Educational Club for Women “Miriya”: Listening to Yourself

Educational Club for Women "Miriya”  is one of the projects that went to the grand final of the first Biz4all programme (watch video from the final). Founders of the course are candidates of psychology sciences, practical specialists with a lot of experience and work history — Yelena Aliakhnovich and Tatiana Nedvetskaya. According to the creators, they were always enthusiastic and willing to organize therapy groups but lacked business skills. Who needs these courses, what is taught there and where their social focus is —"Miriya" creators spoke about all this to ODB Brussels.

Biz4all-2 “Social Entrepreneurship Incubator” programme is organized by ODB Brussels (Belgium) in partnership with TNU Network University (Netherlands), with financial support from the European Union.

Every age has its own challenges

More and more people in Belarus realize the importance of asking for psychological help in various life situations. In their club "Miriya”, Yelena and Tatiana organize seminars, trainings, therapy groups, individual consults on personal development, strengthening self-esteem, relations in a couple, sexuality, financial literacy, etc. The courses are fee-based: a two-day 12-hour training costs about 50 BYN (students get a 50% discount). However, representatives of vulnerable groups — mothers with many children, single mothers, mothers suffering from addictions — can take part for free. This is the social focus of the project.


Yelena Aliakhnovich and Tatiana Nedvetskaya, founders of courses for women “"Miriya”, at the Biz4all programme final on 18.11.2017, Minsk Photo: Vitaly Brazousky

Why have they selected women as their target audience? Tatiana and Yelena say that women are particularly sensitive to the emotional side of both professional and personal relations, and they are more responsive to changes in society, which makes them particularly vulnerable.

Yelena Aliakhnovich, candidate of psychological sciences, creator of courses for women "Miriya” Photo: official Facebook page

Depending on the age, girls and women are concerned about different things. For example, girls under 30 are interested in issues related to starting and maintaining relationships. Yelena describes: “In the beginning, there are always a lot of things to be concerned about, and it is important to learn to love and accept yourself with all your good sides and all your drawbacks. Women of 30 to 40 years old come to ask about the work-and-life balance. They often raise questions about the right way to bring up kids. Women after forty face different challenges: how to define themselves after they have raised their kids, build their career but still have the energy and desire to live a full life".

Yelena and Tatiana carefully crafted the content for all seminars, trainings and master classes in “Miriya”: every meeting is different because the coaches always try to take into account the interests of the group.

A business approach to psychological courses

According to the psychologists, taking part in the Biz4all programme allowed them to get a better understanding of their audience. Tatiana says: “One of the home assignments we received was to organize a survey of potential customers. We posted a questionnaire and were surprised to see how many women and girls filled it in. We received valuable information and feedback from the customers, which helped us leave our illusions behind and get in touch with reality”. In the process of preparation, Liliya Plygauka, mentor from Lithuania, provided Yelena and Tatiana with advice and recommendations, helping them to make their dream into a reality. The participants remember all the coaches and experts who took part in the Biz4all programme with a lot of gratitude.

Tatiana Nedvetskaya, candidate of psychological sciences, creator of courses for women “Miriya” Photo: official Facebook page 

Tatiana underscores: “I really loved the last training before the final, when Ihar Kolchanka taught us to pitch. I think that it is useful to organize such trainings within the framework of a course, because knowing how to pitch and present oneself in public is an important skill for everyone, which you can only learn by doing”.

Yelena and Tatiana have a lot of plans to develop "Miriya” and related projects. At the moment, the psychologists have developed a specialized psychological interactive workbook and are getting it ready to publish. It will help the participants strengthen their skills, expand the range of their abilities in terms of personal growth, build their career and personal relations. Also, as an added bonus, every participant will be able to get free consults and support from the coaches for a month.

In "Miriya”, practicing psychologists with many years’ experience are willing to cooperate with other projects who work with women at risk in order to provide them with psychological support and timely assistance. Tatiana and Yelena also plan to expand their seminars to the regions, thus increasing the psychological literacy of women everywhere.
 

Text by: Valeriya Nikalaichyk

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.

ODB Brussels