Central and Moscow Region

Donations and help for Moscow’s children

The Morozov Children’s home in Moscow provides treatment and a home to approximately 34 children aged from 3 to 18 years who are homeless or ill. The majority of these children remain at the clinic while about 10 are day visitors.

The South African Embassy in Moscow joined Aspen volunteers to attend to various needs at the home including improving the playground by painting and repairing some of the equipment and facilities, and upgrading the sandbox where the children enjoy playing with their friends.

In addition to the financial donation provided by the Embassy to purchase baby food, diapers and toiletries, collections of toys, books and clothes were also provided to the clinic.

Stimulation and therapy for palliative patients

A team from Russia’s Moscow region arranged for patients receiving treatment for cancer, organ failure, cerebrovascular disease and other conditions at the Palliative Care Center of the Moscow Health Care Department to receive therapy through canine stimulation which, as research has indicated, is significantly

Far East Region

Forgetting the loneliness - for just one day

About 30 residents at the Geriatric Centre of the Yakutsk Republic Hospital were delighted to be kept company for a day by two caring volunteers.

Like children, these patients hurried to the event hall, with some even missing their lunch in an effort not to miss out on an opportunity for some companionship. Their enthusiastic excitement about the Mandela Day activities was so endearing yet equally sad. These elderly citizens want nothing more than to feel valued and have someone to talk to, to cheer them up a little, to listen to their stories and to simply take a walk with. Yet, many are forgotten by their families and are left to spend their last years on their own.

Posters had been prepared containing positive information about people, real events and interesting facts andthese were prominently displayed at the centre – creating much interest and topics for discussion.

The residents completely forgot their cares (and their age) as they sang and danced together and even recited poems. Refreshments were enjoyed and they were delighted to receive checkers, chess and lotto board games that had been bought for the centre.

That evening, much to their delight, the film “Untouchables” was screened to encourage them to laugh more, to consider life’s possibilities, to live their dreams free from worries and cares and to start each day filled with a positive spirit.

While the residents had a fabulous day, it was the employees who left feeling deeply touched by the extreme gratitude that these senior citizens felt for their very kind gestures.


Aspen employees from the Siberia Region enthusiastically participated in Mandela Day through 5 projects across that territory.

Cheering up Evdokia’s elderly

Ekaterina Kovaleva

The elderly pensioners and disabled residents from the Evdokia Foundation in the city of Novosibirsk are dependent on the generous support and assistance of charities and volunteers.

Aspen employees helped these seniors with donations of food, medicine, toiletries, clothes and shoes. Some required medical treatment while others were very grateful to receive firewood for the freezing winter that awaits them.

The greatest gift for these elderly, very lonely citizens, however, was the companionship that they received from the volunteers.


“Choosing life” in Karsnoyarsk

The Krasnoyarsk Regional Clinical Oncology Center recently hosted a “We Choose Life” marathon to support patients suffering with cancer. The event was arranged under the directorship of Chief Physician Andrey Arsenievich Modestov and in association with Dobro24 tochka Ru, a local charitable organization.

As an additional contribution to the marathon, Aspen employees also chose to beautify the centre by planting 100 flowers in the garden.

About a park, a goat and grateful children

The transition of a landfill site into the Zvezdniy Children's Park is a marvel of its own!

Through the generosity of the Koloshnitsyny family, who also manage the local foster home, the park was established in 2014 in Omsk. Complete with a sports complex, slides, swings and a sandpit, no government support is provided for the maintenance or improvement of this facility which the local community has come to depend upon. This responsibility falls on the Koloshnitsyny family, friends and neighbours.

Aspen’s team of 2 were quick to head to the hardware store and purchase supplies to attend to the maintenance of the park. In a wonderful collaborative effort, children joined in the task of painting and repairing equipment together with the local friendly goat. With such a fine example set by this generous family, it was easy to be inspired to do likewise for the community.

Hope for Barnaul’s animals in need

The Laska Shelter in Barnaul was established in 2002 to care for stray dogs and cats. Any animal in need of veterinary aid is welcomed and treated before it is homed with new owners.

To date Laska has saved, rehabilitated and found a new home for approximately 3000 dogs and some 1000 cats. Currently, several hundred animals are kept at Laska and willing hands or donations are always welcomed.

Aspen’s animal loving Irina Vasilieva and Ekaterina Romadina set to work painting the crates for the puppies andcats and assisted with the rehabilitation of a dog named Mayor who had been run down by a car. Their action showed that Mandela Day kindness extends to include animals too.

ARK by Siberia’s EMLA team

While on holiday in Yarovoe, Olesya Fursova set aside her day to focus on helping elderly people cross the road– a task that we take for granted, but which is very stressful and nearly impossible for senior citizens.

Similarly, Olesya Fursova headed to the Umka Kindergarten. Armed with a generous supply of peaches, paint and brushes, she set to work painting areas of the playground, the fences and added colorful elements to the pavement to create a more beautiful environment before she distributed fruit to the children.
These acts prove that kindness is just as valuable as financial or physical contributions to those in need.

North-West Region

Mandela Day initiatives need not be large-scale events with hundreds of beneficiaries. Every contribution, no matter how large or small, is appreciated and this was proven through the nine projects that were hosted by Aspen Russia’s team who made a meaningful difference to ill children, school students and animals in need in the North-West Region.

St Petersburg

The GKUZ Specialized Children's Home in the Frunzensky district of St Petersburg is a psycho-neurological institution, designed to treat 110 patients younger than four years of age. This health facility provides medical care, including restorative treatment, as well as comprehensive psychological-pedagogical rehabilitation using modern technologies. There were 11 Aspen volunteers who chose to support this facility and enhance the environment for the children by painting their pavilion.

