Alexander Kurochkin

Preferred Interpreter

Project Director School 139


My name is Alexander Kurochkin, I’m a recent alumni of Perm State Humanitarian-Pedagogical University. I’ve been a S.L.A.T.ECharity volunteer for more than 3 years. This journey started some time ago when Michael Kerins – a multiple-award winning storyteller and writer from Glasgow, Scotland – made another trip to Russia. When Brian Grassie was visiting I was suggested as an interpreter by The Dean, Tatyana Germanovna Loginova. It proved to be a great success. Later I was further appointed and designated to accompany Michael Kerins to different educational establishments around Perm (my hometown) and Moscow as an interpreter. I didn’t know much about his mission in our country. This changed very soon…

One of Michael’s first visits was to Perm-based orphanage “Love’s Bridge”, and it truly opened my eyes on somewhat hidden aspects of our reality. The caretakers of “Loves Bridge” – Vera and Raphail – are the best teachers the pupils can wish for. It had never occurred to me before that being raised in a foster-home deprives you (in the most understanding sense of the word) of the notions the most of us take for granted, such as development of communicational skills. Vera and Raphail are therefore wonder-makers as they provide for the pupils every minute of every day inventing and establishing new projects with the help of S.L.A.T.ECharity. This collaboration stretched over many years and improved the lives of numerous children. Despite insufficient aid from the Russian government and the recent recession, this establishment strives to encourage the best in a human being.

Michael’s next visit was to School 139 (actually, it is not its official name, but it stuck to it in a poetic kind of manner) for blind and visually impaired children in Perm. S.L.A.T.ECharity has been co-operating with the school for over a very long time, mainly through creating multiple projects and Michael’s storytelling sessions (each time involving a new interpreter, whose main objective is to convey a story to younger generation with the utmost care, support and understating). This is a challenge and a most worthwhile one indeed. One of the main emphasis in co-operation is made on the school’s art class that in all probability will present to this world quite a number of modern Dali, Monet or even da Vinci. The art teacher – Larisa Gennadievna – is a skillful professional, who has a personal approach to every pupil and whose guidance is a true way to inspiration of a young soul. Last June I was fortunate enough to be offered the opportunity to become the Project Director for S.L.A.T.ECharity. An honour I was happy and willing to accept. One of the early tasks encompassed 47 paintings commemorating the work of Scottish poetess, the late Emma Scullion. Emma’s short life was full of struggles as she had been battling cancer from a very young age. Notwithstanding her spirit was captured in her poetry, especially referring to festivities, such Christmas time. School 139 pupils managed to depict her tenderness, wit and kind soul in their art-works. The paintings then were sent to Scotland and are scheduled to be released as calendars in 2018 all benefitting S.L.A.T.ECharity and it’s projects here in Russia .

Last but not least is S.L.A.T.ECharity’s undergoing collaboration with Perm State Humanitarian-Pedagogical University and Perm National Research Polytechnic University in the department of translation and interpreting. The KerinsNaumov International Translation Competition was created by Michael Kerins and Nickolai Naumov – a former student of Perm State Pedagogical University who nowadays is a very famous Russian comedy movie and TV star – in 2003 for the students of the aforementioned Universities to improve their professional skills. The texts contributed to the competition come from all over the world and are written by specialists of different nature, such as doctors, lawyers, business executives, journalists, etc. Hence, the students are faced with contemporary non-textbook material, which unequivocally develops the mode of thinking in a foreign language (English as well as German).

Working as a S.L.A.T.ECharity volunteer on such a large scale changed my perspective of what the word “charity” really means and the ways in can manifest itself with the help provided through international co-operation.