A FORMER Nelson student has made a film about the plight of homeless children in Russia.
Jacob Mobbs, 23, who studied film and video at Nelson and Colne College, was inspired to make the film as his sister, Hannah-Louise, runs a charity for underprivilged children in Russia.
He had seen previous documentaries about homeless children in Russia and decided to go to the country and see the extent of the problem himself.
Jacob went to Perm, near the Ural Mountains, in March for three weeks where his sister's Love's Bridge charity is based. He filmed with the help of his friend, Nicolas Doldinger, but said that it took time for the children to trust him before he was able to interview them.
Jacob, who is from Nelson, said that the most shocking aspect of his film was following them into the basement of a block of flats where they lived and witnessing the appalling living conditions they had to cope with.
He said: "We had to climb down into a dark, dirty space. The basement was crawling with rats, had rubbish and evidence of drug use everywhere."
In winter some of the children have to live on the streets at sub-zero temperatures.
Most of the children had ended up on the streets as their parents had turned to alcohol.
Many of them were abused and beaten and most had been picked up by police and sent to government shelters where they were locked up.
"The ones who are now living on the streets have often run away from these shelters and always try to avoid police when they are outside," Jacob added.
During the time of the filming, the children were in good spirits, despite their predicament.
Jacob believes that they are missing the "creature comforts" of England.
"They are well aware of our lives and traditions in this country," he said. "They love talking about football and Beckham and all of them dream of coming here.
"Their lives can be rebuilt through special education programmess, advice on how to look after themselves and getting a job to support themselves.
"It made me feel sad but also more determined to help make a difference. If enough people are made aware of the charity then a lot more can be done to help these children off the streets."