Russian and foreign specialists alike agree that children and young people with moderate and complex disabilities have a great need for health-related and socially-rehabilitative rest and recreation. Unfortunately, access to this kind of rest and rehabilitation in Russia is often limited and usually non-existent.
The Naked Heart Foundation supports projects to run summer and autumn integrative camps, which play an important role in physical, psychological and intellectual development.
The scheme of summer breaks for children with special needs is educationally valuable, since it creates an environment in which children can relax emotionally, recover their health, have much-needed new experiences and communicate in a variety of different ways, including through work, learning, play and other areas of potential self-determination.
The integrative environment, nature and distance from the urban hustle and bustle all facilitate rehabilitation and the normalisation of family life. For many families of children with special needs, these integrative camps are their only chance to have a break from the city.
In 2012, the Foundation supported 12 summer camp projects, which allowed over 500 children to enjoy a real summer break. In 2013 we funded nine projects and in 2014 we funded 15 summer camps, allowing 1,140 children to enjoy the summer holidays, including 853 with disabilities.
Funding for integrative camps is granted by the Foundation on a competitive basis.
Summer with Purpose
In 2015, we changed for the format of our annual competition to run integrative summer camps. The winning organisations took part in a special training programme developed by the Foundation in collaboration with leading experts from the University of New Mexico. The programme aims to ensure the development inclusive services that promote independence among people with autism spectrum disorders. The competition winners the unique opportunity to find out about the work of the Rising Sun integrative camp for children and young people with autism in New Mexico, and then apply their new knowledge in the context of similar camps in Russia. Find our more about the new competition format here.
One of our main working objectives is to create a network of family support centres for children with special needs and their families. Their purpose is to provide combined psychological, educational, social, legal, therapeutic, and other professional assistance. Our first Family Support Centre was opened in Nizhny Novgorod.
Our annual international "Every Child Deserves a Family" forum is a unique platform for dialogue between Russian and foreign child development experts, which allows representatives from various regions of Russia to exchange views and experience. It is also a step forward towards developing a professional community in Russia.
We are supporting projects run by the legal department of the Centre for Curative Pedagogics in Moscow, and relevant projects run by other organisations, aimed at ensuring the rights of children with disabilities and raising legal awareness among parents and specialists working in the field.
It is impossible to solve the problems of families with disabled children without changing the attitudes of society and the state. That’s why one of the Foundations most important activities is advocacy.
The Naked Heart Foundation is currently working to create fully-equipped sensory integration and occupational therapy rooms for children with autism and other developmental disorders, with the aim of teaching those children coping mechanisms and enabling them to reach their full potential.
The objective of our interactive online seminars is to introduce people to up-to-date, proven methods of working with people with disabilities. They are held on a regular basis and cover topics such as autism, communication and foster care. The webinars are aimed primarily at the Russian audience.
The aim of this project is to support NGOs that provide psychological, medical, therapeutic and social support for children with disabilities and their families; families intending to adopt, take guardianship of, or foster a child with disabilities; and disadvantaged families or families in crisis.
The purpose of the Education Programme is to allow specialists from organisations working with children with special needs and their families to learn modern and effective working methods, exchange experience with colleagues and take part in education programmes involving international experts.