On Saturdays, there is real excitement on the territory of the center for promoting family education "Our House". The guys and employees of the institution have picnics and communicate. There is a beautiful gazebo in which children and adults gather for a delicious lunch. From the outside you would not even think that many of the children have difficult fates. How does it feel to be always close to those who practically do not believe in goodness? Vadim Menshov, director of the center for assistance to family education "Our House", says.
- Vadim Anatolyevich, you have been working as the director of an orphanage for 30 years, and now it is a center for promoting family education. What has changed over the years?
- Children are no longer ashamed of living in orphanages. A lot of work and huge human involvement are behind the positive results. Institutions have become open, children travel a lot, communicate with peers and interesting people, and attend events. Now our pupils study in schools and colleges, 2-3 people live in a room, and all living conditions are as close to home as possible.
Previously, a child from a baby house moved to a preschool orphanage, and then to a boarding school. This approach did not allow developing trust in adults, since the child first became attached to one place, and then he had to get used to another. Blow by blow for the little soul.
Now the child lives all the time in the same conditions, in his usual environment. Children began to be taken to families more often. They have their own space. You probably also want, when you come home, to be alone with yourself, to relax. Now the guys have such an opportunity. Now children have become more socialized, outgoing and open-minded. For example, we have a puppet theater, which was created by the children themselves together with the teachers. With performances, children go to other centers and institutions of social protection.
- Recently the project of mentoring "Let's be friends" was launched, and your guys became its participants. Is this also an example of communication necessary for children?
- Certainly. Honored artist of the Russian Federation Nikas Safronov came to visit us. The choice of such a named guest is not accidental for us. There is an art studio in Our House, where children engage in creative work with volunteers, paint their pictures. The meeting with Nikas created a real sensation. Children asked questions, wondered what and how, whether the artist liked to draw. Nikas gave the guys important guidelines, which, I hope, they will definitely apply in their lives. The guys really need this communication format. They are inspired by the achievements of professional people and strive to become better.
- The attitude of children to the outside world has changed. Has the attitude towards the children themselves changed?
- Now our children are not rejected. They are treated in the same way as children from an ordinary family. It is very important. My colleagues and I communicate a lot with people who come to visit our children. We always say that our children do not need gifts - they need knowledge, communication and friends. Many actors, athletes and public figures come to us. These people are happy to arrange master classes for pupils, conduct conversations, and organize interesting events. They all become our good friends.
- You came to the orphanage at the age of 29 as a young leader. What impressed you the most?
- A child comes to an orphanage, deprived of family and warmth. In his short life, he has already received as many slaps in the face as an adult does not receive in his entire life. We must understand that we have few orphans, and many end up here precisely because of the family's betrayal.
- You have different children. Among them are those with disabilities. Why is it better for healthy children and children with disabilities to live together?
- It's great when children with disabilities and ordinary children live together, attend school and various events. This allows you to cultivate tolerance, caring, friendliness. When they see children with disabilities next to them, they understand that there is no difference between them, just children with disabilities need a little more care and attention.
Ordinary parents try to do their best for their child with disabilities, including finding a good rehabilitation specialist, make an appointment with him. While the children are in Our House, I am also a parent for them. For example, I found a rehabilitation specialist for working with children with cerebral palsy. Now he is engaged in the rehabilitation of children from the center. We sent our children in wheelchairs to go skiing, and the guys really liked it. All children have the right to a fulfilling life.
- Were there any turning points when you wanted to drop everything and leave?
- Never in so many years have there been thoughts of leaving. Yes, I also get tired, like all people. The best rest for me is to cook. I come home, and my family immediately understands: if I cook, then I just need to rest and be in silence.
- How is your family experiencing your almost 24/7 stay at work?
- One day my son said to me: "Dad, you see how your children are growing at work, but you do not see how we are growing." When I came to work in the orphanage, at first I practically lived at work.
- Can you get used to children's grief?
- You can't get used to it. We have guys with a variety of stories and destinies, from which goosebumps run and tears welling up. Our task is to be near, to help, to give warmth. I have a very good team, we try to listen, help and support every child. The door of my office is always open. Children come in at any time, communicate. And I also like to walk with pupils on the territory of the institution and talk on a variety of topics. Everything is the same with us as in a real family.