St Paul’s Girls’ School to Orion

St Paul’s Girls’ School to Orion

St Paul's Students on bench
St Paul’s Girls’ School Students

In July 2014, a School group of 8 pupils from St Paul’s Girls’ School, 3 from Bristol Grammar School and 1 from Bedales School visited Orion Children’s Community with their Russian teacher Irina Ninnis, to experience Russian culture within the Kitezh Children’s Community. Irina writes:


It has been a fantastic trip. The girls have made new friends, enjoyed working together on intercultural projects, doing volunteering work, lessons planning and interacting with kids and adults. They coped wonderfully with rather unusual for them tasks like carpentry, plastering, washing up, household cleaning and working in the kitchen garden. There was no time to get bored or homesick. The weather was beautiful and a trip to the local river Nara was a real and unexpected treat for them. They all had a time of their life and are already hoping that I will take them their again next year.

We met a lot of  fantastic people who are dedicated to their work, open, friendly, enormously talented and resourceful. It was a real pleasure meeting them and working with them and I sincerely hope that this is not the end but a beginning to a new long term work together.

St Paul's Student
St Paul’s Girls’ School Students practising Russian

Anna Chulack, one of the pupils from St Paul’s Girls’ School had the following to say about her experience at Kitezh:

My time at Orion was truly one of the most fulfilling and exciting experiences I have ever had, cheesy as it may sound. I enjoyed myself immensely and really felt that I had made somewhat of a difference, whether it be by painting walls, acting as a translator (as I knew both languages better most) or simply by chatting with or playing games with the children.

I would recommend this volunteering program with highest regards to anyone interested in learning about the differences between their native culture and Russian culture and in improving their Russian and communicative skills in general.


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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.