In July our children went to Italy again, some of them for the third time and for some it was a first experience of everything: first flight, first journey to another country, first experience of staying with a family. 13 children from the special correctional boarding-school #4 have been staying with families in Lecco Province, Lombardy for a month.

This year free plane tickets were provided by Russia Airlines, for which we are very thankful. The trip was coordinated by our Italian friend and volunteer Michela Bolognani, President of NGO MIR – Friends of “Maria’s Children”.

It is appropriate to mention here that Michela, her relatives and friends with their families got together and started their non-profit agency especially for the purpose to invite legally children from Russia to stay with them. Last year 7 families and this year 13 families had our children staying with them, and children were received with such warmth, care and love, that they were absolutely happy.

The summer in the childhood seems endless. For children there were mountain trips, a trip to the city of Milan, intensive Italian studies, biking (most of children learned biking when in Italy), swimming in the lake and aqua park, art workshops and fellowship with wonderful Italian children and adults. The most precious experience was their life with the family with a mother, a father, grandparents, brothers and sisters, cats and dogs.

For example, Rafik happened to stay with a family which owns a dairy farm with lots of domestic animals and this 10-year-old boy just loves them; he even was lucky to watch a calf being born.As for Oleg, he stayed with a family which owns a café and he being a friendly, caring and energetic boy was very helpful there, fascinating clients by his smile and Italian words.

There were some misunderstanding as well but they were settled at the end: one of our boys got confused with the Italianwords yes and no, so he misinterpreted everything his Italian parents were telling him and thought: “Very funny that my mom asks me to fire a watergun at her ear. Well, if that’s what she wants…” Our group consisted only of 10-year-olds, and older boys, Arthur, two Dimas and Marat came to our rescue in all situation. It is great to watch our children growing up.

Summer like this is very valuable for our children; they learned a lot and met many good people; these memories will encourage them now and in the future.

We are thankful to Michela Bolognani and all the families which played host for our children, to Russia Airlines (www.rossiya-airlines.com) for free airplane tickets and patient flight attendants, to Milanese notary Mathias Bastrenta, to the staff of Italian consulate in Moscow and Nadezhda Battiato personally, to the staff and leaders of Moscow Department of Education, represented by Alla N.Khokutskaya, for assistance with receiving papers, to the staff and leaders of the boarding-school #4 and its principal Valeriy I. Krasniy personally for having faith in us and for cooperation. Thank you, everyone whose support, both financial and moral, makes possible our work and helps children’s dreams to come true. THANK YOU, ALL OF YOU, OUR FRIENDS! GRAZIE A VOI TUTTI!