This page is devoted to OTVET Foundation, based in St. Petersburg, Russia, which is an organization of young Christians who have come together to take care of local children in need: homeless and drug-addicted children, children coming from very poor families, families of alcoholics or drug-addicts, children suffering from their parents cruelty, abuse or lack of care. OTVET is a registered charity since February 1998, but many of their projects were begun much earlier. Since April 1999 OTVET has been running a day center for the needy children in St. Petersburg where about 15 children aged 3-16 are taken care of daily. Children who lack most basic necessities at their homes, if they really have any at all, enjoy warm, caring, family atmosphere at the OTVET day center, are served 3 meals a day, provided with clothes and all necessary things, receive medical treatment, ethical education and entertainment as well as all possible help regarding their life outside the center. This centre is called AGAPE (DIVINE LOVE in Greek) and situated in an ordinary 5 room apartment in a large block of flats in the south of St. Petersburg, with about 5-6 people working there full-time every day and more people helping in different ways on a volunteer basis. The only source of financial support for the center are their Finnish friends who opened a bank account for donations in Finland and who campaign enthusiastically for this cause, trying to the best of their ability to reach their compatriots able and willing to help. Local contributions are small even in comparison with the Finnish part, as most people here cant donate living on a salary of under US$ 100 or 50 a month.

Having known OTVET activists for over 2 years and having been involved with fund-raising for their day center since then, we humbly ask anyone who may be interested to help to please get in touch with us at michaelm@spb.cityline.ru (in English, German or in Russian) with your e-mail copy sent to OTVET directly at agape-koti@mail.ru from where any additional information (including detailed description of the day center activities, contacts, photos, plans, etc.) will be gladly provided. Please be sure to send your e-mail to both of the above mentioned e-mail addresses, so that it does not get lost.

Apart from the daily needs of the day center, OTVET seeks sponsors or just caring individuals for a new project of a childrens home where some number of street children and children with acute social problems at home could be accommodated, live for extended periods of time and be taken care of as at home. To get official permissions and registration for setting up a childrens home operating 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, premises with more appropriate facilities and qualified personnel are needed. The funds that are available now are by far not enough for a project like that, so OTVET concentrates on the task at hand the AGAPE day center. But children staying there during the day must leave in the evening and go to those very places where their pain and their souls distortion comes from, so we just cannot help mentioning the bigger project, plan and budget for which were prepared more than a year ago. In the appalling social situation that St. Petersburg and Russia as a whole have been facing for the last 10 years, with totally insufficient welfare and social services provided by the state plagued by lack of funds and corruption, childrens day centers and childrens homes run by selfless workers in the spirit of true love, care and responsibility are maybe the most important, the most needed thing for the future of this country.

A question may be asked if such activities really have any meaning for somebody viewing his/her life as a spiritual path and experienced enough to know that things really do not change that much because of any activity, if they do change at all. We have come to understand that activities as those described above do have much meaning. Spiritually they are the way of surrender, the way of everyday self-sacrifice, the way of living ones own life for the Whole within the Whole one with the Whole. Practically it is really the way to do what one can to help those who are in need. It is the possibility to teach much and to be taught a lot. It is being true and remaining true where truth is the farthest from being popular or safe or appreciated. It is teaching through ones own example and learning to live and to realize what being compassionate, caring and loving is, no matter how grave problems may be.

This will indeed help root out the problems that cause corruption and moral decay, epidemic dissemination of crime, social injustice, drugs, AIDS and other diseases, overwhelming environmental, economic and political upheavals in Russia which so far has failed to be done, as this rooting out has until now remained responsibility of those state authorities, that very administrating system, that is shamelessly corrupt, exclusively self-concerned and indifferent to anything other than itself, chronically insincere and out of any control by the vast majority of the population.

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