Zhlobin primary organization of NGO “Belarusian association of assistance to children and young people with disabilities” has been implementing a local initiative “If we stand united, all the problems will be solved!” since February 2017 with the support of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) within the framework of the project “Improved social services for people with disabilities’.
Elena Kurdiukova, a manager of the initiative and a vice-chairperson of the primary organization, told us more about the initiative.
-Elena, please, tell us more about the duration of the initiative and the reasons you started it?
It is not a secret that young people with disabilities rarely communicate with people without disabilities, they are not perceived as equal members of the society, lack of information about these people causes fears within the society. No information meetings and trainings to teach volunteers are organized in our region. We will manage to solve this problem as there are many people in Zhlobin region who wants to become volunteers. For example, Yana Poznyak, a coordinator of this initiative, has been a volunteer for several years. She works with children and young people with disabilities. She is now studying defectology and psychology, that will help her to become more competent while teaching volunteers and supervising their work. Also, our organization has an experience in involving people without disabilities to participate as volunteers in different activities of our organization.
The main idea of our initiative is to train young people with disabilities and volunteers to communicate with each other in order to organize and carry out socially-important activities. Thus people with disabilities will become more active members of the society and citizens of the city will respect and accept them.
-Which activities do you plan to realize within your project?
Information and creative meetings, educational trainings, campaigns to collect spoilt sheet, excursions, interactive games, a quest for residents of the city and a concert with participation of young people with disabilities will be organized within the initiative. We will pay attention to the following socially-important issues: interests and abilities of people with disabilities, behavior in an emergency situation, raising interest to printed books, bad habits and their consequences, rules of behavior on the road. As a result, a group of volunteers will be established in Zhlobin; the number of people who treats people with disabilities well and who knows about the activity of our organization will be increased. All these will help to get new members and volunteers to take part in different activities of our organization.
– I know that your primary organization is also implementing one more project named “Social respite care”. Please, tell us more about it.
Yes, we started implementation of this project in February 2017. The motto of the project is “Help provided to your friend helps you too”. Everyone knows that there are many families in our regions bringing up children and young people with intellectual and physical disabilities. Some of them can’t speak, walk or care for themselves. Also, there are many one-parent families. And mothers have to spend all their time with their children; they have no free time to see a doctor, a hairdresser or a lawyer. Some mothers work and they have to leave their children home alone, either with grandparents or elder children. These families find themselves in a very difficult psychological situation. We studied this issue and realized that we could partially solve these problems. That is why we decided to implement the project “Social respite care”.
– Mothers will be able to spend time outside home, not to worry about their kids and be sure that they will be looked after. Am I right?
– Yes, you are. Mothers from our organization will provide this service. We will spend time with children in turn; we will go to museums, hobby groups, participate in excursions, visit a water park and go bowling. If youngsters can’t walk, we will visit them at home. Mothers will be able to do things they couldn’t do because of lack of free time. Life of children with disabilities is usually limited by communication with parents and teachers. It is difficult for them to attend different studios or hobby groups. Communication with peers who come to visit them at home changes their daily routine, helps youngsters to improve their self-esteem, develops their creative potential, gives confidence in life and, of course, helps to find new friends. I am sure we will achieve great results: fill lives of families looking after children with disabilities with a sense, introduce new knowledge and feelings, teach parents to solve social problems in a more effective way, change attitude of parents towards opportunities their children have in respect of receiving services, give hope and wish to make positive changes in their lives, help parents and children to become more active. Assistance to parents in a desperate situation and spare time will improve a psychological atmosphere in a family. Besides, communication with new people will beneficially influence children and young people with disabilities. Parents will have a chance to communicate with other people too.
Tatiana Skobeleva, a reporter
Source of information: Newspaper “New day” as of March 14, 2017