Valentine’s Day Becomes a Day of Friendship for Orphans

Valentine’s Day is filled with celebrations of love. In the case of orphans in Ochag and Adygea, the holiday easily became all about celebrating friendship, as Allies volunteers found a fun and creative way to work together to bless orphans there. 

The first activity presented challenges that taught orphans to work as a team while showcasing their individual strengths, and was anchored on a humorous game featuring KVN (the club of smart and cheerful people). Each child had a chance to reveal their talents and creatively figure their way out of different situations. There were many funny but brilliant answers to intriguing questions, as well as tension and high energy during the contests, which were judged by a panel. Time flew by quickly, and while the volunteers intended to be award only one winner, God had other plans--both teams tied for first place!

“I was the captain of the team,” 11-year-old Tanya said. “I had a great responsibility, because every time I answered correctly I added one more point to my team. I tried very hard and thought our team might lose… but we ended up equal! Allies volunteers Diana and Masha were our best fans!"

Volunteer Larisa, a candy-maker who made and decorated cookies that were given out as gifts, said it was easy to feed off the children’s energy. “Each time we visit the children, we get energized and find a zest for life! When you care and love, you gain more back."

At another orphanage where the children are slightly older, the volunteers made some adjustments to their KVN game, allowing for more difficult — albeit still entertaining — challenges. The children were likewise carried away and ecstatic about the activities. There was definitely a strong sense of competition, and each participant displayed impressive cleverness and skills. The question and answer segment of the program revolved around friendship – What is real friendship? Who is a real friend and who is not? What are the qualities of a good friend? How do you become a good friend? – and while the children responded seriously, they also approached it with lighthearted humor.

The dance contest was the biggest hit, as dance is a large part of the national culture. In the end, everyone received memorable prizes and sweets from the volunteers.

“It was just super!” Anzor, 16, said of the day’s activities. “The hardest part was to make our teachers among the judges laugh, and that’s why we tried our best. I enjoyed thinking and making up funny jokes with other children—and dancing to foreign music was enjoyable, too! Each time the volunteers visit, we become closer and closer, and by now, we want to call them by their names: Diana, Aunt Zhenya, Natasha, Igas and others.”

Volunteer Natasha had to overcome a bit of an obstacle with her team, but with some encouragement, they were able to pull through. “At first, there was little initiative from the children in my team, as they didn’t believe they were capable of anything. It took much effort, and eventually they believed in their strengths, united as team and even started winning. The children got inspired, and by the end of this game we all became real friends!"