Getting Things Underway in Belarus!

Our delegation has been arriving over the past two days with the last group arriving tomorrow night. We have a smaller delegation this year and a slightly shorter timeline so we are off and running on day 1. Dave Shaw was in Belarus at the end of March to meet the containers, get them unloaded and organized in our bonded warehouse in the School #1 gym.

One of the containers being unloaded

One of our projects this year is bringing running water to 6 families. It is hard for us to imagine living without running water, especially with a large family or young children. But bringing in water involves more than just a well and a pump. A sink,

taps and a cupboard are needed to deliver the water. One of our old friends, Vitalli Nicholyevich, who used to be the director of the Chausy Orphanage, is now the director of a reform school for boys who have found themselves in trouble with the law. It is amazing to see the work he is doing with these boys, his passion is amazing. The school has extensive trade shops where they teach the boys practical skills that they can use when they are released from the system as well as regular classroom time so they can complete their high-school. They have a woodworking shop as well as teaching tiling and masonry. You can read more on this in my post from last year here:

Instead of purchasing our cupboards through a store we asked Vitalli to have them built in his shop. This not only provides an excellent project for the boys but it helps to bring in some revenue that they can use to enhance their programs and equipment. The quality of the cabinet build is fantastic, much better than what we could buy in a local store.

Some of the boys carrying one of the kitchen units out to our van

Vitalli was very excited to show us around and see some of the many changes and improvements he has made. They now have several products that they are producing and selling. The furniture in the picture is specifically designed for use at the government funded daycare facilities that all children attend from 3 – 6 years old.

Vitalli showing us how strong their little daycare chairs are

Here is some more daycare furniture including a shelf and locker unit and the 3 tier beds that the children use for their naps.

Here is the bed rolled away to take less space, pretty ingenious.

We also visited the workshop where they build using solid pine. Here you see that they start with rough milled lumber and have all of the equipment to go from this to the finished product.

Here the pine has been planed and cut, ready to fit together.

Here is a finished solid pine bed. These are extremely solid and really well made. We are hoping to raise enough funds at this summer’s gala and auction to replace all of the beds at the Chausy Orphanage.

The next week is going to be jam packed as we try to get everything completed so please follow along. If you see an initiative that you wish to help out with, donations can always be made at:

Together we are making a difference!

Eric McKenzie

2 thoughts on “Getting Things Underway in Belarus!

  1. Margie McKenzie

    What a great initiative for the boys to undertake and see the quality of the work they can produce! Wow~

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