The Belaja Rosa Foundation | Making a difference in Russia

Panasonic Biomedical supports the Belaja Rosa Foundation - a charitable organization based in Russia – as part of our commitment to reach out to the wider global community through Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). The Belaja Rosa Foundation was established in 2008 with the help of Panasonic Biomedical Sales Europe. It aims to improve the lives of disadvantaged children in Stavropol, a city in southern Russia. The Foundation now provides educational and leisure activities for more than 350 local children from 100 families, who otherwise face extreme poverty.

Russia has one of the world’s highest percentages of children living in poverty. In addition, many Russian children live in single parent families or are abandoned by their parents and struggle to thrive with Russia’s limited orphanage provisions and youth care systems.

Poverty has been an issue in Russia for many years with the impact of many years of political turmoil in Eastern Europe. The collapse of the Soviet Union and the social and economic crisis that followed led to major cutbacks in government spending on education, including after-school programs, school health centres, summer programs, and centres for extracurricular activities. By the mid-2000s, government spending on education per child dropped to half of the rate of 1990. The more recent effects of global economic recession, plunging global oil prices and sanctions imposed by the Ukraine conflict have intensified poverty in Russia in recent years. As a consequence, youth homelessness and the rate of alcohol- and drug abuse amongst teenagers has increased dramatically, as have delinquency and suicide rates. Experts estimate that over 1.5 million Russian children currently do not attend school.

Staff at Panasonic Biomedical wanted to help when they heard about the plight of some children in the city of Stavropol through a colleague who knew volunteers that worked with them. Financial support from Panasonic Biomedical Sales Europe enabled the birth of a new charity in 2008, which focused on providing direct support to the disadvantaged children of Stavropol - The Belaja Rosa Foundation.

Initially, the Foundation focused on helping young children from large families (with four or more children), the children of single mothers, alcoholic- or homeless parents, orphans and street children. It provided opportunities and encouragement to these children to attend school and participate in recreational activities, such as dance. Later on, the Foundation also focused on older children. In Russia, orphanages provide child care until the age of 16, but not after this age. It is simply assumed that the children will then be independent from this stage onwards. The children are often unprepared for this transition and things often take a turn for the worse. The Belaja Rosa Foundation helps these children to become independent. In addition, the Foundation organizes holiday camps and day trips for disadvantaged children in the summer.

Today, the Foundation provides support to more than 350 disadvantaged children from 100 families in Stavropol. Ongoing support from Panasonic Biomedical Sales Europe is used as directly as possible to make a difference in the lives of these children.

To find out more about The Belaja Rosa Foundation, please contact Ton Schipperheijn