About Us

The Roddy Scott Foundation was set up in the memory of a Yorkshire journalist who was shot in the Chechen conflict in 2002.

Roddy wrote an email to a friend shortly before he set out on his last trip: 'I personally think Pankisi is a great story, it's about the first time I have ever seen the possibility for someone to really lift the lid on everything, rather than the usual journo-grasping-at-straws-with-no-good-sources.'

Before he made this last trip, travelling with Chechen irregular forces, Roddy spent several weeks winning the trust of Chechen refugees in the Pankisi Gorge, a neglected minority in a poor corner of a poor country - Georgia.

There has been a Chechen community in the Pankisi Gorge for a long time, but it has been under pressure from a huge influx of new refugees since Russia invaded Chechnya in 1994. The dislocation caused by the conflict has had a very harmful effect on education, health care, and job opportunities - particularly for women. The Roddy Scott Foundation aims to help ameliorate these problems.

Roddy's parents Robin and Stina Scott, who live in Nidderdale, near Harrogate, visited the region and saw a huge need for development - in particular in education, and job opportunities.

Stina said they were moved to act after hearing people's memories of their son. 'We met many families in the villages of the gorge who had known and admired Roddy for his dedication to their cause; we learned that he was much loved and considered as their own; he had spent time with the refugees, with the wounded fighters in hospital and safe houses, and had played football with their children.'

Since then, even before gaining charitable status in March 2008, the Foundation had paid for journalism scholarships for people from Pankisi, provided books for English teaching classes, cots for one kindergarten, educational resources for a new kindergarten and a school bus.

Ambitious plans are under way to rebuild a school that was burnt down in the fighting, and open a centre for women to meet.

All of the work up to now has been done by volunteers, travelling to the region at their own expense, so all of the money raised goes to help the people of Pankisi. A freelance journalist living in Georgia, Vladimir Lozinski, travels frequently to the area to monitor developments.

Vladimir Lozinski on delivering the first consignment of books in the snow. 'I bought out the whole stock of this level of books available in the capital. When they have more books I will buy them for the other classes. The school bus got stuck in the snow on Wednesday and had to be towed out by the wood truck. I almost did not make it around the villages myself even in the jeep as the snow was so deep. I also had a flat tyre as a big piece of metal pierced it. Just an adventure.'

On one trip into the mountains, Stina and Robin saw the potential for tourism. Stina said 'We were entertained by a Georgian shepherd in his hut(dry!), with home-produced vodka, many toasts and speeches, and a lamb stewed with herbs in a huge cauldron over an open fire. While the lamb cooked we sat round the smoky fire, and watched the shepherd make cheese from the morning's milking.'

One of the Foundation's founder Trustees is BBC foreign correspondent David Loyn, who said:

Roddy Scott was one of a rare breed of journalist-adventurers who took time to get to know people, and really find out what was happening under the surface. As a reporter, he was brave, resourceful and compassionate, and it literally cost him his life.' 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Lia, who organises the teaching programme, teacher training and facilities in the Pankisi Valley.

Mrs Galiev at her home in the Pankisi village of Tsinubani, lost 4 sons in the Chechen wars with Russia, and had Roddy as a regular visitor and regarded him as a son.

Vlad Lozinski (an inspiration behind the formation of the RSF) delivers the first books to a school.

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