The team of the village of Aksakauschyna of Minsk district led by Maria Daschynskaya is taking part in the EU-funded Biz4all Social Entrepreneurship Incubator programme. The main goal of the team is to create a social enterprise “Vozmozhno Vse” (“Everything is Possible”) in the village. The enterprise will be a rural development centre, which will provide a platform to develop infrastructure, entrepreneurship and additional informal education of the local population. Such activities are necessary to ensure interaction between the villagers and unite the local community to resolve their urgent problems.
Love at first sight
Maria Daschynskaya came to the village of Aksakovschina in 1982 for her postgraduate work placement to work in a kindergarten. At the moment, it was Aksakovschina sanatorium of the 4th major department of the Ministry of Healthcare. Maria recalls that the sign near the “Lesnaya Skazka” (“Forest Fairytale”) bus stop on the Hrodna highway was saying just that: “san. “Aksakauschyna”.
|Mariya Daschynskaya at a Biz4all training "Crowdfunding for social start-ups”, 23.04.2017, Minsk|
Photo: Alyona Lis
In 1989, the sanatorium was repurposed as a rehabilitation hospital for people affected by the Chernobyl accident. From 1982 to 2003 the hospital also had a centre for social and psychological rehabilitation created within the framework of the UNESCO Chernobyl programme. As part of its work, the programme worked with the local community. Children enjoyed themselves in the playroom, visited clubs and a computer class. Meetings and teenage discos were organized there. Maria worked as deputy director and psychologist in the centre. It was disbanded in 2003. Local children have had no access to leisure activities for almost fifteen years now: the village does not have any schools, sport complexes, clubs or cafés.
|Republican Clinical Medical Rehabilitation Hospital in the village of Aksakauschina |
Photo: official website
Now it is home to the state Republican Clinical Medical Rehabilitation Hospital. Maria's love for this forest-covered corner has only grown stronger over the years, and you can hear it in her every word. Her children and grandchildren also live here, and they also love their native place. However, the village no longer resembles the “forest fairy-tale” the entrepreneur fell in love with all those years ago. The idea to open a rural development centre in the village aims to tackle this problem. This will require a common effort and solidarity of the local residents. The team of “Vozmozhno Vse” centre plans to focus its work to achieve this.
Uniting by communicating
Maria describes with enthusiasm: "The Rural Development Centre will become the place where villagers of all ages can get informal education. Some educational activities will be organized on a free-of-charge basis, for example, education on health protection. As a psychologist with 20 years of experience, I fully realize the dangers that arise because serious diseases like myocardial or cerebral infarctions are getting younger. The youngest case of myocardial infarction in my practice was a young man of 16 years, and with cerebral infarction – a girl of 21 years of age”.
|Maria Daschinskaya (in the centre) and other Biz4all programme participants at the "Crowdfunding for social start-ups” training, 23.04.2017, Minsk|
Photo: Alyona Lis
Surveys organized within the framework of the Biz4all training programme demonstrated that computer literacy courses for adults and the elderly are in demand. Local residents are interested in everything related to development of children and teenagers, helpful services for young mothers and families, such as a weekend and evening play room.
The next stage is searching for premises and financing
Now the “Vozmozhno Vse” centre needs premises to organize its activities. At the momeng, there is no possibility to rent them in this picturesque territory. There are some options to purchase some space in need of renovation. That is why the team are looking into every possibility to raise the initial capital.
|Mariya Daschinskaya at a Biz4all training “Legal Aspects of Entrepreneurial Activities”, 22.04.2017, Minsk |
Photo: Vitaly Brazousky
It is planned to organize a crowdfunding campaign but not until later, as it requires serious preparation. They already have a plan of action thanks to the knowledge received during Biz4all trainings. "I don't just want to launch a campaign, I actually want to raise the money we need, to engage wealthy companies and international charity funds”, notes Maria. “We picked ulej.by for our future crowdfunding as it provides opportunities to interact with companies as well as individuals. So far we’ve taken part in several calls for project applications and are now waiting for their response. To begin with, over the next 2 months I’m planning to start an individual enterprise to provide educational and consultation services in my own home”, Maria describes her immediate plans. “It may not be a lot but it is still support”.
Text by: Valerya Nikalaychyk
|The goal of the programme is to develop a package of social entrepreneurship training programmes in Russian using innovative international practices, as well as the experience of Belarusian diaspora representatives who have become successful entrepreneurs in European Union countries and the USA.|
The publication was prepared within the framework of the "Social Entrepreneurship Incubator", implemented by ODB Brussels in partnership with TNU Network University (Netherlands), Belarusian Youth Public Union "New Faces" and International Civil Association "Union of Belarusian of the world “Motherland", with the fiancial support from the European Union.