We are happy to discuss about scientists participating in summer schools for school students with our friend Bella Schakhmirza, director of the Summer School, Balapanlar, Karachaevo-Cherkessia Republic.
Bella, tell us please, how did you start the school-project in the village near North Caucasian mountains?
I always was interested in the projects with social impact. I have done the project about the rights of women, project on different cultures in Russia, project helping abandoned children (orphans), project of playing clowns in the hospitals for children to cheer them up. BUT at the same time I always had one thought in my mind that in my own region where I come from in Caucasus there were not so many activities for children. This project in the Caucasian village is 100% for developing creative initiatives and is based on enthusiastic people who are involved in it.
Ok, but why children then?
Well, one of the reason is that because I believe that children are the ones, whom I can actually help to change for better.
What is the format of the school? Why actually this school was so popular you think?
Well, we made it so that children, who could not access any educational projects could actually participate in the creative activities just in their own aul village (‘aul’ is the Caucasian name for the village).
And what is the main hardest thing in the project where you are making summer school in the place far away from Caucasus?
We have incredible team, we are living altogether on one house – all professors of the summer school were the close network of people, who are very motivated and are working not just because they are told to do so but because they all are living in one common network of people, who really want to make change in the life of children.
Bella, which moments would you like to share with us about the summer school?
You should probably just come and see it yourself.
Maybe some photos from the summer school Balapanlar can give you the feeling of what we are doing there.