Here in Viljandimaa, the focus of our support projects is on supporting local community life and young people. It is important to us that our contribution has as long-lasting an impact as possible. That’s why we support schools and kindergartens, as they develop our next generation. When we choose other projects, we want to empower people to help themselves, so that our contribution goes as far as possible and contributes to local life.
Since the early days of Combimill Sakala, some ten years to date, we have been working with our local municipality. As the names of the municipalities have changed in the meantime, we started with the municipality of Suure-Jaani at the time. Our first project was to organise Christmas candy packages for children from underprivileged families through the municipality’s social department. After a few years, when our business was taking off and we had more means, we decided to switch to financial support, as sweets and chocolates don’t really do that much to help children from difficult economic situations. That’s why, for the last seven years, we’ve been donating gift vouchers from a local shopping centre to the municipality, and the municipality sends us a list of those who need it most. It’s much more practical help.
Today, however, as opportunities have grown, we have come to working with much more comprehensive projects than one-off gifts during the festive season. It all starts with children, because they are our future. As well as nurseries and schools, we also support sports and culture, and work with local non-profit organisations.
One of the biggest recent projects is still in the works, but we hope that the disc golf park planned for the heart of the municipality will come to fruition. It’s an ambitious project and we’re happy to be involved. A smaller field is already available for children to use: we supported the construction of a playground for the kindergarten in Kõidama by providing financial support. However, contributions don’t have to be just financial. We help local schools by providing wood to be used as teaching materials in shop class. What’s great is that that the students use some of this material to make cool gifts for us to give to our customers. This way, every gift comes with a story about local people and places.
I would like to highlight a few particularly original projects that we’ve been involved in. The Green Riverland Co-op (Rohelise Jõemaa Koostöökogu), an NGO that organises activities in the local area, was putting together a sports day. During the course of the day, participants had to get across the Pärnu River. With the help of specialists from the Defence Forces and using materials we supplied, a 150m (!) long temporary bridge was built on floats across the river. This provided participants with an unforgettable experience. It is also very exciting for us to be involved in such projects, because we can contribute our experience to a different kind of work than the kind we do every day.
The shed on the island of Keri, where the wood material comes from Combimill Sakala, is definitely also worth mentioning.
In the field of culture, we have ongoing cooperation with the NGO TEMUFI, which started in 2017. We support performances with material for the construction of the stage and decorations, or in any other way we can.
You don’t have to engage in huge projects to make life better in the community. Even small projects and support at a local level can have a big impact if done sensibly and consistently. The sums are not huge, but the results are clearly visible.