Home of Dignity

Home of Dignity: Small self-sustainable communities for poor and lonely retirees

Year Founded:
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
$100,000 - $250,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Too many lonely retirees in LT get 200 EUR pension and spend 150 EUR on utility bills. Can You live in dignity on 50 EUR/month? Let's move poor and lonely retirees into big community apartment, let's rent their apartments to receive funds to support this community. It's safer, happier, cheaper!

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if poor and lonely retirees move into small self-sustainable communities and don't have to worry any more about loneliness, safety and saving every cent?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

1. Loneliness of left alone retirees. 2. Poverty of LT retirees. Usually they have flats, but after covering utility bills there is no enough money left for aging in dignity. 3. Sentiments, that keeps them in their too big and too expensive flats. 4. Society cares very much about children, because they are still worth to invest in. Old ones feel society don't care about them. 5. Poor retirees' social security cost big money to municipality.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Create a chain of mini self-sustainable communities of poor and lonely retirees: *buy a big apartment, reconstruct it to 5 independent rooms - mini apartments and a common space; *accommodate 5 retirees, which own too big and too expensive apartments; *renovate their apartments and rent them to receive funds to cover accommodation costs, so entire pension is left for other retiree needs. It is safer, happier and cheaper to live in such communities. Retirees apartments become property of NGO only after death and we create another community in inherited apartment, or sell two and buy one bigger and more suitable for old people. Getting old at home, not in institution; not being a burden for municipality; passive income till death.


Idea is only 3 months old. But we have strong approval of the model by Malta Order, Association of Old People of Lithuania, Social Security Providers from Municipality. They all say it is an amazing and totally new idea, hard to launch, but it will work!
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

True story: an old lady at drug store asks cashier how much x drug costs. Then she counts her coins and walks away with such a face... I know her - she lives in my neighborhood, in 2-bedroom flat. So she is not poor, but she has to choose - food or drugs. How come? She is alone, she is lonely, scared of bad people. It's too complicated for her to move to smaller flat by herself. But she hears on TV about a possibility to live in a small community (not an institution!) with few other women like her, but still as independent as she still can. And there will be someone to take care of her when she gets older and weaker. And with money coming from rent her living in community is free, leaving her money for drugs and old dream to visit theater.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

Pilot community is on our plans. It will impact 5 targeted old people for a start, but it will be a start to shout laud and to change society attitude towards old people - they are valuable part of our society and they don't have to be a burden to tax payers any more. And for old people to realize they don't have to suffer loneliness and lack of money, there is a way to spend their days safer, happier and cheaper. We don't know how many poor and lonely retirees, but with valuable rental real estate, we have in Lithuania. Social security institutions have list, but don't share it for now because this data is very sensitive and these people are in very high risk of fraud. But we know, that 2/3 of retirees in LT are below poverty limits. In future we can create communities for retirees with children who don't take care of parents, for couples, for sick ones that need special care.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

Our mission is to create a network of such self-sustainable communities all over Lithuania, to provide a chance of life in dignity to every poor and lonely retiree. There are two ways to expand: 1. after the pilot community is known very well in Lithuania as a big success, we start collecting funds for second apartment for second community. 2. We don't have any idea how many years will pass till first death. But after that we can create one more community in the inherited apartment. And so the scaling begins. Scaling may be useful to other post-soviet countries with the same problems.

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

First of all we need 150'000 EUR to buy the pilot apartment, to suit it to our needs, then to renovate apartments for rent (with a lot of free supplies from our sponsors). We will use all tools for fundraising and all possibilities to get free supplies. First Home of Dignity will not need any more support after rent income starts. After success, we will start one more fundraising for second Home and wait for inherited apartments.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

This is an innovation. We don't have any models of retirement communities in LT, other then those financed by taxpayers or financed by retirees themselves without caring where they get money from. Idea is to be Home, and not an institution, as Retirement Centers. Idea is to be independent from government, at the same time saving taxpayers money. No longer lonely and no longer poor will not need social assistance from municipality - they can support themselves in dignity.

Founding Story

Remember the story about old lady in drug store? I experienced more similar facings of old people poverty, though they are not poor - usually they have quite expensive real estate. I help every time I can, but I realize my help is so temporary, it's only to ease consequences, but not to solve the problem. My mother was a doctor in a small town and started to build a home for lonely retirees, but didn't have a chance to finish - cancer... I want to finish what she started. My hobby is personal finances. I know how to manage real estate to get passive income. My personal experiences, my mother's example, my knowledge in real estate - puzzle pieces that one night fit together as a solution.


Marija Bunkaite, it's me: https://www.facebook.com/marija.bunkaite. And yes, I just turned 36 two weeks ago! But I have a co-founder, he is 25. Hope this will help:) I am responsible for: *creating official organization, covering legal issues; *introducing the model to different organizations and get their approval and support, as it's my baby and I can talk about it day and night:) *for finding the right pilot apartment, *for finding right retirees for pilot, *for connecting with right people in personal level to secure their voluntary help when time comes. My partner and co-founder Paulius Dauparas: https://www.facebook.com/paulius.dauparas. He is a marketing expert, his responsibility is to go public and to gather a crowd of supporters for society opinion changing and for fundraising purposes. We both work on voluntary bases so far. I just sold my business, because I find myself constantly dreaming about better world. Now I can finally afford to emerge fully in this. Paulius has his own business and dedicates his free time to this social initiative, as we both see so many potential and value in what we try to achieve.
Please confirm how you heard about the Unilever Awards:

We contact with many local social innovators, one of them shared this info on FB

Please confirm your role in the initiative (eg Founder/co-Founder) and your organisational title:

co-Founder of NGO "Home of Dignity"

Which of the 8 UN Global Goals (Sustainable Development Goals) pre-selected for this competition does your solution relate most closely to? [select all that apply]

No Poverty, Zero Hunger.

Leadership and the Unilever Awards
Please provide examples of any previous entrepreneurial initiatives you have pioneered.

My Apple Boxes idea has been selected among winners in Socifaction (social business accelerator program designed to give business skills to passionate individuals with ideas to solve social problems).

Beyond your existing team, who else are you working with to achieve your objectives, eg partners, advisors, mentors?

We have already partnered with Association of Old People of Lithuania, they will help us to select right retirees, Association will be the third co-Founder of our NGO.
At the moment I am negotiating for help from lawyer, two real estate developers, building materials wholesalers. We will need a lot of gifts or at least the lowest prices possible when time to renovate comes. Every single person I have talked to agrees, this model is revolutionary in good way, economically logical, necessary for Lithuania and will make a desirable impact to lonely and poor retirees.
Two days ago we agreed with IT company - they will create a web site for this project for free.