Every child in Russia needs support and protection of his/her state-guaranteed rights and especially, children who find themselves in various difficult life situations. Often, families with many children and children from vulnerable groups, such as children with disabilities, children of HIV-positive parents, adopted children, and juvenile offenders, are left with their problems alone, feeling that society does not need them. Russian society is not yet ready to accept such children, local authorities are not able to implement legislative initiatives in accordance with international standards, and the media covers this topic in a negative light for parents, making excessive demands on them, at the same time excluding state responsibility. Faced with such unfair treatment on a daily basis, these parents (mainly mothers) try to join forces and create NGOs to defend the rights and advance the interests of their children. In Russia in recent years, the number of socially oriented NGOs that protect children's rights and assist families with children from vulnerable categories has grown rapidly. It should be noted that the state is ready to transfer some of its social functions to such NGOs, but they do not yet possess sufficient knowledge and skills, experience and resources to effectively perform their role in promoting the interests of children. Moving by heart, they are in great need of support, which this project intends to provide.
Brief information on key activities:
The project supports NGOs through access to legal knowledge (training and awareness-raising workshops), exchange of experience with European NGOs (study tour to Germany), implementation of own initiatives (financial support for small projects on children's rights protection), cooperation with local authorities (dialogue platforms and fairs of social services), concerted efforts with NGOs from other regions (inter-regional conferences) and support from mass media (training of journalists and a media contest to form public support for families and children with different vulnerabilities).
The project will help NGOs and parents of children with special needs to believe in their own abilities to change the lives of such children for the better. This confidence will come with joint efforts both within the region and at the inter-regional and international levels. The work of NGOs will become more active, more professional and coherent. NGOs will be perceived by the authorities as full partners in the implementation of an effective social policy, where the voices of children and their parents will be heard. NGOs will not only learn about new models of legal, social, medical and psychological services for different children and families, but will also be able to test these models on their own experience. Moreover, successful stories will be widely covered in the media, promoting the principle of equal rights for different children. In an integrated manner, the project will help both to reduce violations of the rights of children with different vulnerabilities and to change public attitudes towards such children and families.
Duration: 01/02/2020 – 31/01/2023 (36 months)
Location/s: Russia, Volga and Northwestern Federal Districts
Implementing Partners: Pro NGO! e. V. (Koeln, Germany) and Interregional non-governmental human rights organisation “Man and Law” (Yoshkar-Ola, Russia)