Over the three weeks at Artek, Albert from Kazan learned about a real au-forte etching machine and created several prints. Dima from Barnaul now has a big collection of minerals. The boys won the chance to join the Artek community because of their perseverance and dedication to their goals. They also owe it to the Artek Miloserdie charity foundation.
In the past two years, Artek Miloserdie has fulfilled many disadvantaged children’s dreams of Artek. Two more kids travelled to Artek for the May session thanks to the charity project.
Albert was a finalist in the I Want to Go to Artek contest held in partnership with Russian Post. The boy suffers from bronchial asthma. The seaside is the only place where he feels better. In his essay, Albert wrote: “I think my mum would sacrifice her heart and soul for us and our wellbeing. If only I had a magic flower for seven wishes I would make only two. The first would be good health for my family and the second would be to go to Artek and do plenty of swimming in the sea so that I could forget about coughing forever, and meet with kids from all across the country.” This time, Albert did not win but his dream came true thanks to a woman philanthropist who chose to stay anonymous. Finally, the boy could breathe plenty of therapeutic Crimean air, make new friends, and start to believe in himself and the kindness of the world.
“I heard that Artek is very old and it has changed a lot in the past years. When I found out I am going there, I couldn’t stop smiling,” the boy recalls. “I made a lot of friends at the camp. Most of all I loved the trip to Sevastopol on May 9. It is a beautiful city, a hero city.”
Also over the three weeks at Artek, Albert learned a new skill, etching. He now knows about several techniques and had a go on a real au-forte etching machine.
“He is a talented boy. He made a wonderful print of a cat,” Ilya Solovyov, a teacher of the Print Graphics class, said about his student. “When he made it, at first he couldn’t believe his own eyes, it was so beautiful. But I can see that it is amazing: children’s imagination is not clouded by standards and stereotypes. We made a nice frame for the print. It will be displayed at our exhibition.”
What would you tell the children who want to see Artek or have some other dream? Albert says you must always believe your wish will come true. He believed it, as did another finalist, Dima from Barnaul.
In his essay, Dima tells about his life where he has to be strong to support his mother and little sister. He lost his father pretty young and was left the only man in the family. His loved ones rely on him. They go through a lot of hardships but they always stand together. Dima helps his mum with everything and often says, “I am a man. I can handle this.”
“I knew it would be really fun and cool at Artek. Still, I was a little nervous about being so far from home and from my friends,” Dima recalls. “But all my best hopes turned out to be true. Already on my first day, I made a good friend, Gordei. He is really fun and makes jokes all the time. We painted a plane for a contest together. Our counselors Stas, Olya and Nastya were really great. They would always invent some new activities for us. My most memorable day was when we set up a game for the whole camp. I was supervising the competition where kids painted blindfolded. The winners received tokens. It was great!”
Counselors from Dima’s group say that the boy found it easy to fit in at Artek. He was kind and always ready to help counselors and friends. Dima was included in the top five of the most engaged children in his group. He also has a remarkable ability to focus on a task. This ability came in useful at the Young Geologist class, which required great patience and carewhen working with stone. Under the supervision of his teacher, Vladimir Dunayev, the boy collected a whole set of minerals over his stay and made a pendant of a sea pebble. Far away in Barnaul, this little keepsake will remind him of Artek.
“Artek is a place where you are happy all day. There is not a minute to be sad. I don’t know the person who helped me come here and made me so happy. I want to thank this person, wish them good health and happiness,” Dima said. “My dream came true. What else can I dream of? I know, to come to Artek again!”