A Boy With A Future Thanks To Kitezh

A Boy With A Future Thanks To Kitezh

Alexei in 2008 at Kitezh
Alexei, age 8, soon after he arrived

Imagine a poor rural family, two small boys and two alcoholic parents. “Sometimes we didn’t see them for days, once it was three weeks. The neighbours gave us food and even let us sleep in their house.” Inevitably the social services stepped in and the boys were taken to a ‘shelter’. Fortunately not long after, a couple from Kitezh, Misha and Masha, were looking for another child, or two children to take into their family. So in June 2008, a quiet but inquisitive little boy and his older brother Anton came to Kitezh ‘for a holiday’. Everywhere he followed his brother, who wanted to know how things worked. They were free to join in whatever activities they liked and it became clear that they were open and willing to participate in the life of the community. “I thought it was just another village in the country.”

Learning woodworking at Kitezh
Brothers learning woodworking

The bureaucratic process proved difficult and disheartening, dragging on for months, owing partly to Alexei’s poor health at that time, but eventually, Alexei and Anton became part of Misha and Masha’s family – new parents with a new bigger brother. It wasn’t always easy, but Alexei liked having Sasha, the oldest boy in the family, to show him what to do and how things worked in Kitezh. But best of all was having Masha and Misha there, every day – “Every day! And nearby all day.”

“You know, when my natural father died, it was a shock, someone close to me dying – but it seemed ordinary too. After all he was always drunk. So when my mother died, it didn’t really matter. My REAL parents are Misha and Masha; they’re good to be with, they love me. Now I’m seventeen and I know if it wasn’t for them, I might be a drunkard on the street, or maybe I’d be dead.”

Max woodworking at Kitezh
Still creating woodwork at 17 yrs old

Next year Alexei will go to a top university in Moscow to study Geography (inspired by the Kitezh Geography teacher, Misha!), Maths and Russian. “I want to travel, I want to see this country, so maybe with these subjects I can get a good job where the boss will pay me to travel!”

This is not an unusual story, this is what inspires Kitezhans to keep on doing this work, year after year. A remarkably intelligent boy has the opportunity for education that would not have been available to him had he remained in an orphanage. The story from the parents’ side is often one of patiently enduring years of rejection and hostility from children whose life-experience has taught them to always expect the worst; until they are finally able to accept the love and care of Kitezh.

The Shurov family in 2015
The Shchurov family

Now Kitezh is building, growing, inspiring others. One such person is Simon Clark, who is running around Britain to raise funds, inspired by the work happening in Kitezh. Your donations have really helped to make a difference to Alexei and all the other children who have found loving homes and a unique education at Kitezh. However, these are difficult times and Kitezh needs your support to continue its important work.
Please make a donation now!

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susie Kemp

Susie has 30+ experience as a creative copywriter, editor, and proofreader, starting out as a 20-year-old copywriter in the Mad Men world of early 1990s advertising in South Africa. Ever since, she’s had a love affair with creative conceptualisation, thinking outside of the box, writing to a deadline, and being thrown in the deep end!

She took an MSc in Publishing at Edinburgh Napier University as a mature student, in 2015, and continues to keep herself busy working as a copy-editor, proofreader and copywriter in book publishing, corporate communications, and publishing project management.

Apart from her love of working with independent authors, Susie has a fondness for working in the third sector and likes to use her corporate communications and marketing experience to support projects close to her heart. She has lived and worked in the Findhorn area for 25 years, and has been involved in a number of third sector projects and organisations, and family businesses.

Working at Ecologia Youth Trust helps Susie to live in integrity with her values of supporting the next generation to be the best that they can be, and she sees it as a way to give back to Mama Africa, the beloved continent on which she was born.

Ellen Shaw

Ellen joined the Ecologia team in June 2018 as Marketing and Communications Manager. Ellen has lived in Scotland for 6 years and has worked for non-profit and charitable organisations across varied fields. She currently shares her passion for helping young people through Ecologia Youth Trust and she works as a dancer and dance teacher in her spare time.

Robyn Cooper

Robyn is the Associate Director of International Projects, having previously worked within the team as a Project Development and Marketing Officer from April 2019 until May 2021. As Associate Director, Robyn is co-leading the International side of Ecologia with Founder and Director, Liza Hollingshead, bringing a new energy into Ecologia as they look towards the future of the charity.

Liza Hollingshead

Liza is the founder of Ecologia and Director of International Projects. She was born and educated in South Africa and worked there as a high school teacher. She moved to live in the Findhorn Community in 1974. She started Ecologia in 1995 after being introduced to Dmitry Morozov, the founder of Kitezh Children’s Community in Russia, and was inspired to support the community in its mission to rescue orphaned children from institutions and give them homes, families and education in a supportive environment.

This led to projects supporting disadvantaged youth and children in South East Asia and in East Africa. TRead more about Liza’s story here.