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The “Quadrate” Youth Center hosted a working meeting on joint policy making of Vinnytsia social entrepreneurship development, during which the results of the project “Creating inclusive conditions for young people with severe disability based on the Social Workshops’ greenhouse business” were summed up. The project is implemented by the NGO “Association for Protection of Rights and Assistance to People with Disabilities “Open Hearts” with the funds provided by PLEDDG SME Support Fund.

Anna Priadkina, Director of the Association’s Social Workshops, reported on the project’s progress and told the attendees about the greenhouse complex with an arched greenhouse, automatic drip watering, heating, lighting, and ventilation, and tiered facilities for all-inclusive plant cultivation, which had been equipped in the framework of the “Open Hearts” project. The representatives of the Association together with consultants trained 16 young people with disabilities for the employment at greenhouses, ability to work in a team, improved the knowledge of the occupational safety of a greenhouse activity, taught them to grow microgreens, herbs, flavoring herbs, planters, ornamental bushes and trees. Also, 10 support group persons completed the training course, including family members (predominantly mothers), for being able to assist the young people with disabilities during their worki in greenhouses. Now, there are 8 all-inclusive workplaces in the greenhouse for young people with disabilities to be employed there. The construction of the social shop “A Store of Achievements” is being finalized, where the products, grown in the greenhouses and made in the workshops of creative products and souvenirs, will be sold. To ensure sustainability and share the innovative greenhouse practice, the organization has already delivered seminars, prepared 3 video lessons on building skills of working in greenhouses, a booklet and a checklist brochure providing guidelines on how to equip a greenhouse workplace for a disabled person. The “Open Hearts” is going to extend the experience of setting up a greenhouse business by the families with disabled children in 8 districts of the oblast. As part of the new project implementation, the parents and disabled young people will receive onsite seminars and masterclasses on workplace creation. A management team will be engaged for training them, with sharing video-lessons and content developed with PLEDDG support.

Svitlana Demko, Project Coordinator and Head of the “Open Hearts” Board, noted: “the experience shows that the activity of Social Workshops ensures favourable conditions for integration of people with disabilities into society by providing job opportunities for the people with disabilities who cannot have a real opportunity to get a job at an open labour market. Workshops serve as prevention measures against “re-exclusion” of the people with disabilities from the social life. This helps to de-stress the families taking care of the people with disabilities. This also builds trust to power among the people with disabilities. Our project has created a precedent of organizing a job opportunity for the people with severe disabilities within the community. The greenhouse business has become a platform promoting our experience in other oblasts of Ukraine. The people with disabilities have become able to see their development prospects. The families of the people with disabilities have been offered a family business model. The implementation of the project has enabled the people with disabilities to receive the accessible professional skills and to work comfortably at the equipped complex workplaces as well as to increase their financial and economic capacity, self-esteem, and become self-fulfilled. Owing to the project, the local community has received such a much-needed uniform model of a complex workplace for the people with disabilities. The introduction of the support services and assistance to the people with disabilities significantly boosts the further development of social entrepreneurship. And we already have new ideas on social business development. Currently, we are seeking funds for implementing them”.

Both the participants themselves and their families noted how important such a project was, because it gave the people with disabilities an opportunity to be involved in joint labour activity and feel fully integrated to the community.

The event was organized by the “Association for Protection of Rights and Assistance to People with Disabilities “Open Hearts” NGO jointly with the Department of Social and Youth Policy of Vinnytsia RSA and Utility Company “Vinnytsia Regional Center for Social and Psychological Rehabilitation of Functionally Impaired Children and Young People “Obrii”.


The material is prepared by Oksana Bondar, PLEDDG Regional Coordinator in Vinnytsia oblast