Centre for the Adaptation and Training of Refugee Children

The Centre for the Adaptation and Training of Refugee Children is the formal name for the school set up through Friends House Moscow. Patricia Cockrell writes:

“Chechen children, refugees from the war in Chechnya, had no education rights in Moscow; for a long time their families had no housing rights or access to medical services either. While human rights NGOs worked on the major issues of principle, could we at Friends House Moscow do something practical for these children?

In 1995 Svetlana Ganushkina invited me to tea and introduced me to two of her university students. Anya had had the idea of offering lessons to some of these children, and she had the support of some fellow students who were willing in their spare time to plan and teach lessons in Russian, maths and the sciences. The university was not able to offer space for this, did I have any ideas?

We had just found suitable premises for Friends House Moscow with a couple of rooms which could be used for this purpose on some evenings and Saturdays. Anya and the other students came to have a look. They pronounced it suitable, especially as they would also have access to a kitchen, and so the school for migrant children was launched. Many of the children had had no schooling for a year or even two. They were very keen to catch up and the parents were thrilled that someone was taking an interest in their welfare.

When it became too big for Friends House, the school was registered as a charity and was able to find a more suitable space. Anya got married and had a baby; other students graduated and moved on, but more volunteers kept coming to support migrant children, and the school still functions.”