International conference “Social inclusion”

Elena Boiko, a specialist of NGO “BelAPDIiMI”, was invited to participate in the international conference “Social inclusion: new reference points in socialization of children” which was held in Tashkent (Uzbekistan) from January 31 to February 1. The activity was organized under the aegis of the charitable fund “You are not alone” and the Republican centre for social adaptation of children. Approximately 200 specialists from Uzbekistan, foreign experts, representatives of UNESCO, UNICEF, United Nations Development Programme and the delegation of the European Union to Uzbekistan participated in the conference.

The conference consisted of 3 modules:

– practical fundamentals of inclusion of children with special needs under the conditions of modern society;
– social inclusion of orphan children and children left without parental care: problems of current importance  and ways to solve them;
– social inclusion of children who are under social or legal risks on the basis of advanced forms and modern technologies.

The participants of the conference had a chance to get acquainted with the longstanding work experience of the fund “You are not alone” and the Centre for social adaptation of children in the sphere of rendering comprehensive assistance to children who need help.

The charitable fund “You are not alone” was founded by Lola Karimova-Tillyaeva in 2002 with the aim to render comprehensive assistance to children’s homes and children who are left without parental care in Uzbekistan. 2 years later, in 2004, the Republican centre for social adaptation of children was established. This is a charitable organization which provides medical and educational assistance to children with disabilities.

The foreign experts had an opportunity to visit the Republican centre. Specialists of the centre render there practical complex medical and rehabilitation, psychological and pedagogical assistance to children with psycho-physical disabilities and their parents who live in the Republic of Uzbekistan.

The centre is unique and is the only one of its kind in the country. Families receive help and support of specialists of the centre during courses (duration of a course is several weeks), they also get recommendations on development of their children under home conditions. Families can receive specialists’ support during several years. 2 branches of the centre were established in Samarkand and Farghona. Such services are not yet available in other regions of the country.

The specialist of NGO “BelAPDIiMI” gave a talk on development of a system of complex assistance to families of children and young people with disabilities in the Republic of Belarus, on experience and role of NGO “BelAPDIiMI” and other organizations and on development of new services for children and young people with disabilities.

NGO “BelAPDIiMI” has been initiating creation of a system of assistance to families which look after children with psycho-physical disabilities in the Republic of Belarus: early assistance, accessible preschool and school education, social respite care for families, day employment and job placement for people with disabilities, assisted living etc.

To achieve the above mentioned goal NGO “BelAPDIiMI” has been tightly cooperating with authorities of the Republic of Belarus: the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection, the Ministry of Health, local administrations and different institutions, other state and non-governmental organizations.
Many proposals of NGO “BelAPDIiMI” were introduced into the Belarusian legislation. Some of the services suggested and tested by our organization have being rendered at the state level all around the republic during last several years.

The participants of the conference were greatly interested in practical experience of NGO “BelAPDIiMI”: support to families starting from maternity hospitals and prevention of abandonment of new-born children with disabilities. This issue was included into recommendations on the results of the conference and is planned to be tested on the basis of the Republican centre for social adaptation of children.
Unfortunately, the society still doesn’t know much about positive characteristics and potential of people with disabilities, about their peculiarities and needs. An image of a person with disabilities still remains to be fuzzy in the society; an attitude towards them is preconceived. It is still shameful to give birth to a child with disabilities in Uzbekistan. Many parents hide their “special” children from relatives and neighbors. This situation is especially widespread in regions and small towns of Uzbekistan.
NGO “BelAPDIiMI” has been changing the attitude of the society towards people with disabilities during many years: updating information on the web-site and the forum of the organization, in social networks, publication and distribution of printed materials, shooting and duplication of video films and short social films.

A series of programmes “Everyone has a right to be different” was created under the cooperation of NGO “BelAPDIiMI”, the United Nations and UNICEF.
Children with different psycho-physical disabilities and their families which lavish care, love and attention upon their children are main heroes of 21 programmes. The heroes tell us about their lives, about things they are usually occupied with, about their studies, about their favourite activities, what a word “difficult” means for them, what makes them happy, whether they have a word “impossible” in their lives. The series of programmes was demonstrated on a national TV channel.
Several short social videos about children and young people with disabilities were shot within the framework of social projects implemented by our organization. They were demonstrated on national TV channels, in public transport and in the Internet. A short video “We used to play in the same sandpit”, which was shot within the project activity of NGO “BelAPDIiMI”, was demonstrated to the participants of the conference.
A moderator of a module noticed that the experience of NGO “BelAPDIiMI” can be successfully applied in Uzbekistan. In order to achieve this one should actively and tightly cooperate with mass media, a series of programmes about children with disabilities should be prepared and shown on national TV channels. This proposal was also included into the recommendations on the results of the conference.

On completion of the conference, on request of the Republican centre for social adaptation of children, Elena Boiko carried out an educational activity for specialists of the centre and told about opportunities to support families who have children with special needs, starting from maternity hospitals.

The moment parents are told about serious problems and possible disabilities of their new-born child is one of the toughest ones for parents. The task is not only to render psychological support to parents, but also to provide them with all necessary information about development of their child, about centres and specialists who will be able to render rehabilitation and pedagogical support, to tell successful stories of other children with similar diagnoses, to inform about benefits and allowances family can receive and organize legal and other consultations for families. The support is provided on parents’ request, evaluation of family needs and analysis of rehabilitation and educational resources in regions are done.

Support provided in time serves as a bridge which helps parents to accept the situation. It helps to prevent abandonment of children with disabilities and their placement into state boarding institutions, helps to avoid breakups between parents and be a part of social life.

The work experience of NGО “BelAPDIiMI” is planned to be used by the specialists of the Republican centre in the near future.

The literature, published by NGO “BelAPDIiMI”, was handed over to the specialists of the centre.

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