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Charity Xmas Festival Brings Together 13 Charity Organizations at HSE University

A New Year's fair, information about non-commercial organisations,  masterclasses, lectures and an obstacle demonstration with a guide dog: just some of the events that occurred as part of HSE’s contribution to the International Day of Charity, which took place at HSE Central atrium on 11 Pokrovsky Boulevard.

The ‘Charity Xmas’ festival welcomed everyone for whom the words ‘social responsibility’ and ‘charity’ mean a lot. Kristina Vtornikova, first-year student of the Faculty of Economic Sciences, took part in the ‘Joy of Old Age’ Foundation project – she signed cards for elderly people: ‘I write New Year wishes for seniors who live in nursing homes. I wish them more happiness, because everyone needs it. I couldn’t just walk past the stand of this foundation, because it's great that they help the elderly, and so few people do it now.’

Kristina Vtornikova
© Mikhail Dmitriev/ HSE University

The charity foundation “‘Krug’ (Circle) Creative Association” provides support for people with disabilities, helps them with professional and social rehabilitation, finds them work and supported accommodation. ‘The foundation was established five years ago, I have been working here since the beginning. We work in a ceramic workshop,’ says one resident of the Association Mikhail Ilyanykh. – We have people with different disabilities: there are deaf and dumb people, blind or deaf-blind. We work together, we have a friendly team, each of us performs his/her function and assists the others.’

Mikhail Ilyanykh
© Mikhail Dmitriev/ HSE University

Students were also interested in an improvised obstacle course. They were able to try it with their eyes closed, accompanied by a guide dog.

‘It feels unusual when someone is leading you, and it’s not you who is in control of the environment,’ says first-year student Ksenia Yunosha, sharing her impressions of this experience. ‘It was uncomfortable and even a little frightening.’

Irina Zenkina, Deputy Director of the training canine centre of assistant dogs for disabled people, noted that the labrador, who came at HSE, is not yet ready for independent work: ‘Let's just say, Rich's readiness to interact with the blind is 90%. Now he is finishing his studies at our centre and trains at different events.’ Irina adds that the centre always welcomes active volunteers who have time to train with the animals. Moreover, dog handlers are already working with HSE students: ‘Volunteer teachers and students from HSE have already helped us to raise many puppies who now work as guide dogs with blind people, making their lives easier.’


Dmitry Shminke, Director of the Student Initiative Support Centre

‘On December 3rd over 100 countries take part in the ‘Generous Tuesday’ campaign to promote charity. With the support of the Katya Bermant’s ‘Lavka Radostey’ Foundation we managed to join the movement: it’s the first time a charity festival of this level has been held at HSE. 13 charity foundations were partners of the event. It was important for us to show the HSE community that charity can take many different forms: you can help homeless animals, orphans, lonely old people, become a donor, volunteer in a hospice or simply be a person who lets their friends know about opportunities to help.’

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