We are facing unprecedented challenging times because of the coronavirus pandemic. And what people need all over the world now is support. By joining our efforts we will be able to overcome all the difficulties and circumstances. NGO “BelAPDIiMI” team continues working with some adjustments. Now we are working remotely from home. We cooperate and communicate with our colleagues from primary organizations in the regions, with partners from Belarus and other countries. Employees of the executive bureau of NGO “BelAPDIiMI” daily monitor the situation in Minsk and the regions, take all possible measures to support families which look after children and young people with disabilities.
Coronavirus separated people, made them stay home in their flats and houses. However, it failed to cause the biggest damage – it didn’t make people feel lonely and helpless. More and more people are helping and supporting each other, are responsible for each other during the hardship. Our families are among those active members of the society. Many of them are playing now active roles in their local communities.
For instance, parents from Slutsk primary organization of NGO “BelAPDIiMI” volunteered to sew protective suits for medical staff of Slutsk Central Regional Hospital. An archpriest of Saint Simeon Stolpnik Cathedral (Borok village, Slutsk region) turned to the citizens of the region to tell them that the medical staff of the hospital lacked protective gear (disposable shoe covers, oversleeves, protective suites).
Professional fabric cutters made patterns to sew the gear. Spunbond was purchased. 2 mothers, members of NGO “BelAPDIiMI”, opened mini dressmaking and tailoring establishments where they cut out protective suites, baste details and sew them up on sewing machines.
Because of the coronavirus emergency many families faced the lack of protective masks. Liuban primary organization of NGO “BelAPDIiMI” found the way how to provide members of the organization and their families with masks. Elena Krasiy took the initiative to sew masks. It’s important to have a protective mask as we continue going shopping, we go to hospital from time to time, some children continue going to school.
Elena mastered how to sew face masks on the equipment purchased within the framework of the local initiative “Inclusive club “Megalopolis””. She taught her children making masks too. Other members of the organization followed her example.
Thus Nastya and Dima Gorbatenko watched videos on YouTube to see different types of masks. They chose the model they liked most and started sewing them.
New life circumstances affected daily activities carried out by Pukhovichi primary organization of NGO “BelAPDIiMI”. “The first gauze mask we bought at the pharmacy costed 1,22 BYN. You need at least 6 masks per day. The masks we bought don’t protect well, and after washing it’s almost impossible to wear them. Besides, it’s quite expensive for us as we try to save money,” Liudmila Rychkova, chairperson of Pukhovichi primary organization, says. “So we started learning to sew masks ourselves. We used new cotton fabric which we received during the campaign “Give things a second life” which was carried out within the framework of the local initiative “Inclusive Skarbnitsa” within the project “Promoting agenda of people with disabilities” supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). At first we sewed masks only for our families, later – for members of the organization, shop assistants and postal workers.”
The philosophy Luidmila follows is all about experimenting and being in step with the times. An idea to make eco-friendly bags proves it. They sew unusual bags with unusual cuts, square bottom and handmade knitted pockets for partners.
Zhitkovichi primary organization of NGO “BelAPDIiMI” supported specialists of Zhitkovichi City Children’s Polyclinic and sewed protective masks for them. Printed cotton was used for masks so they appeared to be colourful and cheerful.
In 2020, Zhitkovichi primary organization got an opportunity to implement the state social order, that is to provide the social service “Social respite care at home” with budgetary funds. This service is relevant for families as it gives them (parents, spouses and other family members who look after children with disabilities or people with the 1st and 2d disability group) a chance to have a rest during a day or in the evening, to solve problems and do some urgent matters. This service is continued to be provided despite COVID-19. In stressful times it is really important for parents of children with disabilities to enjoy some free time and get psychological support.
Since March 1, 2020, Mozyr primary organization of NGO “BelAPDIiMI” has also been providing social respite care to parents looking after children with severe disabilities via the state social order. 9 families from the organization need this service.
Polina and Valentina, 2 social nannies from the organization, look after children during a day on working days. From time to time, if there is such a need, they look after children on weekends. While children are with nannies, parents can recover their strength and energy.
Volunteers from Zhlobin asked Zhlobin primary organization to sew shoe covers, doctor’s smocks and protective suits for health care workers. Last year Zhlobin primary organization implemented the local initiative “MasterOK” within the framework of the project “Promoting agenda of people with disabilities” supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Young people with disabilities were taught sewing skills; sewing equipment was purchased. The youngsters are staying home now so the volunteers decided to get them to take part in a very serious and important task. Yuriy Alekseev and Maria Drozdova agreed immediately. Volunteers brought them fabric and youngsters got to work. When masks and suits were ready, they wanted to try them on. They support and appreciate the work performed by medical staff: “They have to stay at work all day long!” #Сидидома and #Делайкакмы (#stayhome and #doaswedo) have become a motto of the organization.
