Every year thousands of people from different countries spend 2-3 weeks on holidays or vacation. Some of them go to relax on the beach, or study abroad. Other people, yet, travel to the other side of the world, or to a neighboring country, or even to a neighboring city in order to help someone who needs help, to do something selflessly and not for the sake of money. These strange people are called volunteers and they do not live on the other side of the world, but next to you, perhaps even on the same street.
Every year, several hundred volunteers from all over the world travel to workcamps to restore ancient castles and manors, help clean up garbage in the reservations or parks, communicate and engage with disadvantaged children, organise activities for children from orphanages as well as many more wonderful things that are in a modest way making the world a better place.
More than 300 organizations organise international workcamps around the world (even as far as India, Ecuador and Botswana).
The idea of volunteering, as we now know it, came to Russia in the 90’s when the first NGOs started to appear. At first, SFERA Movement was one of the projects of Nizhny Novgorod Voluntary Service for 5 years, and was established as an independent NGO only in March, 2007.
The very first workcamp organised by Nizhny Novgorod Voluntary Service was in the Kerzhenets Reserve in 2001. Volunteers from Germany, Czech Republic, Belgium, Poland and Italy were renovating the school building and cleaning the territory of the reserve during 2 weeks.
Since then, we annually organize around 10 projects a year all over Russia. In our native Nizhny Novgorod region, in picturesque Karelia, full of rare plants and animals, the Nenets Reserve, the Caucasus, in hot Volgograd, in the capital of our Motherland – in Moscow, Ryazan, Nizhnevartovsk , Kirov, Ulyanovsk and many other Russian cities and regions.
With help of the volunteers we managed to:
– paint the hallway of the orphanage in Nizhny Novgorod
– clean the garden and help to organize ecological festival in Kronstadt
– improve the botanical garden of Moscow State University
– dig out the monument of late mesolite epoch in the Chuvash Republic
– build touristic path in the Altun Mountain Natural Reserve in the Altai mountains
– clean shores of lakes in Smolensk Poozery’e
– help pedagogues of summer children camps in Nizhny Novgorod region and Nizhnevartovsk
– play our national games with children in Polistovsky nature reserve
– clean springs and talked about global ecological problems in Tomsk
– renovate old manor in Vologda region
– restore books in the children library in Nizhny Novgorod region village and we can go on and on!
By tradition, newest list of workcamps for the year appears in March. You will be able to see the list of our workcamps for summer 2019 here and on our Facebook page.
Answers to frequently asked questions about the workcamps in Russia can be found here.
The comments of both the organizers and leaders of the camps can be found here.