Russia – Volga Region
Families with disabled children tour to holy places
Since 2017 Aspen Russia’s employees in the Volga Region have shown kindness and care to surrounding cities.
Their primary Mandela Day initiative for 2019 was a tour to places of worship for families with severely disabled children. The preferred venue for many of these families was the Orthodox Monastery in Makaryev. This excursion was particularly important to these families who are largely homebound due to the limitations placed on them by their disabled children. One of their greatest wishes was to visit a holy place where the families and children could be prayed over, be blessed and where they could receive prayers of grace for peace.
Aspen’s Maxim Zaytsev arranged the tour for beneficiaries of the Anna Chizhova Charitable Fund for children with incurable diseases. This NPO was established in 2016 to provide palliative care, safety and oversight by the Sisters of Mercy for some 60 children aged from four to 12 years from the City Hospital No3.
The wishes of 75 beneficiaries were answered when they were joined by the Archpriest Michael Pavlov and 10 nuns from the Sister of Mercy School and led on the tour by Maxim. The 140km journey to the Women of Makariev Monastery took 2 ½ hours, first by bus and then by ferry.
While at the monastery, which is surrounded by snow white walls, the men attended to loads of hay while women and children harvested potatoes from the fields. The children also built a hut on the coast of Volga and learnt how to make a fire while Abbess Michaila attended to each disabled child and blessed them before praying over each family. The journey may have been over in a day, but the spiritual peace bestowed on these families will comfort them for many years to come.
ARK activities were also conducted across various cities by representatives of Aspen’s Volga Region. In Saratova the local pet center received assistance with feeding and walking the animals.
Blagodary is a charitable social economic project in Samar collects clothing for families in need and Aspen’s employees met this call for support by donating vast amounts of clothing to the project.
The children at Kazan’s Republic Specialized Orphanage received generous donations of toiletries, toys and medicines for the babies and children under the age of four who are cared for at this facility.