The Eco School of Life in Wandzin, aims at helping people affected by various types of addictions, mostly alcohol and drug, as well as people infected with HIV/AIDS. The organization gives psychological, social, legal and economic support to people during their therapeutic process through open-air work and community-driven activities. ECO “School of Life” is a social enterprise and generates income that supports its social mission. By combining rehabilitation and environmental activities helps individuals to return to normal life.
ECO School of Life is located at the lakeside in the heart of the Bory Tucholskie forest. There is a historical palace renovated by the patients and the farm where variety of different agricultural and outdoor activities are done and where addicts and HIV positive can perform their work. The methods introduced are professional and also environmentally sound; the environmental involvement is a crucial part of the therapeutic process.
Unlike most other rehabilitation centers, the operational model is self-sustainable, e.g., they grow plants and raise animals for their own use and for sale, becoming gradually more independent from external aid. The land is taken care of by the patients depending on their skills in particular agriculture activities. The social enterprise activities are focused on gardening, farming, arboriculture, fruits and vegetables processing, fisheries, environmental educational activities, crafts: carpentry, pottery, hippo-therapy and own Fire Brigade.
Patients are also encouraged to develop new skills and to share them with other patients and, gradually, move to the volunteers group; those motivated finally end up as regular staff. This program has a strong impact also on the local community. Moreover, with minimum external support, Wandzinin habitants built their own medical care unit that provides healthcare to ECO School of Life’s patients as well as to the local community, they have their own sewage treatment plant and the fire brigade to name but a few.