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Aug 31, 2018

Good news from Nochlezhka

'Let's drink to that!' campaign
'Let's drink to that!' campaign

July has always made me think of summer camps. I am writing this newsletter and it feels as if I was telling my mum all about our games and competitions during her visit. We did a hell of a lot of things in July with Nochlezhka!

In July our rehabilitation shelter at 112B, Borovaya street accommodated 47 people. Last month our social workers had 730 and our lawyers — 62 consultations with the homeless. 422 people used our free launderette to wash and dry their clothes. 235 people came to our Night Bus stops with varying regularity and our volunteers handed out 1,411 hot meals.

On 22 July Nochlezhka participated in the White Night marathon in St. Petersburg. 50 heroes ran for our charity that day — I can’t think of a different word for people who run 10 km at 25 degrees Celsius in the sun. It is amazing that a few members of staff were among the participants, we got to the finish line together with our president Grigory and our social worker Asya. But that’s hardly an achievement when you think of our ambassador Kirill Alexandrov who did an entire marathon and ran 42 km and 195 metres.

The White Nights marathon raised 85,861 roubles for Nochlezhka. This will be enough to cover three days of work of our shelter, which can accommodate up to 52 people at a time. We would like to thank everyone who decided to run and support us!

Soon after the marathon Nochlezhka ran a third street haircut campaign for the homeless. Barbers from Hard Coin served 82 people. Apart from the haircut in our courtyard the homeless also had a free meal curtesy of AmRest restaurant group which provided everyone with treats from KFC and Pizza Hut.

On 1-8 August Nochlezhka ran another ‘Let’s drink to that!’ campaign: we collected drinking water for people in need. Homeless people have no source of safe drinking water in St. Petersburg, they literally have to drink from rivers and canals. When we run these campaigns, not only do we collect water for the homeless but we also remind the society that homeless people have absolutely no access to water.

We asked people to bring 0.5-0.6 litre bottles of still water to our office and distributed what we had collected (over a ton of water!) among the homeless at Night Bus stops.

I have to restrain myself not to start each paragraph with ‘And also…’ But there are so many things to tell you about! So, last week our joint training and employment project with the Hilton Hotels bore its first fruits. Two of Nochlezhka’s clients completed their training at the Tourism College and started working as commis chefs at Hilton St Petersburg ExpoForum and Hampton by Hilton St Petersburg ExpoForum.

Such projects are extremely important for Nochlezhka as our clients get a chance to get professional training, acquire a skill which is in demand and potentially get officially employed. This already makes them happy and very soon will also enable them to make a living and be independent. We are proud of our hard-working students and thank Hilton St Petersburg ExpoForum for their support.

Eight more people will have taken part in this project and completed professional training by March 2019. So I’ll be coming back with more amazing news!

Street haircut campaign for the homeless
Street haircut campaign for the homeless
Apr 27, 2018

An april story from Nochlezhka and some great news

A former homeless Ilona, who is a student now!
A former homeless Ilona, who is a student now!

Dear friend, hello! 

You have received this newsletter and so will Ilona. She bought some of Nochlezhka’s charity souvenirs, so she is now receiving our newsletters. Ilona once replied to my email saying that she had been a resident of our shelter herself and so she is very grateful to our charity. She said she was now working and volunteering at one of the city’s hospitals. Her message really touched me and all of us and we posted it on social media. Anonymously, of course. Then we got contacted by journalists who wanted to talk to the woman in order to share her story with a wider audience. I emailed Ilona and asked her if she would be willing to talk to journalists, since of course, if she didn’t feel like it, we couldn’t and wouldn’t insist. Ilona was ok with that thought, and her story got published in the media and we shared the interview on our website. This is one of the most powerful stories I have ever heard. I am in awe of her courage and willingness to share it in all honesty and without cutting corners.

And here’s some amazing news! We have launched a website called What do I do? It contains useful information and clear instructions for those who deal with bureaucratic procedures and restoring papers, so both for social workers helping the homeless and for people who have to deal with the paperwork themselves.

What to do to get one’s first ID or have it re-issued, how to go about national insurance and personal tax payer’s number, have one’s army records or birth certificate re-issued, how to get legally employed, register one’s residence address and get medical treatment… Our social workers and lawyers prepared these manuals not just for professionals but for everyone who is having to deal with the paperwork, which applies to all people living in Russia. We have collected as much structured information as possible regarding how to act according to the Russian legislation in various situations. What’s more, we have prepared recommendations should you get your application denied or should any other problems or bureaucratic hindrances arise. 

The main principle of our work is making it as easy for the individual as possible. We believe that papers, forms and procedures should serve people and not the other way round. So we made our new website as interactive and user-friendly as possible.

Smiling homeless people in Nochlezhka
Smiling homeless people in Nochlezhka
Nov 6, 2017

Fall News from Nochlezhka

Maria who was featured in September newsletter
Maria who was featured in September newsletter

Dear Friends,

I would like to start this report by highlighting the statistics for the past few months. With the help of our donors, volunteers, and social workers, we have been able to provide 

- 3,271 meals in August

- 12 employment oportunities

- 549 counselling sessions and 34 legal advices

- laundry services to 782 people with the help of a partner-organization

- accomodation for 55 people in our rehabilitation center in September

The highlight of our September newsletter was a story about Maria. She came to Nochlezhka in November 2016 when she ended up on the street after her husband's passing. They lived together for a couple of years, but when he died, his relatives asked Maria to vacate the apartment. Maria, 57, used to have her own flat in St. Petersburg, but when her daughter got married, she did not want to feel like an inconvenience to them, so she left, leaving the place for the newlyweds. Not wanting to feel like a burden to her own family, she spent two months on the streets before coming for help to Nochlezhka. We had a vacant spot in our shelter and happily offered her accommodation. With the help of our social workers Maria got back on her feet. She was able to get a Russian passport (she only had a soviet one before), start receiving pension, get her employment record straight and look for a new job. During the time spent at Nochlezhka, Maria worked as a cleaner and moved into a newly rented apartment just a few days ago. She hopes to find a job as a cleaner at a museum or a receptionist. 

Another great achievement that we are proud of is the new heating tent that started its work on October 1st, offering a warm and safe place to stay overnight for up to 15 people (see photo). The tent will be in function until March 31st. 

With the help of another kind soul we got a step closer to buying a new bus for our Night Bus project that goes out at night to feed homeless people. Pavel generously donated 175,000 roubles towards purchasing a new vehicle for Nochlezhka. Here is his story: "My story is pretty simple. Last May I had an accident when paragliding in Dagestan and broke my spine. I needed money to pay an operation, so my friends collected 116,000 roubles as part of what was needed. I did not know how much I had received from who and I didn’t seek to find out too much, it was a friend of mine who raised the money. Then I thought I wanted to somehow pay the world back for this act of kindness, so I sent you 150,000 roubles and put 25,000 more into one of your collection boxes. So, in the end, I added 50% of kindness to the original 116,000 roubles." 

Isn't it wonderful to see such gestures of kindness? Thank you for being with us.

The first heated tent on Vasilievsky island
The first heated tent on Vasilievsky island
 
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