The academic staff and students of Voronezh State University took part in an annual national fund-raising campaign “Cheburashka’s birthday” aimed at helping children in need. The event took place on 25 September in the Alye Parusa park. It included the interactive game “Cheburgrad – the city of professions”, during which the children could try different professions: policeman, engineer, pastry chef, rescuer, doctor, pharmacist, environmentalist, and others. The event was organised for about 250 children, including orphans, children from foster homes from Voronezh and the Voronezh region, disabled children, children from substitute families, and families with many children. The campaign has been held annually for 14 years in Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Perm, Ekaterinburg, and Nizhny Novgorod. In Voronezh, ‘Cheburashka’s birthday’ has been celebrated for the third time.
At “Cheburgrad”, VSU was represented by students of the Faculty of Pharmaceutics (the “Che-Chemists” station ), an assistant of the Faculty of Physics (the “Chebu-Robot” station), and students of the Faculty of Law (the “Che-Business” station). According to the rules of the game, the children had to register at the park entrance where they were given a passport, an employment record book, and several hundred “chegs” (game money) as starting-up capital. Then the participants had to choose a profession (station). There they had to pay 30 “chegs” for training. Having received a stamp in their employment record book, they could go to “work” which comprised of certain tasks which they had to accomplish. As a result, they got their salary – 50 “chegs”. The children could spend their earnings in the “Che-Shop”.
The “Che-Chemistry”, which was run by VSU’s students, had 4 departments: a phyto-department, a department for finished dosage forms, a prescription department, and an information department.
At the phyto-department, a fourth year student Evgenia Globenko told the children about medicinal plants and their health properties and treated them to mint, linden, camomile, currant, and lemon tea which help prevent colds in the rainy weather. At the department for finished dosage forms, a fifth year student Alina Kostukova and a fourth year student Yulia Peshkova explained to the children how to give first aid in case of burns, bruises, cuts, and fractures and taught them to measure blood pressure and do eye exercises. At the prescription department, a third year student Evgeny Maltsev told the children how pharmacies make various medicines. The children had a chance to prepare a cream or a powder without anybody’s help, and even did quality control testing. At the information department, fourth year students Yulia Kozochkina and Maria Senutina showed a model of a pharmacy building, taught the children how to make origami hearts, and told them about the qualities a real pharmacist should have.
The “Chebu-Robot” station was represented by an assistant of the VSU’s Department of Radiophysics at the Faculty of Physics, Vladimir Proskuryakov. Here, the participants of the event could learn more about robotics and radio technologies. They also had a chance to take part in a master class where they could try the career of an engineer and to assemble an electronic circuit. The master class consisted of two parts: the theoretical, during which Vladimir explained configuration of basic components for electronic circuits and the practical, during which the children assembled a flashing led beacon. When the beacon started to flash different colours, the children’s faces beamed with happiness.
Among other participants of the event were students of VSU’s Faculty of Law who represented the “Law School” project. They taught the children the basics of employment law: how to make an employment agreement and how to find mistakes in it. They also told them about the things you have to remember when you get a job. The children found the amount of documents daunting. Nevertheless, they watched the execution of agreements with a lot of interest.
25 September was a cold and rainy day in Voronezh. However, it did not hold the students and the academic staff back from sharing their knowledge and skills with the younger generation and giving their attention and sympathy to those who needed it badly.