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Moscow’s Cinema for the Homeless

Moscow’s Cinema for the Homeless

As you should know by now, we’re all for schemes that help out those less fortunate than ourselves. Over the last couple of months, we’ve told you about a variety of ideas from all over the world that are helping others in one way or another.

In Canada, For the Love of Laundry enables people to wash and dry their clothes for free. Two women in Texas turned to crowdfunding to pay for the funeral of a local homeless man.

A barber in Australia has been giving out free haircuts and the occasional makeover to people who can’t otherwise afford it. And in California, a couple and their family are going to be moving into a tiny house they have designed for struggling families.

And here comes another initiative, this time in Russia.

A charity backed by city officials in Moscow, Friends on the Streets, is setting up a variety of events over the summer, free of charge for the less fortunate of the city.

Their main event, which only launched last weekend, is a cinema experience. The cinema screen is housed in a tent, right next to a welfare centre for the less fortunate, in the centre of Moscow.

The tent seats about 100 people, and is one of the few places homeless people can go to relax and be entertained, and enjoy a good laugh, without having to worry about having official identification.

But a movie and a good time is not all the cinema organisers have to offer. Patrons can also enjoy a hot meal and drink before the show begins, and they get to vote on the movie.

Patrons enjoying the show

As you might expect, they voted for something light and funny, a 1965 Soviet slapstick called Operation Y and Shurik’s Other Adventures.

In addition to the movies will be sporting events, such as playing football games. Friends on the Streets are also hoping to set up a makeshift beauty salon.

“We do our best to treat the homeless like friends, not as objects to be fed and washed,” explained Friends on the Streets volunteer Natalia Markova. “Their lives are hard enough as they are, and with projects like this, we try to cheer them up.”

Andrei Besshtanko is the City Hall Deputy Head of Social Security and one of the backers of the charity. He said that for most people, going to the cinema or the hairdresser isn’t a big deal – there isn’t anything special in it.

“But for those who have spent a year on the streets,” he explained, “it helps to remember they are human.”

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