Social Enterprise in Belskoye-Ustye


Fresh bread baked at Baranovo during summer 2013 (photo: Milena Boclé)

Over the winter of 2013-14, one of our main tasks in Baranovo is developing tiny enterprises that will help us be just a little bit self-sustainable. As we talk about this aim as a group, it seems key to us that we harness the particular joys and enthusiasms of the people who are present in Baranovo right now – praying that their creativity will be blessed and grow into something which may also provide opportunities for others in the longer term.

One of our young residents is particularly studying bee keeping (under the careful guidance or our neighbour), and we plan to have our first hives set up in early 2014. Honey and other bee products command a reasonable price on the local market, and this tiny enterprise could provide a little income.

This same young man is enthusiastic about learning how to lay stoves, and hopes to learn enough to entirely renovate the heating system in our Baranovo house sometime next year. A graduate of ROOF’s post-orphanage education centre in Moscow, he is a perfectionist and practical learner. What he does, he does beautifully, and he involves Belskoye-Ustye orphanage graduates in his projects at Baranovo.

We also have the idea that we might like to build a bread oven (the same young man could help us with this) and begin to bake and sell fresh bread products. Because of the low cost of mass-produced bread we would have a difficult time competing on the local market, but there might be some scope for artisanal products – especially during the summer months when many residents of St. Petersburg come to their dachas near Porkhov.

Finally, one of our 2013 summer volunteers is particularly interested in the idea of soap-making, making use of local plants and raw materials.

Watch this space for developments. At this point, it is difficult for us to predict exactly which projects are going to “take”.