Belarus: How an EU project transformed a school in Talačyn into a blossoming garden

25-08-2020

“We never used to see any birds on the school grounds, and now look at all this beauty!” says Tamara Sushkova, head teacher of School No. 2 in Talačyn, as she’s standing in the middle of her green schoolyard.

It all started in 2016, when Tamara’s school received a flower garden and greenhouses for growing vegetables thanks to the project ‘Support to local development in the Republic of Belarus’. The project was funded by the EU and implemented by the United Nations Development Programme.

A school with its own apple production

Student Anna Zburzhinskaya has witnessed the changes that her school has gone through over the past few years: “This area was planned to be a hockey rink. There were no trees.”

Anna says that after the project was launched, everything changed for the better. Now she participates in many school activities. In 2018, she was actively involved in the project ‘A flowerbed with vitamins. Salad vegetable garden’, which received a first-degree national diploma. The aim of the local project was to create an educational ecofarm, where students could learn about agricultural professions. The initiative received a grant of over $17,000 from the project ‘Support to local development in the Republic of Belarus’.

“We bought a mini-tractor, a plough, a hiller, a mower, a trailer, garden wheelbarrows and lots of other equipment for gardening and agricultural work. We created four zones: a garden for vegetables and flowers, an area with decorative compositions, a park and a recreation area. Thirty thujas and 100 dwarf apple trees were also purchased within the framework of the project, and almost all of them took root,” says Tamara proudly.

The project brings students, teachers and parents together

Tamara says the sustainability of the project is achieved through purposeful systematic work. Once a month, the school holds an event called ‘Everyone to the garden’ for students between the 5th and 11th grade.

Tamara is showing us photos on her computer: “Here is the tractor, and here are the works on the arrangement of the garden. These are projects related to the garden. There was a lot of hard work done, but the results are good.”

The head teacher notes that the point is not just to plant trees, but also to bring students, teachers and parents together, and allow children to express their creativity. Every year there is a project related to the vegetable garden at the school. Unfortunately, this year’s project ‘Pharmaceutical garden’, was postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Because of the pandemic, students don’t get to visit the garden, which is now being taken care of by the teachers and the head teacher. Both students and staff are waiting for the COVID-19 situation to improve, so they can all meet again in the flourishing school garden and continue developing it.

Author: Elena Spasyuk

Article published in Russian by Naviny.by.