BEARR’s 2021 Small Grants Scheme: Results

This year BEARR’s Small Grants Scheme sought applications from across the Eastern Europe and Central Asia region for projects to “reduce the social isolation of people living with disadvantage”, an issue which has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. We did not specify the beneficiaries: instead, applicants were asked to describe the problems faced by the people they wished to help. 

BEARR asked for projects that would:  

  • involve partnership with, or extend collaboration to, other local organisations;  
  • have an imaginative or unusual approach to reducing social isolation; and 
  • try to extend provision of support to other groups of people facing disadvantage or marginalisation resulting from their age, ability, ethnicity, gender or sexuality, or because of geography. 


We had a fantastic response, receiving 227 applications in total. Over 60% came from Ukraine, with at least one application from every other country which BEARR covers.

Chosen grantees

The level of response made BEARR’s trustees’ task a difficult one, but 15 fantastic projects have been selected:

  • Association of Wives and Mothers of Soldiers Participating in ATO (Ukraine): self-help groups for vulnerable elderly women in remote areas of Donetsk region.
  • Gender-Vector (Kyrgyzstan): to support access to jobs and safe housing for young people in LGBT community in Chui region.
  • Girls in Tech (Armenia): digital skills and support for young women IDPs from the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
  • Inclusive Studies (Lutsk, Ukraine): training volunteers to work with disabled children to provide theatre activities to support socialisation.
  • Kids are Kids (Moscow, Russia): summer camp for marginalised and migrant families.
  • Kuhhoi Pomir (Tajikistan): initiatives to reduce social isolation of live-stock breeders in isolated communities in Pamir mountains.
  • MIR – Office for Initiatives Development (Khujand, Tajikistan): younger and older people in self-help groups to support vulnerable people affected by COVID-19. *
  • Next (Odessa, Ukraine): using hospital facilities to assist children with mental disorders, especially eating disorders.
  • People Plus (Belarus): support for older people with HIV, based in Svetlogorsk.
  • Return to Life (Kropyvnytskyi, Ukraine): helping under-18 rural poor to avoid drug use.
  • Society of People with Disabilities TAUR (Moldova): reducing social isolation of people with disabilities.
  • Tvory Dobropillya (Ukraine): combatting isolation among the elderly in a small rural town in Donetsk region through cooking classes with teenagers.
  • Ukrainian Down Syndrome Organisation (Ukraine): Support for people aged 16-35 with Down Syndrome, including access to employment and social participation.
  • Winds of Changes (Ukraine): creation of a needlework social enterprise in Odessa for Roma women and girls. *
  • Zhytomyr Regional Association of Social Services (Ukraine): self-help groups in small towns for single mothers and victims of domestic violence. *

* These three CSOs are repeat grantees. Each has been awarded additional funding to help improve its organisational resilience as they adjust to working under COVID-19 conditions.

BEARR is delighted that both the Just Trust and the now-dissolved Tushinskaya Trust are contributing towards funding this year’s grantees. The Tushinskaya Trust’s contribution will go towards one of the projects working with young people. Additionally, we are grateful our major donor’s contribution towards funding the scheme.

We are looking forward to working with this year’s grantees and sharing their project updates with BEARR’s subscribers!

June 2021

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