United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Online seasons of the Inclusive innovative programme New city “Friendly”

International Centre for Social Innovations "Vector of Friendship" (
Non-governmental organization (NGO)

    The New City "Friendly" programme helps reduce the level of social isolation of children with disabilities, help parents of special children, and allow NGOs and educational institutions around the world to get acquainted with inclusive practices. Target group of the project: children and young people with various physical and mental illnesses aged from 5 to 25 years. The programme is organised as a children's camp, events and actions aimed at promoting inclusion. Within the pandemic, the programme was implemented as online seasons, where children and adolescents with special needs and their healthy peers stayed in touch online for 8-14 days accompanied by Instructors on Good (counsellors).


    ● It aims to organise an inclusive platform for joint leisure activities for children and young people with and without disabilities. It aims to help children realise creative potential, professional self-determination, effective socialisation in any situation. ● It helps reduce inequality and form a new inclusive society, where there is no place for adolescent aggression, loneliness, Internet addiction and bullying. ● It encourages participating in inclusive programmes and provides systematic support to parents of children with disabilities. ● It improves the skills of inclusive specialists involved in the implementation of an inclusive technology in times of crisis. ● It provides the partner network of NGOs and educational institutions with a sustainable instrument for broadcasting an inclusive technology within and after the lockdown.

    Contribution to SDG Implementation

    The New city "Friendly" is an inclusive environment, since children with disabilities also have the opportunity to join teams. The programme helps reduce inequality and create a new accessible society, free of adolescent aggression, cruelty and social exclusion, meeting the principle of "leaving no one behind" and promoting the good health and well-being of all the children. Each online season has its own theme, offering unique tasks and workshops from famous people that help realise children’s creative potential, learn new skills and abilities, thereby providing a high-quality education.

    Implementation methodologies

    The programme includes the development of educational programmes and methodological materials, practical modules for the training and internship of Instructors on Good (counsellors) and inclusive volunteers. The New city "Friendly" is a platform for children and young people aged 5 to 25 years, united in inclusive aged teams. The participants of the programme are also well-known creative people who meet with children and conduct author's workshops aimed at developing children's creative abilities. The project is funded by grants and donations from commercial companies and individuals. In 2020, the programme's activities were implemented online due to the current epidemiological situation. Within the framework of the programme, 4 online tours of the children's camp were held, in which children with different physical, intellectual and mental abilities took part. Within the programme, the International Inclusive Gathering "Notebook of Friendship was held: 4-day practice-educational online intensive for exchanging experience in integration of children and young people, regardless of age, status, nationality, physical and mental capabilities. The final event of the programme was the Online-session of the Inclusive Social Transformations Forum #INFOCUS. The event was attended by youth leaders, representatives of educational institutions, NGOs, socially responsible business, international organisations, major UN entities and authorities. Children did interactive tasks aimed at developing leadership skills, initiative and willingness to take active actions, and helped organise the Forum as volunteers. According to the results of the Online-session, 10 most active representatives of children's and youth teams were selected to become the #INFOCUS Youth Ambassadors.


    ● 187 children from 16 regions became participants of the online seasons, including 42 children with 11 different diagnoses. ● In 2020, 2100 children with different physical and mental abilities took part in the projects. ● Development of a new format of interaction with children of different abilities, aimed at reducing the social isolation of children within the pandemic and the development of an inclusive society. ● Expansion of the geography of participants with different health abilities through online events: 42 countries and 60 regions of Russia. ● Development of educational and creative abilities of children from 5 to 17 years old. ● Organisation of online activities during the holidays for children with different abilities. ● Maintaining the staff, providing the employees of the non-profit organisation with a full salary. ● Specialists of partner NGOs and educational institutions from other regions have asked us to share their experience in conducting inclusive online events.

    Factors and Constraints

    When creating the programme, we aimed to build an inclusive society and contribute to sustainable development. We have been working on it for 15 years. In May 2020, the first franchise of the programme for children and young people in our country was formed to broadcast the technologies and open such camps anywhere in the world. However, the pandemic changed our plans, we decided to prove the effectiveness of the programme by organising online seasons. The camp is able to "cure" healthy children in activities with special friends, fill their lives with real love and kindness. We were approached by partner NGOs and educational institutions from other regions, who expressed interest in sharing their experience in conducting inclusive online events.

    Sustainability and replicability

    The project is expected to be further developed by expanding the geography of participants, improving communication instruments and establishing new partnerships with regional authorities, educational institutions and non-governmental organisations. The organisation of creative online interaction of children and young people will not lose its relevance after the lockdown. Children with limited mobility, with complicated diagnoses will have the opportunity to communicate with ordinary peers by participating in joint events. Support of the project will allow us to use this uncertain period of time to develop and scale a unique inclusive technology aimed at reducing the social isolation of children with disabilities and their families. In May 2020, the New City "Friendly" project became a franchise and is now ready to scale anywhere in the world. Our employees assist in recruitment, team formation, assistance in choosing and preparing the venue, conduct systematic professional training of the team of Instructors on Good and inclusive volunteers, conduct step-by-step instructions and give support when the New city "Friendly" is launched.

    COVID-19 Impact

    Currently, there is a huge need for inclusive practice-oriented technologies, and specialists who are able to assist in building an inclusive society. Since the beginning of the lockdown, we have tested 4 online seasons. Every day, for 11 days, children and teenagers from Russia and foreign countries participated in an interactive competition programme, trying themselves in painting, photography, cooking, sports, cinema, journalism, etc. Each day ended with a self-reflection, where young participants could share their emotions, give advice and support among friends. The pandemic and the development of the project in an online format helped to ensure continuous participation in inclusive events in online and offline formats for children with various forms of disabilities; reduce the level of social isolation of children and young people with disabilities not only during the pandemic, but also when it ends.

    This initiative does not yet fulfil the SMART criteria.
    25 May 2020 (start date)
    01 January 2022 (date of completion)
    More information
    Russian Federation
    Russian Federation
    Contact Information

    Daria, Manager of international projects