Social Entrepreneurship - Real and Effective for the Social Economy in Poland

In August 2022, two Karin Dom representatives: Bistra Boncheva, Administrative Director, and Veneta Mileva, Marketing Manager, had the opportunity to dive into a challenge and be guests of a truly different social enterprise from Poland within a shadowing program for social enterprises from Italy, Greece, Bulgaria and Poland.

The two ladies, directly involved with the social entrepreneurship of Karin Dom and the realization of new ideas in this field, visited the civil society organization ”A Person in Need” (”Człowiek w Potrzebie”) in Warsaw. The organization was established in 2005 by Maria Knapuk Stepanov, who, married to an evangelical preacher who works with families, sees the whole spectrum of people’s issues. The years of experience and empathy helped her make the decision to establish the organization.

The organization develops an astonishing social enterprise called “Different”, and it really is different. “DIFFERENT restaurant in the dark” is a social enterprise with 14 employees, as 7 of them are with visibility issues and are the waiters. Customers enter the restaurant, led by their blind waiter and leader in this challenge in complete darkness. Waiters serve the customers for dinner, as they take them on a journey in a whole different world of new experiences, full of so many flavors and fragrances. This journey is a culinary temptation that a customer can feel with all their senses… except for their sight.

The team of the organization – Michal, Marta, Agatha, and Anna shared their experience and a few secrets for a successful business with a cause – for their work, the team, the challenges, and the refugee movements towards their country. 

There are many impressions after the meetings with the Polish organizations: “Pedagodzy na podwórku” (“The Teachers on the Court“) – teachers who involve the children from a small polish town in summer activities and help them communicate and play, Montessori Mountain School, located in a beautiful region close to Warsaw, where children have the opportunity for distance learning from their homes. “Klubokawiarnia Pożyteczna“ (The Useful Club and Cafe) – a small bistro, created by the parents of children with mental disabilities, who are now part of the team of the organization and have started their journey. Lafontaine Foundation that organizes daily workshops and training for kids – Ukrainian refugees, supports the elderly and the people with special needs.

All of these meetings give us the confidence that in Bulgaria we will be able to achieve this worthy way of life and work for people with special needs. And they can truly overcome numerous and so various challenges! Karin Dom assigned themselves the ambitious task to help this process for a worthy life for people with different opportunities, who carry a great potential and can teach us many things.

We save a special spot for the Invisible Exhibition. The Invisible Exhibition in Warsaw – a very unusual museum and a project that combines culture, education, and social integration. You will experience something absolutely extraordinary in fully dark rooms, accurately depicting the picture, familiar from our everyday lives, led by a blind leader. Prepare yourself for a one-of-a-kind empathy, humbleness, and gratitude lesson. If you are visiting Warsaw, do not miss seeing the truly different and exciting restaurant and exhibition.

The development of the international partnership came to reality thanks to the newest exchange program (Shadowing program) for social enterprises from Italy, Greece, Poland, and Bulgaria, with the Bulgarian Center for Not-for-Profit Law as a coordinator for the country. Within the same program, Karin Dom is going to be a host for a Greek social enterprise.

Karin Dom is a part of the DarPazar community – the online platform that unites the social entrepreneurs in Bulgaria, helping their products reach more and more people. It also supports social enterprises through exchange of ideas, training, and sharing of international experiences. Visit the platform and order products with meaning and a cause!

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