Crowdfunded honeymaker staffed by elderly
revives Russian village
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[January 21, 2019]
MALY TURYSH, Russia (Reuters) - With
a workforce of elderly women and using local ingredients, a honey and
confectionery business put together with funds raised online is
breathing life into an ailing Russian village.
Cocco Bello Honey in Maly Turysh, in Sverdlovsk region around 1,500
kilometers (932 miles) east of Moscow, employs local residents, many in
their sixties and over, left behind by an exodus of young people from
Many villages in the vast country have dwindled since the Soviet
collapse amid demographic decline and a dearth of local jobs.
"I just really wanted to help," said Guzel Sanzhapova, the 30-year-old
founder of the honey business set up in part to nurture a dying village
where her grandmother was born.
Sanzhapova launched a series of crowdfunding campaigns in 2014 and
raised 6 million rubles ($90,337) to get the business off the ground.
Cocco Bello Honey now has an annual turnover of 20 million rubles
($301,125), she says, and employs up to 25 people depending on the
season. The village has a population of 50 people.
Staffers prepare and package different types of honey including honey
cream with berries and honey mousse, jams and herbal teas. They also
pick herbs and berries, while the honey is produced by Sanzhapova's
father's beehives, which he inherited from his father.
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The products at sold at farmers' markets, festivals and in Moscow
and Yekaterinburg coffee shops.
"There is no work here, this is all (there is)," 64-year-old
employee Mariam Pyatygina said, adding work dried up in the village
when the state farm was closed after the Soviet breakup.
Sanzhapova now hopes to raise funds to build a community center in
the village that would serve as a public center for neighboring
"I didn't think it was possible to expand farming like this in just
a couple of years," said her father Ravil Sanzhapov.
"I didn't imagine this in my dreams."
($1 = 66.4175 rubles)
(Reporting by Reuters TV; Writing by Tom Balmforth; Editing by
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