Centre for Active Ageing in Minsk: Love Yourself at Any Age

Centre for Active Ageing (CAA) has operated in Minsk for more than a year now. It was set up by graduates of the first Biz4all social entrepreneurship school who have experience both in business and the social sphere. In early spring, the Centre has changed location, and the selection of courses and master classes has been expanded. Yelena Dziamidava, director of the Centre, has spoken to ODB Brussels about their top course which is really popular — Modelling”.

Biz4all "Social Entrepreneurship Incubator” programme is organized by ODB Brussels (Belgium) in partnership with TNU Network University (Netherlands) with financial support from the European Union.

The Centre for Active Ageing opened thanks to the well-coordinated work of Dmitry Klimkovich, director of “Tsenny Kapital” (Valuable Capital) social enterprise, and Yelena Morigerovskaya, head and the ideological mastermind of ABC Care, a school of professional care after the seriously ill, and Yelena Dziamidava, who is now the director of the Centre for Active Ageing. Yelena Dziamidava said that she had the idea for the centre after taking part in the three-week Community Connections programme, where I visited Mather’s—More Than a Café in Chicago, and began to assemble a team right away.

Yelena Dziamidava, director of the Centre for Active Ageing (second from the left) Dmitry Klimkovich, director of “Tsenny Kapital” social enterprise, and Anzhelika Klimkovich, investor of “Tsenny Kapital”


New fashionable profession: 55+ model

The first course graduates received their certificates fairly recently. Yelena says that the group was formed very quickly. “This is a very popular trend abroad at the moment, as the population in Europe and other countries is aging very quickly. The catwalk is opening up to women of 50+ years of age, as their numbers are growing. Designers construct and produce clothes for them, so the demand for models over fifty for the catwalk and photos is also growing. Belarus is not an exception. We do not have any specialized agencies, but we already have women who want to try their hand at it. Also, I personally know Olga Semashko, a professional model, so we have been able to establish a good partnership with the production centre where Olga currently works. This production centre plans to promote models over fifty-five in the Belarusian fashion market”.

Source: facebook.com/mediamodelsschool/

The main classes include the art of defile and photo posing, make-up and working with a psychologist. This course is one of the most expensive among those offered in the Centre of Active Ageing. Surprisingly, however, a group was formed in three days. Every participant had their own goal to attend the course. However, Yelena underscores that some of them have serious and far-reaching plans to become a 50+ model and continue working in this direction. One of the goals of the centre is to extend economic longevity. Modelingis the case when all the goals have converged.

Olga Semashko has her own blog on defile and modelling. Olga is a professional model, and she develops the Real Age project. That is professional modelling for people older then 60+. Olga says that Belarus has never had anything like that. “We brought a number of models with disabilities and plus-sized models into the Belarusian fashion world. They have built their own brand and become very popular. We have decided to take a risk and try it out. It worked out in the end. We were the first to do so, doing a revolutionary thing and breaking stereotypes. The goal of the project is to discover successful, active and talented professional models of ageless category in Belarus”.


Replace blue eye shadow with peach and salmon ones

Irina Grebenchuk, a make-up artist, organizes make-up classes within the framework of her Modelingcourse. The Centre for Active Ageing  invited me to take part in this project, and I gladly accepted. It was a new experience for me to work with women aged 50+. It was interesting to test myself, look at make-up the way they see it and see their perspective. It is one thing to train young girls who are ready for everything, who do not know yet what is right, and another thing is to train someone who has been doing make-up their whole life. It is interesting to watch them accept or reject it. I think that women can look good at any age, and if a woman looks good, she will feel good — if she likes her reflection in the mirror. You need minimum effort to do this — you just need to know how. It is enough to take 15-20 minutes in the morning, to set the mood for the day. I especially think that this is not a very widespread thing to do when women retire, because they do not really understand how to do this. It is great that there is an opportunity to go somewhere to learn and try something new”.

Source: instagram.com/olgasevruk/


During the course Irina conducted two classes — the first one was a demo one. The goal of the course was to teach the models to do their own makeup for the photo shoots. The first class included a demonstration, analysis of photo make-up theory, how it is different from day makeup, which goals and issues it solves and how to do this. Theory was followed by a practical demonstration with a model, and the second class offered the participants a chance to try applying the makeup themselves.

Irina remembers: It was clear that women were really interested. I received feedback, which was really important for me as well. We have already agreed with the administration of the centre to include these lessons in the programme. I would advise women over fifty to keep track of age-related changes in the skin and try to avoid using eyeliner, especially on the lower eyelid. With age, the eyelid sometimes gets a bit twisted, which stands out even more with black eyeliner. Choose the calm, natural eye shadow palette of refreshing shades - salmon, peach, pink and peach, and avoid earthy shades, like brown-gray and blue. Care for your face and for yourself, regardless of age. Love yourself”


Together in the new space

The first place where the Centre for Active Ageing was located was in Myasnikova street in Minsk. It consisted of several separate rooms, each of which was dedicated to its own purpose and could be used to organize various classes. The Centre for Active Ageing had to leave that place due to rent problems and re-opened several months later at 17 Masherov avenue. Yelena says that they now have one big hall, which they are trying to make as cosy and comfortable as possible. The CAA team invites Belarusian partner organizations and social enterprises to cooperate with them. “We have to admit that it is not convenient for some of our visitors to reach us, but we are doing our best to make it as good as possible. The move has had a really big impact on us and made us reconsider a lot of things, but we are not discouraged and are still making plans to grow, develop and look for new areas to develop in”.


CAA in Masherov avenue in Minsk

CAA in Masherov avenue in Minsk

Today, in addition to working with retirees (as earlier), the Centre actively works with people of pre-retirement age. To make sure this work is effective, strong partnerships are formed. For example, the CAA organizes yoga, zumba and other fitness classes three times a week in “Galanteya”, a handbag-making company. Yelena thinks that it is a perfect example of how an enterprise takes care of their staff.

Of course, the permanent groups and in-demand master classes are still a priority for the Centre for Active Ageing in Minsk. You can also buy for your parents and grandparents certificates for classes, for example, for English classes, computer literacy classes, various fitness classes and psychological trainings. You can access the full list of offers on the website of the centre or on their social media pages. 

Text by: Valeriya Nikalaichyk

Photo by: public online sources, as well as from Media Models School

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 material 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 support from the European Union.