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The year in review

“It would be nice to have financial stability and culture all at once”

The year 2023, as any other year, was not an easy one, but still exciting and fruitful. We’ve celebrated the 18th anniversary of the “Blagoye delo”. We’ve arranged the wedding of Zhenya Koleda and Dima Batanin, we held many major events, shared our expertise and, certainly, we were very happy. On the occasion of the last day of the year of 2023, Vera Simakova, the CEO and one of the founders of the “Blagoe Delo” NGO, tells about what we’ve achieved this year and what we want to achieve the upcoming year.

Workshops

We have not closed a single workshop in 2023. Moreover, every year the work of the inclusive workshops of the “Blagoye delo” moves to a new stage. And the year of 2023 was no exception. In 2022 we’ve started selling our production on Ozon. It enabled us to find a new source of orders. Now we continue to explore it and we enter new offline trade platforms, attend craft festivals and take corporate orders.

“We have reached a whole new level in our workshops. We are making holidays special sets, we’ve improved the accounting of turnover, and we held special meetings with the heads of workshops regularly. In the “Bagoye delo” workshops we are not just creating “homemade articles”, but rendering services. Just like a real production.”

Vera Simakova, the CEO of the “Blagoe Delo” NGO

Our supervisors are constantly supporting the masters by helping them to boost their skills enabling people with mental disabilities not only to be in labor rehabilitation, but also to get paid for the work done. We also provide work for adults with disabilities in quota-based workplaces.

The team of the “Blagoye delo” helped to open and continues to support inclusive workshops at the Talitsky “Academia peremen” (Academy of Changes) and the Nizhny Tagil recreation center for the elderly and disabled people. Together, they’ve fulfilled a large order for the “Uiutnye veshchi” (“The Cozy things) project, where they’ve made some items to support refugees from Ukraine.

We still carry on the vocational counseling for children and teenagers with disabilities. We conduct workshops for them, our theater studio holds special classes, and psychologists and counselors make a chart of recommendations for each of them.

Supported living

We were anxiously waiting for the finalization of the reconstruction of the Aristov Estate, where seven adults with mental disabilities will be able to live in their own rooms. At the moment, the estate is at the final stage — we need to repair the roof and build an special entrance of the building for people with limited mobility, so they’ll be able to reach the second floor.

Now 14 people are participating in the supported living project. Some of them are on the 24/7 support, while the others need several hours a day only. Five project participants live in their own apartments, they get minimal assistance, since they are now completely independent people who need just some advices and kind words rather than help.

We share our expertise with the other organizations. This year we received guests from Samara, Magnitogorsk, Nizhny Tagil, Yekaterinburg and other Russian cities. And we studied a lot ourselves. For example, we’ve attended the 5th Russian Congress of People with Disabilities in Kazan.

Crafts

The masters of the “Blagoye delo” paint, dance, play musical instruments, and stage plays. Our Center of Inclusive Culture continues to work. Several times a month we invite artists and musicians to perform, and we held exhibitions. Concerts and exhibitions are attended by residents of Verkh-Neyvinsky settlement and Novouralsk. They broaden their horizons and enjoy works of art together with the masters of the “Blagoye delo”. It ыгыефшты the idea of the inclusion itself that should be based on the interaction and joint leisure of healthy people and people with disabilities.

In summer, the “Blagoye delo” was held the Second inclusive theater laboratory, where adults with mental disabilities immersed themselves in the atmosphere of “Don Quijote”. They acquired names of knights, and performed feats in the name of love and friendship.

“The theme of chivalry as saving each other, pure and noble thoughts, heroic deeds for the sake of great ideas, went through the entire year. We staged a play about King Arthur, held several thematic festivals and talked a lot about the Middle Ages as a period of personality formation on the way to the Age of Enlightenment.”

Vera Simakova, the CEO of the “Blagoe Delo” NGO

This year, the musicians of the “Blagoye delo” also performed together with Daniel Kramer, the world-famous jazzman, and took part in the “Kind Jazz” festival, organized by our team. Before the New Year, the “Blagoye delo” team also held a large inclusive ball in Novouralsk. It brought together masquerade devotees from several cities of the Sverdlovsk region.

“It takes a lot of effort to find the source of founding now. For example, nobody helps us to sustain the Center of Inclusive Culture, it works on donations and entrance fees, and it’s not much, since we are located in a small village. It is also necessary to ensure the work of supervisors, since few people think about their contribution, but without them everything seize to exist, although most grants do not take into account the work of these people for some reasons. We spend a lot of time looking for sources of finance, as a result, there is little left for the development, so we can only support what already exists. Next year, it would be nice to have financial stability and culture all at once, to make sure that creativity goes hand in hand with everything else. Therefore, we are in search of constant support that would enable us to free up forces for the development of the organization and the formation of a more extensive methodological base.”

Vera Simakova, the CEO of the “Blagoe Delo” NGO