Sustaining the natural world as the vital livelihood of future generations.

   

Ceremonial Foundation Stone Laid in the Juchowo Village Project: Workshop for Persons with Disabilities "Crowns our Previous Efforts"

Visitors who meet one of the individuals who have been working at Juchowo for some time immediately witness the wholesome effects of this environment. Take Szymon, for example, who works in the herb garden and buys juices and syrup from the farm as gifts for family and friends. When asked why he spends his modest salary on presents for others, he points to a sentence printed on the label of the bottles: it emphasizes "respect for people, animals, and nature." He can identify with this sentence, and it makes him proud to be able to carry out meaningful work on the farm.

Szymon is one of the many individuals who work at the Juchowo Village Project in a social-therapeutic working environment. In cooperation with six institutions in the area, people with disabilities are given the opportunity to pursue a fulfilling activity here. "We have been supporting this project to offer meaningful employment opportunities to people with disabilities since 2006," emphasized Urszula Sroka, board member of the Stanisław Karłowski Foundation and Head of Social Therapy, speaking at the festive groundbreaking ceremony for the new disabled workshop being built on the grounds of the farm. The workshop marks an important milestone in the history of the village project. Starting at the end of 2018, 50 people with disabilities as well as 16 employees in management, care, and administration will work together to produce healthy products for the region. The core of the project, however, is the individual and personal development of the individuals employed there, with good living and working conditions ensured.

With the foundation stone of the disabled workshop now in place, this vision is becoming a reality. "In the beginning, the entire village project was a dream," recalls Achim Grenz, Member of the Board of the Software AG Foundation. Thanks to the untiring efforts of friends in Poland, the village project and now the workshop for people with disabilities will become a reality. "Some do, and some help," said Grenz, describing the role of the foundation.

In terms of the project's development, financing was a particular challenge. Of a total of 9 million Złoty needed for the project, 6 million was provided by a regional program of the West Pomeranian Voivodeship, and around 3 million by the Software AG Foundation. "We would like to thank our German friends for having made this important milestone possible! This success is proof that patience, as well as stubborn commitment, can ultimately make dreams come true," emphasized Tomasz Sobieraj, Vice Marshall of the Westpomeranian Voivodeship, in his celebratory speech. The politician is confident that the workshop will be one of the best institutions in Poland. "I am delighted that the Juchowo Village Project is developing so well, and that we as authorities can be part of this development. The workshop "crowns our previous efforts," said Sobieraj. The other guests of honor and celebratory speakers agreed with this conclusion. President of the Advisory Board Krzysztof Lis, for example, emphasized the important role of the institution in supporting the local social economy.  The creation of 50 new jobs for people with disabilities will create space in other institutions, which is also a positive result of the project. "We're proud that this facility will be in our community," said Lis. This will be the first project of its kind in the wider area - a fact that underlines both the local and broader importance of this workshop for people with disabilities.

"The congratulations and comments from representatives from politics and civil society, in particular, demonstrate that this workshop for people with disabilities could become a real impetus for the region", said Wilfried Schneider, who advised the social therapy project from the beginning in his role as project manager for the Software AG Foundation. According to Schneider, the guiding principle for the development and planning of the workshop is becoming reality:  the new facility is designed to meet the needs of the people there.

Urszula Sroka noted that this is thanks to the fact that the project didn't develop on someone's desk: "We included all the parties - employees, partners, supporters, policy makers and the people with disabilities themselves." In addition, they included insights gained from excursions to similar projects in Germany, Austria, and the Netherlands. The goal was to develop a facility that would be in harmony with the village project as a whole, as well as with the wider environment.

In this spirit, wishes for the building were written and printed on the founding certificate, then laid in the foundation together with the founding stone: "May this building become a place where people with and without disabilities engage happily in meaningful work for themselves and others. May clear thoughts, warm hearts and good will be at work in this house and, united with them, may a good spirit rule over this place. "

You can read more about the Juchowo Village Project, which the Software AG Foundation co-initiated, supports, and advises, here.