College Scholarships and Educational Programs

Over 16 years ago RCWS launched a scholarship program for disadvantaged children in Russia. During this time, the number of participants has grown from 3 in the 2003-2004 academic year to 173 in 2019-2020.  This help is much needed since only 3-4% of orphans graduating from high schools in Russia are accepted to colleges.  These children often lack the financial support, guidance, motivation, and self assurance needed to pursue the college education in order to improve their prospects in life.

Currently, RCWS is supporting 173 students in the Pskov, Yaroslavl, Moscow and the North Caucasus regions. To date, the scholarship program has been enormously successful in providing a support structure for students as they transition from living in an orphanage to attending a university on their own. For an annual cost of approximately $1,500-$2,000 per student, the Society is helping orphans successfully complete an academic degree or vocational training in order to steer them towards a promising future. The scholarship recipients receive a monthly stipend for living expenses, enabling better focus on their studies. More importantly, however, they are closely guided by their mentors who are always there to listen and provide the necessary support to help the children flourish and feel cared for. RCWS requires academic transcripts from each scholarship recipient, as well as reports on the use of the stipend to ensure accountability. Over 120 of our scholarship recipients have thus far completed their schooling and found employment. 


Over the years, RCWS has received numerous thank you letters from our scholarship recipients. We would like to share several stories.

In summer 2018, Tatiana P., RCWS scholarship recipient, graduated with honors from the Pskov State University, majoring in Management. Tatiana lost her mom and grew up at the Krasnogorodsky Orphanage. In her thank-you note to RCWS she wrote: “My final year at the university was very challenging, lots of exams and tests. The RCWS financial support greatly helped me to achieve my goal and receive a university diploma. The monthly scholarship covered the educational courses, books, a new printer, a cell phone, etc. Now I am thinking to continue my studies and planning to apply for a Master’s Degree program.  I am very grateful to RCWS for supporting me during the last 4 years. A special thank you for the annual student’s reunion meetings. I will miss this part of my life but am very excited about the future!”

Among our new scholarship recipients is Yuri A. who is a 16-year-old social orphan, and now a 1st-year student at the Dnovsky Railway Technical School, majoring in diesel locomotive driving. Yuri’s mom was deprived of parental rights due to alcoholism and his farther is currently in jail. While living at the orphanage, Yuri started taking music classes and playing the drums in the school orchestra. He also engaged in football, basketball, and volleyball and received numerous awards in sport competitions. Yuri wrote in his letter to RCWS: “My Dad, who worked as a taxi driver, got into an accident that killed a person and he end up in prison. After this tragic accident my mother began to drink. I had to take care of my younger siblings – a sister and a brother. After my mom lost her parental rights, we ended up in the "Center for Abandoned Children". When I was little, I dreamed of becoming a football player, a fireman, or a driver. Also I dreamed of traveling and visiting different countries. Later I decided on a profession that, in my opinion, will help to fulfill my dream – I want to become a locomotive driver. The RCWS scholarship will help to cover books, studying materials, and other expenses. Currently, I have no one to help me financially and very much need the RCWS support. I hope that after graduating from the Technical School my life will change for the better. I will start working and might be able to visit different countries and see the world. When I start earning money, I want to help my younger brother Misha and sister Yulia, who are still living at the orphanage.”

This note is from Svetlana E., who graduated last summer from the Pskov State University, with a degree in Technology and Design: “My final year at college has ended. Your support really helped me tremendously. It is sad that by graduating college, I will no longer be a part of the RCWS Scholarship program. These three-and-a-half years as an RCWS scholarship recipient flew by so fast! RCWS support was invaluable to me and incredibly important for my future. Thanks to the RCWS scholarship program I was able to meet such wonderful people. This final year was very challenging academically for me. In addition, I had to say goodbye to university life, pass the state exam, and present my graduate paper. Now I am ready for the next chapter of my life. I have already found and accepted a job offer – I will be working as a teacher. I would like to thank the RCWS and all the donors for your support! I would not be able to graduate and receive a college diploma without your help. What you do for us is so important for young people like myself! It makes me happy that there are people across the world who care and are ready to help. Thank you for supporting me! Wishing RCWS and the donors all the best!”

Last summer Alexander S., RCWS scholarship recipient, graduated from the Pskov Agrotechnical College with an Electrician & Technician diploma. Alexander grew up at the Krasnogorodsky Orphanage. In his thank-you note to RCWS, Alexander wrote: “There were many ups and downs during my studies, but I was able to solve problems and overcome all the difficulties, thanks to the support of RCWS. I am immensely grateful for your help!”

Ioann N., 21 y.o., social orphan, graduate of St. Alexis School and Orphanage in Yaroslavl region, 3rd year student at Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, major in Nano-, Bio-, Information, Cognitive and Social Humanitarian Sciences and Technologies: «I completed a very difficult 1st academic year at the University. Since now I live in a dormitory in Moscow, I have to take care of myself. In the past I often faced financial challenges. Even to visit my native city of Omsk, where my mother was buried, was very expensive and out of reach for me. After joining the RCWS scholarship project, my life has changed. The monthly scholarship helped me to purchase winter and summer clothes, buy books and school supplies, pay for the dormitory and Internet. With your support I am able to focus on my studies, instead of looking for means of subsistence. »

Svetlana T., 20 y.o., an orphan, her mother passed away, father is deprived of parental rights. Now Svetlana is the 3rd year student at the Pskov State University, with a major in "Architecture": “I always had a dream to design a unique and beautiful building, then build it, and leave a mark in the history of the city of Pskov. I am getting closer to my dream and will continue moving forward to achieve it. I study architecture and really like my major. The academic year went well, I learned so many new things! RCWS scholarship helped to repair my computer, buy books, supplies and other essentials. Thank you for helping me to realize my dream!”

