Paper Windmill

Initiator: Moara De Hartie Association;

Place: Comana, Giurgiu County;

Implementation period: October 2013 – March 2014;

Financing line: Social entrepreneurship initiatives;

Granted funds: 10.000 lei.

Moara de Hârtie was established in Comana in January 2012, in an effort to revive, sustain and promote traditions, crafts and occupations, that have almost disappeared or are endangered, such as paper manufacturing, manual printing and bookbinding.

Most of Moara de Hârtie’s activities undertaken so far have focused on involving the youth  of Comana and other adjacent locations in various projects aimed at improving the quality of life in the community. One such example is the Young people rediscovering the European printing culture initiative, during which students from the Highschool of Technology Comana received a free hand printing workshop, where they learned about the history of printing and had the chance to print using a pressure similar to that of Gutenberg.

Currently, the association wants to take things further and develop a creative paper recycling business by making paper briquettes mixed with plant debris as an alternative to solid fuels less friendly with the environment that are used, nowadays, in our rural areas (wood, coal, briquettes from sawdust and straw). In addition to the economic and environmental approach of this initiative, we can find a strong social component to this project.

Comana Natural Park and the surrounding area are located in Giurgiu, one of the poorest counties in Romania (being, according to the study The main social-economic indicators projection in the territory until 2014, conducted by the National Commission for Prognosis, the County has the lowest contribution to Gross Domestic Product). The main economic activities in the area are agriculture and services (small village shops). Tourism is beginning to take momentum, but the investment in support infrastructure is limited. Despite the fact that they live in a Natural Park, a protected area, residents don’t have concerns regarding resource conservation and recycling. Moreover, after 2005, since the Bucharest-Giurgiu railway path has become impractical because of the collapse of the bridge over the river Arges, the costs of commuting to the capital have substantially increased. Young people who have completed their compulsory studies have very low chances of employment, common jobs are scarce and transportation costs to other neighboring cities are high. The project targets young people aged up to 35 years, that have been long-term unemployed.

Social impact will be reflected in the increase of the employment rate of young people in this social enterprise. Initially, participants will act as volunteers, but by the end of the project they will be employed. In addition, 25% of the products developed under the project will be provided for free to people with no income from Comana. Thus, they will be able to use the paper briquettes for heating their homes. Through this project, Moara de Hârtie will become a major player in the community, creatively transforming the socio-economic landscape of Comana and  generating a positive impact in the lives of those involved and their neighbors.

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