The Island of Hope shelter for animals is a non-profit charity in St Petersburg. Oksana Malyutina supported this facility with donations of food and, most importantly, her time to assist in caring for the 40 cats and 100 stray dogs who are all cared for at this very clean, neat shelter. Oksana intends to continue helping at the shelterthrough her donations and social media initiatives to try to find loving homes for the animals.

The St Petersburg Psychoneurological Children’s Home No 4 cares for 60 children from birth to four years of age. This facility provides complex medical and pedagogical rehabilitation to children with neurological diseases, muscular-skeletal disorders, aural, articulation and visual disabilities. Sadly, many of these children have been abandoned by their families and the home is in desperate need of help. Olga Matyusheva chose to support this home by providing donations of much needed infant nutritional food and diapers.


Surgical procedures can be extremely stressful, particularly for young children who don’t know how to copy emotionally or physically.

The Archangelsk Regional Children’s Clinical Hospital is well known for its Basket-of-Courage which contains a range of items to assist children in dealing with the trauma associated with surgery.

Aspen’s Igor Nikitin showed empathy and care for these little patients by purchasing a range of toys including cars, ponies and soft items to bring comfort to the children in this hospital’s surgical ward.


The Comprehensive Secondary School No. 28 in Vologda was established in 1960, and provides a safe educational environment to hundreds of students. Aspen’s Irina Galaktionova selected one of the classrooms at the school and decided to create a beautiful environment for the children. She washed the windows, hung curtains and painted the room as an act of kindness for the young students.


Elena Fedorova loves caring for animals and she also understands the need to support charities who are highly dependent on the generosity of the public in order to take care of pets or strays who need medical assistance,vaccinations and other treatment.

The Murmansk Voluntary Shelter accommodates some 100 dogs and 50 cats and Elena supported this facility with donations of bandages, ointment, syringes and food. In addition, she spent some time playing with the dogs and spoiling them with special treats.


Stray animals have no one to take care of them in critical situations – no loving owners, caring family, or state healthcare institutions. All they have is hope. Hope that kind people will help them.


The Allergy and Pulmonology Center of Petrozavodsk’s Children’s Republic Hospital, provides medical treatment for children suffering from allergies and respiratory diseases. Aspen representative Erik Shabdanbekov decided that the young patients at this hospital needed to have some fun and so he arranged the Space in a Pencil Box drawing contest for these little patients.

Eight children younger than six years of age who were receiving diagnostics and treatment at the Center thoroughly enjoyed the distraction of the contest and eagerly participated in drawing planets, stars and spaceships.

South Region

Fun, games and laughter for young orthopedic patients

Ekaterina Kovaleva

Children should laugh, play and have fun! That includes the 25 patients aged less than 15 years at the pediatric ward of the Krasnodar City Hospital.

A team of seven like-minded volunteers hosted a day to remember for the children who are receiving treatment which necessitates long-term hospitalization for the majority. The day of celebrations included a range of intellectual and fun games, competitions, creative activities, face painting and so much more to simply encourage them to live a life of joy. An interesting fairy tale was shared to stress the importance of calcium intake and the benefits that it offers for strong bone development. Even those confined to their beds were entertained and they also enjoyed the festivities of the day.

In addition, the facility gratefully accepted the donation of an air conditioner to provide some comfort to the children from the sweltering heat.

Ural Region

Let’s bongo!

Ekaterina Kovaleva

At the beginning of August, a wonderful celebration was hosted for the young patients at the Oncology and Hematology Department of the Chelyabinsk Regional Children's Clinical Hospital.

The Aspen team arranged a quiz aptly titled “Who, what and where.” Fascinating information about Africa and Nelson Mandela was shared, following which the quiz took place. Prizes included a range of treats, but the greatest one was yet to come.

Serious illnesses, masks, drips and medication was forgotten for a while as the patients delighted in the surprise Congolese students from the Chelyabinsk Pedagogical University who happily participated in the day’s highlight: teaching them how to play the bongo drums.

One patient’s expression was priceless: With her face covered by a mask, her eyes showed a storm of happy feelings and that moment made the efforts of the day more than worthwhile for the Aspen team.

Each ARK makes a difference

The Ural region’s sales representative Nadezhda Geyger engaged in three ARK. She donated stationery to disadvantaged children attending Sunday school at the Holy Assumption Cathedral, provided clothes and shoes for homeless people supported by the Orthodox Mercy Bus project and provided funds to the Stray Animal Charity Fund to purchase much needed food for the animals.

Volga Region

Making Age Fun!

Ekaterina Kovaleva

Every year the Volga team actively participates in the Mandela Day celebrations and 2017 was no exception. The Age is Fun project was launched at the Samara Regional Dubovo-Umetsky boarding house for war and labour veterans to assist these elderly residents with a range of challenges including emotional, physical and psychological needs.

Personal appearance is important irrespective of age so hairdressers were arranged to help style the veteran’s hair and encourage a sense of self confidence. While the grooming was taking place, the team addressed their many goals for the facility and, in true Aspen fashion, they prepared for a long night in order to deliver on them all.

After preparing the gardens a pond was installed and filled with water, benches were delivered and painted and beautiful flowers were added to the area to create a peaceful, colourful environment in which these senior citizens could embrace joyful, long days.

Small ARK acts - big impact!

Amid their daily commitments, sales representatives across the Volga Region participated in Mandela Day and assisted those who needed it most.

One group visited the young patients at the Palliative Department of Children’s Hospital No. 17 in Nizhniy Novgorod, while, in Kazan some volunteers helped the mother of a large family with her chores and others took her children for a walk.

An elderly lady living in a country house in that area was surprised and delighted when Aspen volunteers arrived to clean her home for her.

These acts made a huge impact on the beneficiaries, but took so little from those sharing their unconditional kindness with strangers.