from russia with love

st petersburgSadly this time of year is no sitcom for those without homes in Russia. The Intrepid Foundation’s community project, Nochlezhka, has a real-life drama on its hands and Chapaev Andrey, manager of the night bus project in St Petersburg tells us more…

“This letter is about a difficult winter situation. It’s getting colder and colder every day outside. Nochlezhka does its best to find new donors to increase our budget to feed more homeless people. A bakery now is the sponsor for bread. Some volunteers come to work at the night bus and some bring garlic to give the homeless people to help prevent and relieve the flu.

Every day around 100 people come to the Nochlezhka night bus to get help. As well as elderly and retired people, there are many unemployed people looking for help. Many have lost their job due to the economic crisis. A lot of them are not officially registered (for various reasons) and so they cannot receive any help through the government. With cold temperature more people are frost-bitten. Recently one person was found dead. That is why the help of volunteer doctors is so important.

From mid-December it became much colder (from -2 to -15 degrees) and we were unable to take out the bus. The night buses are very old, they work every day and it costs a lot to fix the vehicles and keep them in working condition. The last bus repairs cost 51,000 rubles (US$1700). Plans are unclear for 2010 if this night bus project will survive or not. Our budget is in a big deficit. At present Nochlezhka is actively looking for donors among the business society who could help not only financially, but also donating petrol, masks, gloves, disposable dishes, cleaning staff etc and help to fix the bus when needed. All kinds of help are needed. At Christmas, before the holiday period, we made food packages for everyone who came to the bus.”

Please help us warm the hearts, souls and stomachs of the many needy people on the streets in Russia. Your support of Nochlezhka through The Intrepid Foundation will be matched by Intrepid Travel dollar for dollar – up to AU$5,000 per donor and a total of AU$300,000 for all donors in each financial year.

About the author

Sue Elliot - Like many of us, Sue contracted a serious travel bug at an early age. She's visited over 90 countries in search of a cure, but her wanderlust just seems to get worse. Thankfully at Intrepid Travel she's amongst people who understand the affliction and since 1998 Sue has enjoyed being our blog and newsletter editor. Here you'll find helpful travel advice and inspiring tales from Sue and other Intrepid travellers.

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