Orthodox Christian social workshops in Belarus receives Prestigious Presidential Award

Belorussian Orthodox Church – Moscow Patriarchate – January 2015
Translated for OCP Media Network by Nadezhda

Every year the President of Belarus honors with his award “For spiritual renovation” different people and organizations for their distinguished works of literature or art and/or for the active work promoting preservation and augmentation of the national cultural heritage, patriotic education, consolidation of the spiritual values and ethic traditions, ideas of humanity, philanthropy and hospitality. This year one of the awards was given to the staff of the social training and production workshops of the Joy of All Who Sorrow church in Minsk. In particular, the awards were given to the superior of the church Father Igor Korostylev and to the assistant professor of the Belarusian State Pedagogical University Marina Kravtsova “for the creating of the training and production workshops at the above mentioned parish for the integration of persons with serious diseases”.

The parish was nominated for the award by the district executive committee, after that the nomination was supported by the Minsk mayor. The award “For spiritual renovation” was launched in 1997 and since that each year the President bestows five awards of such a title.

The social workshops were created at the Joy of All Who Sorrow church in 1997 as opposed to the practice of placing disabled people to the special custodial institutions. These social workshops for the people with serious psychophysical diseases became the first institutions of their kind in Belarus. The building where they are located since 2000 was built with the help of the UNESCO Committee “Education for Children in Need” and thanks to the money collected during the Christmas charity telethon “Children in Need – We Help”, which was shown all over the world by the German channel RTL II at the end of November 1996. The telethon was commenced by the UNESCO Committee “Education for Children in Need” and by the German Commission for UNESCO.

Nowadays the workshops offer jobs for more than 100 people who can work in a sewing, publications and printing, candle-making, woodworking and locksmiths training and production departments, also at the library, at the kitchen unit and at the belfry. The staff of the workshops consists mostly of the people suffering from the intellectual incapacity or epilepsy, who are working in the company of the work instructors. The main aim of the project is to create the possibilities for the spiritual renovation, rehabilitation and social re-integrating of the adults with the particularities in their psychophysical development.