The end of August is the time when helicopter lands at the tundra of nomad reindeer breeders to take their kids away to a boarding school. The next time when these children will see their parents is only at the eve of New Year.
Ludmila, teacher in the boarder school of Naryan-Mar.
Another teacher – Elena.
They are truly devoted and amazing people.
The school has 201 students aged from 8 to 18 including those children who live at the places with no schools.
42 thousand people and 180 thousand deer live their natural life on the endless tundra territory of the Nenets Autonomous Area. They do have TV, satellite dishes and other attributes of technological process but their mode of life remains unchanged and it won’t change in future. Deer are not bred in different ways.
In summer full families in tundra including children and women. At the end of August-early September children are taken away by helicopters, in December they come back home. In winter only men stay in tundra, women usually spend the cold season in settlements where they go by the same helicopters which take their kids to school in September.
Children aged 4-5 can keep the house almost as well as adults do.
The most serious problem is children’s coming back to the previous mode of life. Being at school they lose skills they had acquired in tundra. Statistically up to 80% of the children do come back to the tundra or their native settlements.
Some parents do not let their kids go to school and even hide them. It’s when traditions and Family Code (the state can’t take children away from parents if they don’t want them to go) confront Constitution (all children have a right to be educated).
It’s Mi-8 helicopter that is used for their transportation. If they need to fly over the sea Mi-8MTV is used.
It is actually not easy to find raw-hide tents of reindeer breeders because they never inform about their location. Usually it takes 2-3 hours.