Summer camp 2003
Since 1999, Maria’s Children has annually held creative summer camps for orphans, socially disadvantaged and disabled children. The venue is a ship called “Nasha Semeyka” (Our Big Unique Family) Why ship? Not only because this journey enables children to visit new places, to learn the history and culture of their native land and to draw in the open air, but also because it is very important that during these two weeks, they can live side by side with people who come to give the children their time and care, because children can really feel as a family, they can understand the value of friendship and mutual help, they can bring out the best in them, and to learn to share it with others. We make a fascinating voyage from Moscow to Saint Petersburg or Samara and back, during which the children have a chance to meet great people and make new friends, to learn not only some practical skills, but to gain invaluable experience of social communication as well.
Every day on board the ship we organize master classes in painting, drawing, embroidery, theatre, clownery, improvisation, and at the end of the journey we always arrange a big exhibition of children’s works, and give a concert where every child can show his or her talent. Every day is a theme day, even every dinner is unusual, and this fact turns the journey into a festival of friendship and creativity. At our stops, apart from going on excursions, we visit children’s hospitals and orphanages, where we make clown shows for children.
The project camp “Nasha Semeyka (Our Big Unique Family)” is organized and conducted by the centre “Maria’s Children” together with an international group of volunteers. Over the years, we’ve enjoyed the support of people from Italy, England, Holland, Danemark, Germany and the USA, including teenagers from a children’s theatre in Vermont, whose director Steven Sterns is one of the American co-directors of the project.
Over the five years of the project, it has become richer and greater. While the first journey gathered only 25 children, the summer 2003 camp saw the whole ship full of children. Now, the camp “Nasha Semeyka (Our Big Unique Family) hosts 180 people, and the journeys become unforgettable for everyone who comes.
The main source of financial help is voluntary donations of the people who participate in the project. As a rule, every foreign volunteer pays not only for his/her own ticket, but for the ticket of one or several children as well. Besides, we try to get grants for the project, which would enable us to bring as more children as possible.