“Seeds for a rosary makes a schizophrenic, a talented carpenter”

They know what it feels like to lose your job, friends and a sense of existence. They believe that each of them has the right to life. They don’t ask for much, only to be helped out of social exclusion, not to turn them into outcasts.

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This spring at St. Elizabeth monastery in Minsk was created by the workshop “Dobrodel” where are people who for various reasons were psychiatric hospitals. After the release they were one-on-one with a new world in which society and employers refuse to take them.

We have full self-government and no claim

With Anna, head of the “Dobrodel”, we meet at the Parking lot where all the employees takes the car and drove to the Studio.

― Thank God, the monastery provided the living room provides meals, helps materials. But for arts and crafts most of the materials needed to be purchased ― on the way to work, begins his story Anna. However, the work of its activities it does not consider. ― In the workshop I rest. The guys have no complaints, only hard work, appreciation and gratitude. We have full self-government. Only once was asked to assign the duty. More don’t think about it. Themselves bring food, wash dishes, clean.

Work in full swing in the morning, Sergei is cut for sewing, Dasha and Vika painted combs and bells. Sasha and Vitaly together make a rosary. Igor develops a gift pack.

― We all desire. Guys do note the days of your visit. Have a stable backbone, which comes in every day. People are more unstable work when I can, said Anna. – I’m always trying to find new areas in which to develop. For example, painted ponies have become our symbol. We have good craft bags. Do beads of alder, impregnated with perfume and linseed oil. The seeds for a rosary makes people with schizophrenia, a talented carpenter, a friend of our monastery. He works from home. Received for his work, the money is mainly spent on children’s boarding school: buys candy to children. Want to buy vakuumirovannoj clay to create Souvenirs. It is a good work for the children. Create beautiful cards, painted wooden combs. The Studio was asked to develop a festive box. Recently donated skin. Looking for a master who would teach us to work with her.

I long to roam the workshop, review and photograph created by the hands of these enthusiasts. Many of them reveal themselves in new ways, learn from scratch, overcome, do not give up and believe that we can return to normal life.

In the monastery constantly drawn a large number of people with mental health problems, their relatives. This can be the initial period of schizophrenia, panic attacks, major depression, psychosis. Different. The need to create a creative workshop for such people is long overdue.

According to Anna, most people with disabilities want, but do not have the ability to work and provide for themselves. Their skills and capabilities are limited, they cannot compete on the labour market.

Employment workshops are only a few psychiatric hospitals of our country, which is very in a small degree to meet the demand. The next step ― labor adaptation taking into account the specifics of the disease and with the ability to earn an income ― is not in principle.

– When the Confessor of the monastery is blessed to take up the opening of the workshop, I met with club house “Open soul”, the public Association of assistance to the mentally ill “Mynode”. Just then the guys came to us.

I saw their burning eyes, the desire to work and to be necessary… the Fate of each of them is such a pain, even to suicide, all because of the inability to find himself.

After treatment the person is often unable to remain in the same workplace, to comply fully with the regime and its functions. What next in life to do, what to do, how to feel? Need flexible approach to the person and, based on its condition, pick up the activity. But not to be excluded from society ― otherwise the condition is compounded immediately. The person is important to the stability, support and confidence that you need someone that can help you.

Vika: works for Several months, but I was cut

Girl Vika paints the bell. Vika is a very friendly and openhearted. She is the foreman on beading (so I had Victoria herself).

― I like to weave beads. Complex crafts can not, but light work. I also like to paint. This bell painted for mom. I also do “babochki” (round beads with hole – approx. ed.) in the ceramic workshop. A few months working in the reading room of the library. L. N. Tolstoy, but I was cut.

It is the shortest story I heard that day. Vika, like many other people with mental illness are faced with the problem of employment. Learning about the diagnosis, the employer quickly finds ways to deny this applicant.

About the circumstances of his illness staff workshop to speak openly, though to remember all the hardships and difficulties faced, it is not easy.

Sergey: We are not bad people, just the disease chose us

Sergey handyman. The clubhouse has studied photography and is now doing fine art photography. Behind him the hospital and a few years of searching for a suitable medication. Finally, five years later, he advised the Hungarian drug without side effects. Sergei became much easier, but the benefits to foreign drugs are not covered. A large part of the pension goes to buy expensive drugs.

― I was an ordinary man. Everything happened so gradually. A few months before demobilization of the drunken soldier put up a fight. In the end, I earned double displaced fracture of my upper cheek bone, almost lost his sight. Now it seems to me that this was the first mental blow.

In sad 90s I lost two close friends, whom were friends since 1st grade. Appeared depression. Spoiled the sleep. But, after hearing about the horrors of mental hospitals, decided for themselves that on their own will never go back.

After the army worked in manufacturing. The condition worsened until one day at work came to blows with the employee. As a result, in 1999, I was sent for compulsory treatment.

Unfortunately, the treatment, drugs used, from which the effects are stronger than the benefits. You flounder, the face becomes waxy, inhibited the reaction. You twisted, there are no forces the arm to rotate in the right direction… Down can’t, can’t move.

