Garden as a Therapy
“Here we have tomatoes and peppers which are then taken to our kitchen or are eaten directly,” says Zuzana Tejmlová, showing the harvest. This lady is in charge of activation and social-therapeutic activities of clients in the Osek Home for People with Health Disabilities. “Then there we have sea-lavender and other herbs that girls take for therapies or they are used to make products like lavender bags. Sea-lavender is needed for wreaths and generally for decoration,” continues Zuzana Tejmlová with a list of activities, which have one thing in common - they are all performed by clients with intellectual disabilities as part of their therapy. The Osek Home is involved in the Operational Programme Employment project focused on a development of social agriculture.
The concept of social agriculture expands the possibilities of employing people with disabilities as different things help different people. In the course of agricultural activities, the clients express themselves in the fresh air, take care of plants and help with other agricultural work in the garden. The concept itself has its own specifics, and in order to be truly beneficial, it also has its rules. The project is implemented by the non-profit organization Centrum pro komunitní práci (Centre for Community Work - CpKP) - South Bohemia. “As part of our project, there will be intensive yearlong cooperation with 5 social service providers, with whom we want to improve or create conditions for the implementation of social agriculture on site, tailored to a specific provider,” explains Tomáš Chovanec, project manager from CpKP - South Bohemia. In the case of cooperation with the Osek Home, they focus on methodological support and implementation of social work in agricultural and non-productive activities, i.e. processing of ornamental flowers, herbs or crops or dry arrangements.
The Osek Home provides social services for up to 130 clients. It has 10 departments divided according to the level of support clients require. The facility provides several therapeutic and activation services such as carpentry, handicrafts, painting, pottery, pool exercising and in addition it also has a garden. “Previously Osek was known for agriculture and herbalism, and we want to continue this tradition and use the land we have here,” says the director Jan Hájek, explaining the potential of the organization. “Clients working in the garden are proud to see that their crops are grown efficiently. With the help of the project we wish to find out what possibilities are available and how to further use the space we have. We are looking for new ways that would be of even greater benefit to our clients. Also, if we take them back to their childhood days of growing plants, the memories may help them sharpen their minds” the director says hopefully about the project.
The degree and intensity of involvement in agriculture is individual and depends on the specific client as to what activities he/she will choose in the garden. It could be entirely routine work activities such as weeding or caring for plants, up to individual tasks such as composting or caring for livestock. Viktor, who has been a client of Osek Home since the age of 15, is one of the enthusiastic gardeners there. Viktor knows a lot about the garden and gives us a list of the quantity of fruit and vegetables he has already grown. He keeps expanding his horizons and he really enjoys it. “I grow dahlias; I put them in the chapel and bring them to carers. I also had herbs, so I dried them,” says Viktor, describing his favourite activities. Everyone agrees that Viktor lives for the garden and the project helps him.
|Operational Programme||Operational Programme Employment|
Development of Social Agriculture in the Czech Republic II
Centrum pro komunitní práci jižní Čechy
1. 7. 2018 - 30. 5. 2020
2 414 243,75 CZK