Village school

Novoe Mashezero is a very small village in Karelia, North-West region of Russia. It's separated from the rest of civilization by 65 km of a really bad road. You can think, 65 km is not such a long distance but in fact it is - the road is so bad that even a very skilled driver can reach this village only in 2-3 hours. Regular buses from/to Belomorsk (the nearest city) are coming only 3 times a week (in case an old bus is not broken). There are only two small shops here. They say, it is impossible to find a work here. There is no network coverage. People have fixed phones at home but it happens very often landline gets out of order and phones stop working. You can get an Internet access only at school.
School is the center of this village. Only 50 pupils are learning here.
My photo project is about this village school. In Russia we call such schools "malokomplektnaya", that means this school is really small and sometimes only 1, 2 or 3 children attend classes. The school is quite different from the ordinary schools. Studying process, relations between children, even children are different. And the main thing is that the future of these children is very doubtful.
Although not all families are problem-free and well-to-do, it could be told that right now this children are happy. They study almost tet-a-tet with a teacher, they live out in the country, they have friends, they play all together, they fall in love for the first time, they learn to help juniors and to contact with elders.
While making this project I tried to answer the question - what future is possible for these children? When they are 10-14 years old, they say we love Novoe Mashezero and we don't want to move from this village in the future. Once they are 17, they begin to see their village life in another light: bad road, almost no civilization, alcoholics. This village is slowly dying. For this children the only possible way to grow further, get university degree and get something more from life is to move to a city or maybe another bigger village.
In my photographs I wanted to show how children love this place, after all most of them don't want to leave their home. But do they have a choice?

2011

(Text in RUSSIAN is available here)