Belarus: ‘School Garden’ unites generations for regional development, with EU support

Photo: European Union
Photo: European Union

On 15 February, schoolchildren of the Svietlahorsk District, their parents and teachers gathered at Dubrovsk school for the Rushnik festival, in an event organised as part of the EU4Youth Programme.

Rushnik is a ritual cloth embroidered with symbols and cryptograms of the ancient world that is used in sacred Eastern Slavic rituals, and the event was dedicated to the subject of preserving and using local cultural heritage.

An exposition of Rushniks, tablecloths, bedspreads and other items decorated with embroidery was displayed in the school lobby especially for the festival. The programme included presentations on the subject of symbolism, traditions and beliefs related to rushniks, quizzes, and most importantly, master classes: schoolchildren learned to make panel pictures and mastered complex stencil techniques.

Representatives of the project team Natalia Svyatkina and project expert Anna Vygonnaya also attended the festival. "In the modern world the attitude to craft is changing," said Anna Vygonnaya.  "It is not so much the acquisition of craft products that become valuable as participation in their manufacture.” Natalya Svyatkina noted: "Here we will test the system of transferring knowledge and skills from generation to generation, building a chain of 'expert - teacher - student' in practice. The festival's example shows that the system is quite viable and the direction laid down in the project must be continued."

The activity is part of the EU4Youth: ‘School Garden’ for Agricultural Entrepreneurship project, which aims to foster the employability and active participation of young people residing in disadvantaged rural areas of Belarus, Ukraine and Moldova in society and the economy by developing modern labour, leadership and entrepreneurial skills, and promoting new professional opportunities among them.

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EU4Youth: ‘School Garden’ for Agricultural Entrepreneurship