After discharge in 2000, I was given a disability group II. From the factory immediately and automatically dismissed. Tried to find a job. Worked as a loader, and on the construction site worked. But drugs condition remained unstable: completely lost sleep, began to have serious physical ailment, I could barely put one foot. After several years of torment I turned to pay the person who finally picked up the drugs.

Today I feel like a normal person, popular, necessary. Here, in the Studio, a completely different atmosphere, friendly. We are not hopeless people, not just the disease chose us.

Igor: Who do you want with its features and exacerbations

Igor has no disability. At the time he graduated from BNTU faculty of transport communications. Worked in large companies an engineer of the capital construction Department. But, according to him, the unstable internal state is not allowed to work continuously on one and the same place, had to move from one job to another.

In the workshop of “Dobrodel” engineering experience Igor came in handy. In AutoCAD it develops schematic drawings of new products. And Igor is very helpful and sweet hobby ― beekeeping. He has his own apiary in the Berezinsky region, 7 houses. To become a beekeeper, he specifically went to the courses, received a certificate.

― Until about 25-26 years I was a regular guy. I had a job, Hobbies, friends, in General, lived a normal life. And then at one point became ill, and off we go…

There was weakness, headaches, strange feeling. The parents sought help from doctors. Picked up meds and sent home.

What people, caught in a trap of his own mind, society does not need, I have to experience for yourself.

This is a huge problem. Almost impossible to find a good job their level. The employer and to hear wants nothing. Who do you want with his exacerbations?

In adaptation and return to normal life, I was helped to “Open house” Belarusian society of the red cross. I went from being a guest to the head of centre. I had certain duties, though small. I felt important to society, in the world.

Now I have a new step ― workshop “Dobrodel”. I crossed the line between rehabilitation and employment. Now I’m at your workplace. Me a little bit hard to say, but I like this way…

Now I feel good. In the workshop like, I’m happy. The salary is small, but it has its own. I can dispose of it as you want. This is a big plus.

Sasha: all you need to work quickly, but for me it’s stress

Sasha is also not a disability, say, “character traits”. For a long time, doctors can not determine the diagnosis, write him one, then the other medication, and then say: “your disease no, go to work”. But to work full time he can’t.

― From childhood I was an introverted kid, a loner. Somewhere in the 4-5-m class has a stutter. Developed a fear of communication. At 17 years old I first turned to the experts about stuttering, talked with psychologists.

After the course of treatment, enrolled in Narkhoz (Belarusian state economic University ― approx. ed) on accounting and auditing. Finished good. Got a job as a accountant. Because of the huge load one day could not stand, shouted. Began differences with the leadership, had to leave.

Since then began my long and painful attempts to find a stable job. Each new change has aggravated the condition. I worked: and accountant and assistant auditor. A month survived on the invoice statement: need fast, without errors, and I worked slowly, the drivers stood and yelled.

Tried to get into the archive. But they told me in clear text sent: “Tell me what’s wrong with you, why go on such a small salary”. Tried to explain that I can’t find a job in the specialty. Still not picked up.

And then I realized something. Began a deep depression. Since 2010, drink antidepressants.

In 2013, got the seller in a large urban supermarket. Other vendors were quicker, faster, and I like NewMake and the dummy. But still tried. Work like. When was the day discounts and a particularly large influx, of course, at the checkout one could not cope. But with buyers, everything was in order, even thanked.

From the boss, so I’ve heard: “You’re slow, bad at remembering,” finally it ends with her words “you fool”, “you are disabled”.

Of course, after these words I left. In other places the aftermath of a major supermarket I do not take, they say, with such “sweet” places do not just quit… Three years standing at the labor exchange, but from everywhere came the failures. Completed courses cooks, but they all had to work quickly, but for me it’s stress.

Twice was lying on spondylitis. The doctors put a neurotic disorder, a disability does not give. And with the “personality disorder” I have, in addition to restrictions on employment, nothing more of it. It turns out that for medical reasons I have just “closed heavy alarming”… And how to live, what to do? The group is not given, no pension, nowhere to settle, compete with other can’t… the Drugs are expensive, the fare to pay…

To the workshop did not work for 4 years. It was hard sit within four walls, without communication. Here, of course, safer. The decor is casual, friendly chat. Having fun, teasing each other.

I had my doubts about “Dobrodel”, because I can’t do anything with my hands, but something I’ve learned. I want to believe that the workshop will be to develop, to be able to work and earn.

Vitaly: the four walls are, and go and work

Vitaly is more than 20 years. He never tells what happened to him, but he says that to sit at home unbearable.

― I just started at work to get tired. And that’s all. Fired. Went on disability. When tired of sitting on the group, began to look for work. But for 20 years can’t find anything. All the time to be at home very hard. We have to work. I have arrived from another city. Minsk don’t know, not guided. One road was studied in a monastery and all.

Workshop means a lot to me. They provide employment, and communication. First, money some you can get. Well the process itself. Already the four walls are, and go and work. And, of course, no less important friendship, mutual understanding, respect. I feel a lot better.

Each of the characters in the story at the end of our conversation, I asked the same question: “what is your dream?” And they all responded the same way.

Like us, they dream not to be alone, to create a family and have a job with good pay. God grant that these simple people’s dreams come true from them as soon as possible…

You can learn more about the workshop on the website of “Undertaking“.

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