav Nikitin, the centre now opens its doors – with the approval of the St Petersburg municipal authorities and in partnership with the Orthodox fraternity of St. Anastasia – to children from difficult backgrounds.
The children who come to the centre, of whom there are around thirty at any one time, have experienced terrible physical and moral hardships and are backward in their development. Before rediscovering normal life in their own family or a foster-family, they need to go through a period of resocialisation. It may be some time before they are able to recover some degree of stability, discover an identity and relate to the world around them.
The centre functions autonomously, while receiving support from the state which to some extent covers the expenses of its operations.
Nonetheless, numerous European humanitarian organisations also contribute to the well-being of the children and young people who are received at Dom Miloserdie, particularly Secours Catholique, CCFD and ACER-Russie, France.
Organisation of a programme of reintegration through leisure activities
The Dom Miloserdie centre offers trips and excursions in which street children and all the children supported by the centre can take part, as well as the children’s foster-families, biological parents and teachers.
These are real seminaries on the road, in the context of which projects can come into being and cooperative relations can be encouraged between the parents, foster-families and the children themselves.
Text taken from ‘Dom Miloserdie’, a reception centre for children of the streets.
91, rue Olivier de Serres, F–75015 Paris, FRANCE
Morgane and Julie to meet the children of the streets at Dom Miloserdie
It is against this background that two students from the Classe de Maturité [Maturity Class] of the Collège Emilie-Gourd, Geneva, will be visiting the young people of the Dom Miloserdie reintegration centre in the autumn holidays.
Morgane and Julie will be leading a painting workshop.
The Jonas Foundation is lending financial support to this project, which will allow young people who have undergone very great difficulties in the past to express themselves freely through the artistic medium of painting.
We congratulate the two girls on having chosen this as a project for their Maturity year – one in which they will be meeting young people from a difficult background and doing socially useful and humanitarian work.
Madame Py-Dard, Morgane, Julie, Madame Evelyne Fiechter.
Svetlana Bezroutchenko, director of the centre ‘Dom Miloserdie’.