Building Life Together: Preparing Orphans for Full Social Integration

Helping orphans is one of the main areas in MegaFon's charity activities. We ran 18 projects in 2015 together with our partners for more than 9,300 orphans in every region of Russia with a total budget of 64 million rubles (roughly a third of the company's annual charity budget).

Nowadays orphans are guaranteed material support from the state to take them into their adult lives. But many specialists note significant problems in terms of social adaptation that are engrained in the education system in children's homes.

This is why our programs are aimed at preparing children for a successful independent life as part of society; they help children set life goals, teach them leadership skills, how to work together and about personal responsibility, allowing children to resolve life issues themselves and teaching them not to be dependent, something it is easy to get used to in a children's home.

One of the most memorable and successful projects in 2015 was Building Life Together, which was run by the New Eurasia Foundation and the Nadezhda (Hope) charity foundation with our support.

The program included a new concept for Russia, "social planning": the children learnt to communicate and work in teams, creating their own socially important projects in completely different areas. For example, they themselves built a children's playground, set up a summer camp for children from large and poor families, organized a mobile concert and made a documentary about veterans. No money was given for these projects: the children themselves had to present their suggestions to businesses or state bodies, get approval and raise money.

We suggested starting the project in the Vladimir, Kostroma and Yaroslavl regions with children from orphanages where MegaFon has worked before. In 2016 it will be expanded to the Belgorod, Ivanovo, Novosibirsk, Tambov, and Tomsk regions.

The first results confirmed our expectations, with children gaining great experience working in teams with peers and adults they didn't know before, learning how to speak with government bodies and business and expanding their social network.

We are certain that this experience will definitely help the children in future. In the long term, social planning projects improve children's chances of getting into university and finding a job and boost the likelihood that the children will create prosperous families.

Every day we work to include more long-term sustainable projects in MegaFon's charity portfolio like this that systematically change the situation for the better and resolve pressing social problems across Russia.

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