Equally Diverse (Одинаково разные) is an exciting project which began in 2020, in the Kaluga region southwest of Moscow. Here ten schools committed themselves to support over 700 foreign children so that they can learn in a safe and welcoming environment.
The project has now expanded to include schools in Novosibirsk (which is in Siberia, over 2,000 miles east of Kaluga). Here the project is planned to cover another ten schools, with 600 children.
Many schools do not have appropriate books or other materials for learning Russian as a foreign language. Funding from FHM will help them to acquire modern, beautifully illustrated books which give the children the opportunity to learn the “codes” for living in Russia – where people live, how cities are structured, the diversity of cultures, all told through stories which are relevant to their own experience.
The thirty teachers who are taking part in Kaluga have received over 350 items (books and board games) which will support activities such as after-school Russian classes.
Before the Coronavirus pandemic Equally Diverse also organised festivals and performances. With the arrival of the virus the work moved online, and additional materials were produced to support teachers, such as worksheets and homework related to books. An information pack was produced and translated into Uzbek, Tajik and Kyrgyz languages from the original Russian.
The work includes involving parents and other professionals, such as speech therapists, and schools are encouraged to train other teachers about diversity.
One of the founders of the programme, Anna Ter-Saakova, was for several years head of the Kids are Kids Integration Centre in Moscow, which FHM has supported for many years. We are glad to be able as well to contribute to this important work in two other regions of Russia.
Some of the books