Samara 26 December 2013
Samarskaya Gubernia, a charity, and Raiffaizenbank, have selected the best examples of socially significant educational projects for older people
The selection was made following an open competition called Silver Age, which was first announced in October. A list has now been drawn up of NGOs which are to be granted 100,000 roubles each for implementing projects designed to help the elderly by reducing their social isolation, improving their educational standards and resolving social problems experienced by them. The overall aim is to support NGOs and to draw attention to the role played in society by the elderly.
The main themes covered by the projects submitted from 13 regions were: computer skills, money, the law, psychology and education, culture, art/crafts, history, local history, and healthy living for older people. The selected NGOs have until December 2014 to complete their projects. Raiffaizenbank’s PR manager, Anastasia Maksimova, told ASI the reason for focusing on the elderly was that: ‘As long ago as the end of 2012 the bank decided to review its corporate social responsibility policy. As a result it was decided to concentrate on helping one of the most vulnerable social groups, namely, the elderly, who receive the least help because of prevailing stereotypes.’ This year the bank had commissioned large scale research into what those of pensionable age required in the way of voluntary sector support which showed that they needed programmes aimed at their inclusion in communal life.
Ms Maksimova stressed that ‘Raiffaizenbank had always striven to help the most vulnerable who really were in acute need. Starting from 2007, we placed all our social and charitable initiatives on a permanent footing and regularly implemented charitable projects in both Moscow and the regions throughout Russia. Now we have revised our policy and are concentrating on helping lonely old people.’
A council of specialists selected the winning projects. They included the chief executive of the Charities’ Aid Foundation, Russia, a consultant from the Samara provincial council and a representative from the Ulyanovsk public chamber amongst others. Examples of the initiatives are the Tolyatti Foundation’s plan to open a peoples’ social academy, provide counselling services for the elderly with regard to rehabilitation and socialisation, and also provide leisure and creative skills sessions for them. Territoria Uspexa in Perm is opening a business school for the not so young. In St Petersburg the Fund for the Support and Development of Russo-German Relations will be teaching elderly people how to shoot amateur films as part of the Silver Cinema project. The films will then be shown at the Silver Films Youth festival.
The total cost of financing all the projects comes to 2,600,000 roubles.