Hope out of Ruins
In 1992, when Donat Kuczewski saw the dilapidated palace in Wandzin, Poland, he envisioned a sanctuary for one of the country's most undesirable populations -- the growing number of drug addicts with HIV/AIDS. Today, his program, The Eco School of Life, is the largest and most effective intervention for drug addiction in Poland.
The former Prussian estate has become a highly productive sustainable farm run by former substance abusers. During their months at the “palace,” they learn agriculture, carpentry and animal husbandry skills while they also learn to live without drugs.
Thanks to Kuczewski’s energetic outreach to village citizens and government, the residents at Wandzin are valued by the local community for their cutting edge farm methods, their vast nursery of heirloom fruit trees, and their revival of rare breed animals. For the 80 to 100 recovering substance abusers who reside there at any given time, the life and work at Wandzin offers them a sense of self-worth as well as the skills to sustain themselves once they leave.