A local initiative “Accessible profession for the youth from the countryside” has started being implemented in Volozhin within the framework of the project “Art for inclusion of people with disabilities (extension: improved social services for people with disabilities” since September 2017. The project is being implemented with the support of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
More than 80 young people with disabilities live in Volozhin and Volozhin district. More than half of them spend all their time at home – they neither study nor work. There are certain difficulties in the district with employment of people with disabilities. In accordance with the Individual Programme of Rehabilitation of Disabled Persons, many people with intellectual disabilities have professional recommendations to work as vegetable growers.
As Volozhin district is an agricultural district and there are only few vacancies in this field, youngsters were suggested to master a new kind of activity within the framework of the initiative – pleurotus cultivation. It is not very difficult to grow these mushrooms and they will be in demand among the population.
There is a hothouse in the territory of the Territorial Centre of Social Services to Population where youngsters will be taught new skills. In the future it is planned to create specialized working places for persons with disabilities in Volozhin district with the support of the local administration.
The participants of the project (the youngsters) used their theoretical knowledge in practice.
Young men and women helped to prepare the ground for the hothouse under the leadership of masters, reduced straw to fragments and steamed it for mycelium, placed mycelium for mushrooms. They were doing it with great pleasure.
A round table “Increasing opportunities of labour employment for persons with disabilities living in Volozhin district” was carried out on October 31, 2017. Representatives of the Department for labour, employment and social protection of Volozhin regional executive committee and the Territorial Centre of Social Services to Population, specialists from the local initiative, people with disabilities who are taught a new profession, employees of the coordinating bureau of the project and mass media participated in the round table.
The goals of the initiative and activities planned and already carried out were discussed at the round table:
• Organization of theoretical and practical lessons for a group of youngsters;
• Working out of a business plan and a marketing strategy;
• Carrying out of a master class on how to cultivate mushrooms;
• Development and publication of an informational booklet about the project
• Carrying out of an educational seminar.
The employees of the initiative and the youngsters shared their impressions about education with the participants of the round table. They told about the results achieved.
There was a discussion with the representatives of the local authority about prospects for further labour employment of young people with disabilities in Volozhin and Volozhin district – establishment of a unitary enterprise on the basis of Volozhin primary member organization of NGO “BelAPDIiMI”, employment of the participants of the initiative in the free labour market.