The Art to Live

A unique social project Ars Vivendi (The Art to Live) has started in Duisburg and in Perm too.

A unique centre of employment for disabled people within the project Ars Vivendi has opened in Perm. The eponymous project has been realized successfully in Duisburg. For now, over 1,200 people are working there. There are fewer people taking part in it in Perm yet but Ars Vivendi is looking at the future with optimism.

On 28 January in Perm a special centre was started ,where disabled people can work and get useful skills. More than one year was spent for searching of a suitable room and its repair. Sergey Zaharov, a member of the local city council is the founder of the project in Perm, while his wife Sarah Zaharova-Guettler, who now lives in Perm Krai, is one of the founders of the same project in Germany.

Carpentry and sewing workshops are provided in the centre. “We offer two variants: somebody wants to work in the carpentry workshop, others – in the sewing one. We started to product festive souvenirs and other things” – says Sarah Zaharova-Guettler.

The Ars Vivendi project is directed at comprehensive development of disabled people – apart from work, it is planned to develop skills which could help in daily life. There are equipped dormitories, a kitchen and a canteen in the centre. “We have opened training rooms for independent accommodation. Alongside with work in a workshop people can learn cooking or housekeeping. Besides, disabled people take experience of social adaptation – life in a team, duties in the dormitories or canteen, cooperative planning of life” – says Sergey Zaharov.

After two workshops a pottery workshop is going to be opened. 

“Realization of this project has a huge value. We make life better for disabled people. This workshop will be not a place for compassion but a place for chances and opportunities” – added Sarah Zaharova-Guettler.

The project is not supported financially by the region authorities now. The founders are planning to make it self-sustaining. First several months volunteers of the centre will teach disabled people necessary skills. It will  make products competitive in comparison with other products.

The goods will be sold in a corporate shop which, as well as in Duisburg, will be opened in the city centre.

According to the founders, Ars Vivendi is a project to maximize opportunities. 

“Our products are sold. It’s fundamentally important that a person will come to a shop and buy a thing not out of feeling pity for those who made that, but because of the thing’s quality” – says Sarah Zaharova-Guettler.

In Duisburg Ars Vivendi has been existing for 10 years. Due to the results of 2016 Duisburg’s workshops came to top-100 best innovation companies of Germany (not among social-oriented only but all the companies of the country).