An old Russian proverb notes that “what is bad for the village is also bad for the city”. But during the pandemic, even proverbs have been having a hard time. While the Inter Campus children in Voronezh have fortunately been able to re-commence their activities (led by our legendary coach Alexey), the youngsters at our school in Bobrov, located about 100 kilometres south-east of the aforementioned city, never stopped, not even at the height of the pandemic. Safe within the walls of the school, which takes them in and looks after them, they’ve enjoyed the sessions with our local coach, Oleg.

All of this was coordinated and made possible by the charity “Common Kids Foundation” (Obscie Dieti), our indefatigable Russian partner, and Igor, the coordinator of all the foundation’s activities, in particular. A huge and well-deserved thanks also goes to Pirelli, our local sponsor, who help carry out a project that involves up to 120 boys and girls with cognitive or motor difficulties, or who are orphans or in care.

And these children really did need this educational support, made possible through sport, which allows them to let off some steam and have fun, and to forget about all the difficult – at times, terrible – situations that have resulted in them living far away from their own families in an environment that, while safe, is undoubtedly lonely.

This is why they always welcome us with a big party when we come to visit from Italy: they know that we never forget about them. At the moment, we stay in contact by digital means and maintain long-distance communication, particularly to organise training for the local coaches. However, we very much hope that we’ll be able to go back as soon as possible to see them play in person, because we also miss them dearly.