december 2009

december 2009

ThePromise Volunteer Project has seen some interesting and exciting developments in the past year and is becoming more specialised in response to the needs of both the staff and children in Russia.

The project aims to recruit and support volunteers willing to share their specialist knowledge and expertise with the staff, children and families in Russia. ThePromise is very lucky to be able to call on a number of professionals to provide the advice, training and treatment so desperately needed. To date this includes Occupational Therapists, Dietitians and Physiotherapists. Having these professionals to work with the dedicated team of Portage Workers in Russia ensures the children receive therapy alongside their Portage promoting their overall development, health and wellbeing.

One such volunteer, Gillian an experienced Dietitian, spent a week with the staff and children in Yelatma at the beginning of the year initiating work on assessing the children’s dietary needs and the food that is currently provided.  This work has helped ThePromise understand some of the nutritional needs of the children and put in place resources for supplying additional food and vitamins to those children in desperate need.

ThePromise is very aware of how important the children’s general health and nutrition is to ensure they are able to reach their potential in both Portage and therapy.  This is an area of continued concern and remains high on the agenda.

The Volunteer Project is currently looking for qualified people who are interested in supporting ThePromise’s work in Russia, both on a consultancy basis in the UK and to travel to Russia providing hands on support and training to the Portage teams.  If you are interested or have any questions please contact

Sushki 2009

This year, as a one off experience, ThePromise facilitated four Gap Year students, Phoebe, Suzy, Ruth and Emily to spend some time in Sushki Summer Camp where children from the Ryazan Baby Home go during the warm summer months to enjoy some time outside. The children and carers stay in an old monastery with fenced in areas for the children to play. Unfortunately, as with most institutions there are not enough carers to give the children individual attention or play with them so it was planned for Phoebe, Suzy, Ruth and Emily to stay in Sushki spending time providing games, activities and general fun for the children.The students lived in basic accommodation on the monastery site, bathing in the nearby river and cooking on a small camping stove. They spent as much time with the children as possible, which seemed to vary depending on the carers on duty, but were able to see some children most days. Many of the children in Sushki were receiving Portage as part of ThePromise's Portage programme and the volunteers were able to observe and learn from the Portage Workers about the children's sessions, progress and disabilities, giving them a greater understanding of the impact of Portage for the children in the Ryazan Baby Home.Phoebe, Suzy, Ruth and Emily spend some time in Sushki Summer Camp

“It was fantastic, the kids were amazing, so lively and desperate for attention.  We tried to spend as much time as possible with them, one of their favourite activities was playing with the bubbles we took, they would chase and catch them for hours”

Phoebe, Ruth, Suzy & Emily organised a  number of fundraising events before their trip to ensure they were able to take toys, crafts, games and play equipment such as paddling pools with them. The children clearly enjoyed exploring and playing with these things supported by the volunteers and everything was donated to the Baby Home in their return so that the children can continue to enjoy them.  The volunteers found leaving the children and Russia very difficult but know that those weeks spent playing and spending time with the children is an invaluable experience, not only for them but especially for the children.

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