Nenets Boarding School at Yamal Peninsula

Yamal means “The end of the earth”. This place is right in the Arctic Tundra. The subsoil is permafrost. It’s marshy in summer and much covered with snow the rest of the year.

It is here that a few nomadic tribes like the Nenets and the Khanty survive by herding reindeer. The reindeer eat only a type of moss that grows under the cover of the snow. However, the snow cover has to be less than half a metre otherwise, the reindeer cannot gain access to their food. That’s why in the summer months, the reindeer herd migrates to the north towards Kara Sea and in winter it migrates towards the south near Salekhard.

I had the chance of visiting a Nenets Boarding School. This school was situated near the Earth of Hope town. It is a very unique school in which the language of instruction was in Russian and Nenets native language. The school complex consists of a Church of Earth of Good Hope, the school proper, and the boarding houses for both the children, the teachers, cooks, and the maintenance crew. About 30 people were staying in this school complex including 7 schooling children.

Church of Earth of Hope
A couple of Nenets children at the boarding school taken outside the church
The Arctic Tundra. The landscape here is beautiful.
The Nenets children at the boarding school
They used firewood for heating and cooking
Having some fun with the teacher’s baby.
The teacher, Nadia and her daughter.
The teacher coaching the students in class
The children were taught in both Russian and Nenets languages. The Nenets culture and way of life were some of the subjects taught here
A class photo. The children were dressed in their traditional costumes

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