For decades, Belarus has welcomed hundreds of people from Georgia, Syria, Afghanistan and beyond. Currently around 2,200 people who fled war, conflict and persecution call Belarus their new home after being granted asylum. The Creative Arts Centre in Belarus builds bridges for refugees and offers after-school activities to about 7,000 children in Minsk, from kickboxing to ballet, sewing to ceramics. Thanks to a partnership with UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, refugee and asylum-seeking children can attend for free, improving their language skills, integrating into the community and meeting new friends. 1
More than 30 children who found refuge in Belarus are now learning how to code thanks to the IT company EPAM Systems and UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency.2
The vast majority of Belarusians work for the government or state-owned enterprises (everything from health care to universities to railroads are managed by the state). Their unemployment rate is reported at appx. ½ of a percent, 0.50. There are of course various opinions on how this translates to democratic, capitalist market data. However, thousands of citizens were allowed to demonstrate and protest recently, so there are mixed signs of progress involved. Belarus has defied political categories and normal expectations and President Alexander Lukashenko has been in power since 1994.3,4,5
Max Mirnyi, a pro tennis player from Belarus has won 51 doubles titles with teammates from 31 different nations, which has to be one of the most underrated, mind-boggling statistics in all of sports. He is known as “The Beast” and fitness, conditioning and flexibility are major keys to his success. He is still playing well at age 41.
“The player or team that does better is normally the fitter of the two. Plus, it’s been a part of my life for a long time. I love to stay fit and train, whether I’m on the road, at home…
The flexibility part has certainly been a big part of my fitness. It allowed me to recover quicker and it’s a big reason why I’ve been able to be out on the court for many years, basically injury free, due to me being pretty mobile…
I don’t go a day, whether I’m on vacation or have a tough match, without dedicating 20 to 30 minutes working on my most important areas. These are my hip flexors and the shoulders. I like doing it…”6,7
+ These expansive points of reference are intended to enhance neuroplasticity, positive thinking, empathy and situational awareness – to supplement the mainstream with some upstream.