Apart from that, the participants of the local initiative “MaterOK” decided to greet veterans and prisoners of concentration camps with Victory Day. The youngsters sewed beautiful protective masks and presented them to the veterans of World War II on May the 8th. They also visited Tamara Lovetskaya who as a child was in the concentration camp “Ozarichi”.
Unitary enterprise “ArtIdea”received an order from one of Minsk organizations to sew 2000 masks. It’s a big contribution to achievement of a common goal. This order is being performed by one specialist, Elena Melnikova, who works in ArtIdea as a master of souvenirs production unit.
In Smolevichi a volunteer movement was organized to support health care workers. A lot of people who care joined the movement. For now there are 50 people from Minsk and Smolevichi. Alla Borovskaya, chairperson of Smolevichi primary organization of NGO “BelAPDIiMI”, is among the volunteers. A lot had been done during the last month and a half. Personal protective gear (masks, shoe covers, suits and smocks) was sewed. And it is a laborious task, you know.
Unitary enterprise “Baran Arabesques” made 50 linen masks for employees of the executive bureau of NGO “BelAPDIiMI” in Minsk. This is how they supported us during this challenging time.
The pandemic changed our lives. Most countries have issued stay-at-home orders. We are getting used to a new reality. Many of us are working from home, are studying online. Actually, it’s a perfect time for acquiring new skills. For instance, youngsters from the local initiative “We are going the same way” implemented by Smorgon primary organization of NGO “BelAPDIiMI” are studying now the basics of programming. It’s distance learning via the programme “eKids” developed by EPAM. 2 groups, junior and senior, were formed. The participants are learning the basics of programming, learning how to make computer mini games. Eduard Kluisha, an active member of the organization and the head of the local initiative ” We are going the same way”, is the coordinator of the programme.
Novopolotsk primary organization continues its active work. They are preparing now interesting projects for Town Day. A photo exhibition is one of them. Different photography subjects as well as techniques were welcomed. The photos had already been selected by the professionals who didn’t know that they were made by people with disabilities. Alexander Muzhdabaev, chairperson of Nopolotsk primary organization, participated in the live radio programme (First Channel 1). He told the listeners about the activities carried out by the organization and about their new project – a city small bakery “Warm bread” where people with disabilities will be employed.
An inclusive ceramics studio “Kolovrat” established by Osipovichi primary organization of NGO “BelAPDIiMI” within the project “Promoting agenda of people with disabilities” supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) continues carrying out master classes. The groups are small to reduce the risk of infection. There are 2 masters and 4 students. Each master works with 2 students.
The products manufactured by the students of the inclusive studio “Kolovrat” were presented at the international creative contest “ART AVANT-GARDE”. They won I and II places in nomination “Arts and crafts”.
Irina Budaiy, an active member of Dzerzhinsk primary organization of NGO “BelAPDIiMI”, participated in the international contest “Slavianski kaleidoscope – 2020”. This year the contest was dedicated to the 75th anniversary of end of World War II and was timed to Belarus-Russia Unity Day which has been celebrated for more than 20 years. Irina won the 3d place in nomination “Poetry”.
While working remotely, NGO “BelAPDIiMI” team prepared and submitted the following proposals to different state agencies:
- proposals concerning the content of the draft law “On voluntary work» (the Ministry of Justice);
- proposals concerning the content of the draft regulations on ensuring accessibility of social, transport and production infrastructure, means of transport and services provided, evaluation of their accessibility (the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection);
- information on existing problems people with disabilities face with in Brest region as well as proposals to improve work aimed at solving the mentioned problems (the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection);
- proposals to expand the list of social services relating to an opportunity to use «crisis rooms” for placing there people with disabilities who are in a crisis situation as they lost their permanent carers (the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection);
- a petition to take integrated measures to support the unitary enterprises established by NGO «BelAPDIiMI” (the Council of Ministers, the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection and the Ministry of Economy);
- we participated in preparation of a general statement for the government about the situation in residential institutions in view of the pandemic and about additional measures that have to be taken to increase physical distancing.
Specialists of NGO “BelAPDIiMI” worked out the Guidelines on coronavirus and the rules of behavior during the coronavirus pandemic in Easy-to-Read and submitted them to different institutions, including the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection, the Ministry of Health and Territorial Centres of Social Services to Population.