The agricultural workshop of the Blagoye delo is a place where a person interacts with Mother nature. In winter, the workers take care of plants and seedlings, in summer they do gardening and in autumn they enjoy the harvest. One may ask: “You have already many workshops, why do you need an orchard? Isn’t it an extra work?” Here is the answer.
The orchard as a place of rehabilitation
People with the most severe cases of mental disability work in the agricultural workshop. But the important thing is that they have chosen this job themselves. Zhenya Voloskov changes into a special blue robe in a businesslike manner and goes with a rake to clean up the mown grass. “He likes to do everything, no matter what kind of work you give him: he cuts strings for tomatoes, gathers the grass. Sometimes you don’t even need to ask,” says Elena Romanova, the head of the workshop.
Nikita Sharshapin and Vanya Kalinin are always eager to help – they mow grass, prune trees, dig up garden beds and more. And Vanya Tyumentsev can already weed out strawberry beds and water plants in the whole Blagoye delo building all by himself. When the work of the agricultural workshop gets tough, the whole team of the organization helps: managers and supervisors.
It is a rehabilitation indeed, when you work with the earth, with plants. It is also an opportunity not to sit in an enclosed space, but work in the fresh air, master a new activity, and then literally enjoy the fruits of your work.
“The guys are happy that they care about something alive. For example, Vanya and Andrey helped to plant potatoes, and they always go and watch how it grows. They are very pleased by the results of their work, because everyone will eat what they seeded.”
Elena, the Orchard’s fairy
This is how they call Elena Romanova, the social worker and the head of the agricultural workshop. “If she plants a stick, it will bloom no matter what. She truly has a green thumb.” In summer, Elena prunes, weeds, transplants something all day long. She manages to take care of a large territory of the orchard and the yard near the workshop and, of course, she communicates with the guys, she watches if the work goes on, and she controls so the sprouts of dill or potatoes don’t end up in a cesspool with the weed.
“I come from a family of peasants. I feel very close to the nature, thanks to the upbringing of my grandmother. She survived the War and the German occupation. She used to say: “The earth must be loved, it will not let you die of hunger. The earth will feed; the first man came from the earth.”
Everyone needs beauty
Gardening could have a therapeutical effect to a person with a disability. It is worth to mention the responsibility that anyone takes when starting to care of something alive. Elena is convinced that a person and a plant are one life, since both of them are born fragile, need care, then they begin to feel themselves and their bodies and enter the big wide world.
“Why do we need flower beds? They are beautiful. When you look at something beautiful, your mind rests. We do everything for the guys. If the bushes become yellow, if all branches stick out in different directions randomly, no one will admire that kind of dying plant”.
All our summer guests admire the beauty of our garden. Recently we improved the road from the workshops building to the Inclusive Culture Center. We have provided not only a convenient exit, but also an aesthetic lawn. Now it is not only convenient to walk, but it is also very beautiful.
Written by Ekaterina Yurkova
Translated by Tatiana Naumenkova