Olga V., 21 y.o., an orphan, never saw her father and her mother was deprived of parental rights due to alcoholism. Now Olga is the 3rd year student of St. Petersburg Medical University, major in pediatrics: “You are my saviors and my guardian angels. I was along, in a difficult situation. Now I am a medical university student. In the future, I want to treat and help children.  They are so small and defenseless! I also want to help people, as you do. After all, if we do good deeds, it would return to us. My studies and getting a profession is my priority. In order to become a good physician, you need to study and work a lot! I am very grateful to RCWS for everything you do for me. Not many people are able to help children who need help.“

RCWS has been expanding the scholarship program, adding new partners and increasing the number of participating students. Currently, RCWS provides scholarships to 22 young musicians affiliated with the Spivakov Foundation. 

RCWS has made it a tradition to gather our scholarship recipients for a reunion every summer. It’s not only an opportunity to meet old and make new friends, but to share their experiences in overcoming challenges at school and in their personal lives, learning important skills such as monthly budget planning, and so on. This year’s Pskov students reunion took place on July 11th in Pleskov, a retreat overlooking the Pskov Lake. Last year, the RCWS scholarship recipients reunion was covered by a local newspaper


Lada Yushkevich, Head of the RCWS Moscow office, participated in the reunion meeting and met with students. In addition to the diploma ceremony, students had a chance to engage in sport activities: swimming, playing beach volleyball, biking. After lunch, the participants shared their college experiences and thanked sponsors – RCWS supporters. Currently 40 RCWS scholarship recipients are attending local colleges and universities in Pskov region. Thanks to the RCWS and our donors support,  over the years 107 orphanage graduates in Pskov region received the monthly scholarship. As of today, 68 scholarship recipients from Pskov region completed their studies, received diplomas and found employment. 

Olga Vasilieva, a student at the St. Petersburg Medical University, Pediatric Department, and a RCWS scholarship recipient expressed her gratitude: “I would like to thank everyone for the wonderful reunion.  It was truly very heartwarming. For me it was like a home gathering with very close family and friends. Thank you RCWS for the on-going support and for the positive emotions that we received at the student’s reunion meeting!”

St. Nicholas School, North Caucasus region

Established in 1992, the St. Nicholas School provides a well-rounded education, enrolling 250 students. Over 90% of graduating students are accepted into leading universities in Russia. Besides regular school subjects the students study Latin, Greek, and Church Slavonic. Extra-curricular activities include choir singing, art studio, children’s theater, and various sports activities. St. Nicholas School occasionally rewards its students with trips beyond the classroom walls to enrich their academic experience and to offer them a chance to broaden their horizons. In 2018, RCWS provided funding to cover the extra-curricular educational trips, compensation for 27 teachers, building renovation and books for the library, totaling $14,092.

II Donskoi Cadet Corps named after Tsar Nicholas II, Rostov-on-Don

The II Donskoi Cadet Corps named after Tsar Nicholas II was established in 1995 and it is one of the first cadets schools revived in Russia. In addition to providing a high-quality secondary education, the Cadet Corps objective is to raise intelligent, responsible, culturally educated, moral and respectful young people. A total of 286 students currently attend the cadet school, which is based in Rostov-on-Don in southern Russia.

In 2018, thanks to a direct donation, RCWS was able to sponsor 21 new computers to upgrade the IT class equipment for the young cadets enrolled at the school.

Additionally, in summer 2018, thanks to a direct contribution, RCWS was able to cover a pilgrimage trip to Yekaterinburg for a group of young cadets from the II Donskoi Cadet Corps. The long-awaited trip to Yekaterinburg took place this July, commemorating 100th anniversary of the execution of Tsar Nicholas II and his family in the basement of the Ipatiev House. Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims from Russia and all over the world visited Yekaterinburg in 2018 to remember the last Russian royal family. Among the tragic sights the students visited was Ganina Yama near the village of Koptyaki where the imperial family was buried in mass graves in 1918.

St. Alexis School, Yaroslavl region 

Established in 1993, the St. Alexis School & Orphanage serves orphaned children, enrolling 285 students. Education is provided free of charge, and the school is consistently ranked as one of the top schools in Russia. Over 100 children have graduated from the St. Alexis School, and 80% of them are continuing their education at top universities and colleges in Russia. To increase the enrollment of students, in 2018 RCWS sponsored new furniture to equip Physics, Chemistry and Biology classrooms at the St. Alexis School (49 cabinets and desks totaling $15,085).

RCWS has been supporting the educational programs at the St. Alexis School & Orphanage since it was founded and we are very proud of their accomplishments. The school was struggling to provide variety with its meals and lacked a bakery to produce quality bread so the RCWS funded the construction of a baking facility. In addition to supplying the school with bread, this facility will be a practical training ground for children enrolled in cooking and baking classes. Currently, RCWS is providing scholarships to over 40 students who graduated from the St. Alexis School and currently attending local colleges or universities. 


RCWS Scholarship Program - Interviews with Students