Build Relationships. Break Poverty. | Interview with Russia’s Country Director

Today on our podcast we are honored to have the woman who has been with Children’s HopeChest…before it was Children’s HopeChest!

Katya Celenina has been HopeChest’s Country Director of Russia for over 25 years – from HopeChest being a seed that the Lord was watering to partnering with seven countries and serving over 34,000 children. Katya’s insight is absolutely indispensable, and today she answers our questions about how she has seen HopeChest grow and change; what her involvement with the Russian government is like in regards to orphan and foster care programs; and how mentorship is transforming the lives of Russia’s most vulnerable population.


“The Vladimir region legislation about orphans is the most, fullest, almost exemplary for other regions in Russia…This gives us the opportunity to not only to teach other specialists who will have their own organization, even as state workers, to support the orphans. And thanks to our work, we have the opportunity and the demand from state officials to be educators about orphans. Miraculously, we regularly have up to 35 specialists from all over districts and regions of Russia who come to our Ministry Center to have classes to learn how to work with the orphans. ” Katya Celenina




Sitting in the interviewer’s seat is Rick Wright, Vice President of Marketing and Business Development. Rick supports and partners with the President and CEO and HopeChest board members on all major fundraising initiatives. He is also responsible for donor acquisition and retention and oversees the strategic marketing direction of the organization. In a past life, Rick was a spokesman for major Christian radio interviews, performed live on-site radio voice for inner-city ministry initiatives, and did voice over for radio television spots.



Katya Celenina has poured into the HopeChest mission since the beginning. She has been Country Director for the past 25 years and speaks throughout Russia and Eastern Europe on family-based intervention programs for older orphans. She also received a doctorate from St. Petersburg State University in post-institutional adaptation of Russian orphans. Her expertise and years of experience are indispensable.



“Build Relationships. Break Poverty.” is a podcast that challenges the Western perception of international poverty by elevating the voices of local leaders and processing how we can help to alleviate poverty without harming those living in vulnerable communities.



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