The educational project “Personalities of the Russian Community Abroad. 1920-1945”

Helena Antipoff

12.05.2020
Helena Antipoff

Helena Antipoff

(1892 – 1974)

A teacher, psychologist and expert in social and educational psychology for special needs students. In Brazil it was her who established the system of shelters and schools for children who needed social and psychological intervention.

She was born in 1892. She studied in Paris and Geneva. In 1917, when her learning was over, she returned to Russia and worked for People's Commissariat for Education as a psychologist and researcher at the Central Quarantine and Distribution Point for Children in Petrograd. There they monitored orphans, homeless children and children from poor families.

In 1922 she was exiled from Russia along with her husband on the “Philosopher’s Ship”. She lived in Germany for some time and then moved to Geneva where she worked under the guidance of Édouard Claparède, one of the pioneers in children’s behavioral interventions.

In 1929 Antipoff accepted the invitation from Brazilian government to organize schools and asylums for children who needed social and psychological intervention. At first, she wanted to work according to the contract’s timeline and leave. But later she decided to stay for good. Thanks to Antipoff, in Brazil for the first time there appeared the House of Young Workers, a scout organization and the Fazenda do Rosário (Rosario Farm) which was a school and shelter for children with special needs. In 1932 she established Pestalozzi Society to support children who needed certain social and psychological intervention. Antipoff also developed the scientific school: it was her initiative to establish psychology departments at universities in Rio-de-Janeiro and Belo Horizonte. The Helena Antipoff Foundation and Institute after her name are functioning in Brazil nowadays.

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