The monastic farmstead at Vishnevka Village, some 15 kilometres outside Minsk, has been providing disadvantaged women with food, shelter and supported employment to help them rebuild their lives. Some 30 women suffering from addictions, homelessness or have criminal records are residing at the farmstead at any given moment. Given the importance of productive and creative work in this journey, giving the residents a variety of choices was always considered an important priority, and in addition to working with animals and tending for the crops, the farmstead is home to bookbinding, sewing, and a range of other workshops to help the resident women progress in building constructive attitudes to life and work and develop their talents.
The farmstead is located in a scenic area of natural beauty. The monastic sisters have kept many traditional recipes of herbal teas, some with curative and medicinal properties. The recently established herbal tea workshop is utilizing this valuable resource while offering some of the women the opportunity to master new technology and build valuable working experience. According to Nun Barbara, who is responsible for running the monastic farmstead, the workshop is a choice mostly for women at more advanced stages in their journey to normalcy, who have spent a year or more at the farmstead.
The herbal workshop opened its doors in November 2019. It is active in newly renovated premises. The herbal tea blends are made according to old monastic recipes. The teas have acquired popularity among customers, and are available in many chain stores.
At present, the workshop relies mostly on menial work, which limits productivity and production capacity. To address this bottleneck, there is a need to acquire a sifting and cutting machine and a drum mixer. The additional benefit will be the opportunity to diversify into the packaging of other grocery products such as grains, cereals and seeds, also produced at the farmstead. In preparation for the expansion, work has already been completed on the renovation of the former military barrack where the production facility will be located.
The project will help the women residents of the farmstead to gain more advanced technical skills to operate the equipment, improve the working conditions, and diversify job choices. Your donation towards this project will be valued and appreciated. Please go to our donation page if you wish to make one, or consider acquiring one or more products of our monastic workshop.
In this interview with Alexander Zhdanovich, the leader of the inclusive theatrical group "Joy", we talk about the life and work of this theatrical team.