Letter: Less fear, more hope for Russia

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The Independent Online
Sir: The examples cited by Susan Richards ('A little can go a long way towards helping Russia,' 25 March) are all-important entrepreneurial projects set up to provide aid to Russia and other parts of the former Soviet Union. She is correct to highlight the lack of funding available to train nurses and social workers as, being state-run, such projects fall outside the remit of most agencies. There are, however, some funds available in Europe for initiatives concerned with social welfare.

The Charity Know How Fund is the result of a liaison between the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and a group of leading British charitable trusts, of which CAF is one. It exists precisely to assist with the development and funding of a viable and independent voluntary sector within these emerging democracies.

Out of this was born East-West Link, which acts as a 'matching' agency and was set up as a direct response to the many requests received by potential partner organisations in the region and the UK. Beyond this, the Charities Aid Foundation is considering opening an office in Moscow, to encourage further British efforts to meet the increasing needs of the embryonic voluntary sector in Russia. Other European foundations are also developing programmes to help to build the capacity of the third sector in Central and Eastern Europe.

Of course, these alone will not be enough and much, much more will certainly be needed. But we should not ignore the very considerable efforts that are already being made to help Russia and others to establish the sort of framework for voluntary action which will enable them to face the future with a little less fear and a little more hope.

Yours faithfully,

MICHAEL BROPHY

Executive Director

Charities Aid Foundation

Tonbridge, Kent

25 March

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