The finals of the 6th contest of social innovations named Social Weekend took place at the President Hotel on November 21, 2015 in Minsk. 12 social projects became Social Weekend finalists and received all necessary support. The contest winners will give a start to crisis psychology courses for surgeons-transplantologist, a free creative space (a terrace) in the very heart of Minsk, a special online training course for teachers and parents of children with autism. Furthermore now it will become easier to find a good mate for flat-sharing.

38 semi-finalists out of 200 applicants had been selected and trained for 2 months in project design, internet-marketing of a project and project presentation with the use of various visual tools, and did their best to persuade the Social Weekend-6 organizers that they were capable to implement the proposed ideas. The key selection criteria were as follows: the idea had to be fresh, beneficial, and realistic. Only 15 projects managed to reach the finals. So they became the ones that competed for the 355 mln ruble prize donated by the philanthropists for 11 nominations.

The projects-finalists were of no disappointment to the judges. The Grand Prix and the title of the Winner in the nomination “People’s choice” was awarded to the project “The Angels’ Wings”. There are about 2500 children with multiple disabilities in Minsk who are not able to access the most ordinary kind of physical activity like jogging. Now these “angels” have got the opportunity to take part in marathons due to athletes and jogging lovers who will serve as  the “angels’ wings”. This will not only make the children with disabilities smile but also serve as a powerful means of rehabilitation for them.

The Audience Award and the winner in the nomination “Popular education/Education of the population” is the project “Inclusion Online”. The project team will create a series of online trainings for teachers, tutors and parents on how to treat and interact better with children with autism. This project is another step its authors take in solving the issue of understanding and accepting autism by society. Earlier, due to the project’s team determination, the first inclusive class was opened at one of the Belarusian schools where kids with and without autism study together.

The winner in the nomination “Health and a healthy lifestyle” is the “School of Revival”/”New Birth”– the initiative that aims to create crisis psychology courses for surgeons-transplantologist in Belarus. According to the forecasts of the project authors – doctors and their patients -, already in the upcoming year it will be possible to save up to 80 human lives.

An interactive art-object named “The Nemiga River” is the winner in the nomination “Things beneficial to society”. The project team will be provided with all necessary support not only in procurement of goods/materials, but also in creating a prototype of the art-object.

The most challenging category “Dream it and do it!” has two winners at once. The project named “Art terrace” is going to become a permanent creative space  in the Upper Minsk where anyone can realize creative ideas, learn and socialize. The project “Homer” will help students to find a good mate for flat-sharing.

Among other winners are: a web portal “Say No to Infertility”, a cultural and educational centre in Mstislavl, an internet-portal for senior people, internships for students by “JellyFish”, swings for people in wheel chairs, and also the mobile app called that offers contests and games to check your native language skills and knowledge about history and culture of Belarus.

To sum up the finalists’ opinions, it should be said that the contest not only gave an opportunity to get financial support for realizing the ideas, but also became a place where like-minded people could unite, join their forces, share experiences, knowledge and inspire each other.

For those who are ready to turn their most creative ideas into reality, but do not know where to start, the 7th Social Weekend could become the answer! Open call for applications will starts by the end of January 2016. For further information visit our website. Stay tuned!

Translated by: Alexander Bovshis