Work is live

So, the goal of the Project is to help people with disability, people at pre-retirement age, mothers who raise children. Why exactly them?
Because representatives of these social groups have most difficulties finding a job.
Will new work places be created as a result of the project?
Unfortunately not! But probably someone from the project participants will establish a social enterprise since exactly this organization of work will be topical in the training course, experience exchange visits, discussion on Latgale Regional Television, published brochure.
At the opening event, with the help of Lasma Dobele’s (lecturer at Latvia University of Agriculture) presentation, the audience got information about the social enterprise and its concept in the world. In a word, a social enterprise combines both charity and business. It gives opportunity to people who have experienced difficulties and cannot find a job not to ask for help but to earn income themselves.
Such enterprises work successfully in many countries of the world. Here are several examples from all around the world.
In 1991, a real way to help homeless people was found in London. One of the newspapers can be disseminated by homeless people only. They get the first copies free of charge but they buy the rest of their copies themselves. They buy a newspaper for 1.25 pounds but sell it for 2.50 pounds. Each week, about 100 new participants join this campaign.
In Bangladesh, there is a bank which gives loans to poor inhabitants so that they can start their home production or earn money in another way. Banks give loans to poor people unwillingly but it turns out that 98 % of credits are paid back to this bank.
We have got such examples in Latvia, too. For instance, the kiosk of sells knitted goods and other handiwork made by residents of social houses and people with disability. Thus these people get remuneration for their work, but the profit goes to charity.
It turns out that similar activities have also taken place in Ludza. At the end of April 2012, a social enterprise “SinaVita” was founded. It resulted from the previous project of Ludza Society for the Disabled. Within the framework of the previous project, the society purchased 4 knitting machines and trained 45 people. Until now, Rita Buceniece continues working; she fulfils orders and can knit gloves, socks, blazers or dresses for you. This year when Song and Dance Festival took place in Latvia, she had a huge number of orders. In such cases, Rita involves also other knitters in her work. Of course, in this case only one person has found a real job for herself – not many. However, hopefully also other women will use gained knowledge in their lives.
The current project “Work is live” also envisages an experience exchange visit to a social enterprise in Iceland – a country which is a cooperation partner of Ludza Society for the Disabled at the moment.
To how many people will this project help start their business, find possibility to earn money, break loose from their four walls – time will show (the project finishes in May 2015). These questions are not simple, but it is worth at least trying to do something.
90% from the project sum is financing of Non-governmental organizations project programme of European Economic Area and Norway, 10% – co-financing of LudzaMunicipality.
If you are interested in this initiative, it is probably worth getting involved in the work of Ludza Society for the Disabled. Target audience – inhabitants of the four municipalities of the former Ludza district.

Vanda Žulina,

journalist of the regional newspaper “Ludzas Zeme”