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Social Therapy Institution in the Vicinity of a "Closed City" in the Ural Mountains

Russia: In the fall of 2005, the social therapeutic association Blagoe Delo was established and moved into a building in Virkh-Nejvenskij. This town is located in the immediate vicinity of one of the largest nuclear research centres in the world. The city Novouralsk can only be entered with a special permit and is still, even after decades, classified as a “closed city”. It is located about 80 km north of Yekaterinburg, in the middle of the Ural Mountains, already on the Asian side.

At Blagoe Delo a variety of different workshops are offered for adults with various disabilities. Currently, about 70 people are actively participating, including 50 local people with special needs and 20 staff members, some of whom are disabled themselves. Next to their work the people with special needs rehearse excellent plays and perform them in a number of European cities.

The premises were initially in a completely rundown condition and were made usable again in a joint effort ​​by caregivers, parents and people with special needs. The city provides the property free of charge. A beautiful garden with flowers and vegetables is surrounding the building. On the site, there is also an old wooden Russian house featuring a sauna, which is being enlarged at the moment. The funds are exhausted, however, and therefore the initiative is desperately looking for funds to complete construction. For many years, the association has also offered continuous training for caregivers. The aim is to expand the offering and make it available to interested people in the entire region.

Furthermore, Blagoe Delo played a key role in the implementation of the 2nd Russian Congress for People with Disabilities in autumn 2012. During this conference more than 500 participants from all over Russia from Moscow to Vladivostok, came together to meet in Yekaterinburg. The cooperation of many civil society organizations, with the Ministry of Social Affairs and the Petersburg Dialogue as a patron, made this congress in the Ural Mountains possible. The event is expected to improve the living conditions for a target group in Russia, which was until now excluded from all social security system. Shortly before the congress, Russia had ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities. There are many projects for the future, but Blagoe Delo is in need of financial support to implement them and to survive as an institution.

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