The Volunteering Project was set up in 2005 and arranges for volunteers to help in the Smilovichi Children's Social Orphanage, not far from Minsk in Belarus, at any time of the year. You will help the children to enjoy all kinds of activities, face painting, walks, football, parachute games, discos, painting, collages, making crafts etc as well as generally helping with the running of the unit, some maintenance of the building, organizing trips out with the children, all under the direction of the units manager.
Volunteer helpers are very often students who go during the summer holidays in groups of four or five for two or three weeks. They stay in the orphanage in separate accomodation and have their meals with the children.
The orphanage is home to children from the ages of 3 to 16 years and can take up to 30 children at any one time, although the number is usually about 16.
These children are there for a variety of reasons but mostly because, although they have living parents, the parents have lost temporary or permanent parental rights due very often to alcohol dependence. Generally the children stay for up to six months and in many cases are able to return home to their families, under a new government initiative, if however that is not possible then the children may go to a larger permanent orphanage or to foster care.
If you wish to be a volunteer please contact our office 01980 622289 for an application form. Generally we only allow volunteers to go to the orphanage in groups, because as this is a government institution we are bound by their regulations.
This year some of the volunteers will have the opportunity of spending one of their weeks at this children's summer camp which was recently given a much needed face lift with some money donated by a French charity. This summer camp is much closer to the orphanage at Smilovichi than the previous camp and although there is no shop the village is clean and close to a good safe river for swimming all surrounded by wonderful countryside and woodland.
The summer camp can take up to sixty children from various schools and children's homes and will be a great extension to our volunteering program.