1995 – 2008

WE ARE TOGETHER THOUGH WE ARE DIFFERENT!

Dedicated to the 15th anniversary of NGO “Belarusian association of assistance to children and young people with disabilities”

  We, mothers and fathers who look after “special” children, know exactly what does it mean to be a person “with disabilities”. 15 years ago the situation was noticeably different from the one we observe now. Many children with different kinds of disabilities were completely isolated from the society. It was considered that it was impossible to educate them. In most of the cases they used to spend 24 hours a day at home. Parents could hardly ever dream about a centre where their children could go and receive necessary assistance from specialists. We, parents who look after children with disabilities, realized fully that situation, so we decided to unite in order to try to change our lives and lives of our children.

In 1991 we founded “Minsk association of parents who look after children with disabilities” on the basis of which “Belarusian association of assistance to children with disabilities” was founded on the 30th of July in 1994. In September 1999 the organization changed its name because of re-registration and changing the age requirement of members of the organization. Since that very moment our organization is called NGO “Belarusian association of assistance to children and young people with disabilities” (NGO “BelAPDIiMI”).

Today NGO “BelAPDIiMI” unites more than 3500 families which look after children with mental and physical disabilities. The organization comprises 65 regional member organizations all around the republic. These organizational subdivisions are legal entities and they develop their own programmes. But in spite of the fact that all our member organizations are independent and work differently they are united by a common mission: to create for disabled children and young people equal with other people opportunities to participate in every field of social life.

The main aim of our organization is to change the attitude of the society towards people with disabilities.

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THE DEVELOPMENT OF NGO “BelAPDIiMI”

Member organizations of NGO “BelAPDIiMI” were established in many regions of the Republic of Belarus during last 15 years. Many of them learnt to solve problems on the local level, to write and realize projects and local state institutions often become their partners.

If a chairperson of a member organization is an active leader who constantly participates in seminars and trainings, raises the level of knowledge and uses it in practice, the organization has more chances to make progress. L.Klimenkova (Mariina Gorka), M. Vasilyuk (Zhlobin), A.Lukashkova (Slavgorod), L.Scherbatsevich (Volozhin) and many other chairpersons are on the list of active leaders. These women are mothers of children with disabilities; they know the problems of their children better than anyone. It was their initiative to open day stay departments for “special” children and young people in state centres. Their knowledge and skills were appreciated at its true value and they became directors of these centres and departments.

Our association comprises 65 member organizations all around the republic today. Each organization has its own interesting life; they solve the problems of children and young people with disabilities in their regions. Each organization has something to tell about.  

 The projects:
  • “People with disabilities have to live without disabilities” (in the context of the Belarus Support Programme of Federal Ministry) was realized in 2003-2004

The aim of the project was to strengthen local parents’ initiatives, to help chairpersons of regional member organizations to develop qualities of a leader and to increase the effectiveness of NGO “BelAPDIiMI” activity. 3 Coordination and Information Centres were establishes in Baranovichi, Osipovichi and Kalinkovichi as a result of the project.

• “Confidence and Success is our future” (with the support of the Swedish government and the Swedish organization “Star of Hope” in the context of the SIDA (Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency) programme) is being realized in 2009-2011;

HOW TO RENDER ASSISTANCE TO A “SPECIAL” CHILD?
The work of NGO “BelAPDIiMI” in the sphere of rehabilitation

The positive changes in the sphere of rendering assistance to children with disabilities started happening in the mid 90th. Our children including children with severe degree of disabilities started attending educational centres. But there was a lack of specialists who possessed knowledge necessary for work with such children. Besides, children with specific disabilities (for example, autism or epilepsy) couldn’t attend those centres.

Our association started carrying out international conferences and seminars; we invited foreign specialists and experts to participate in those activities. When in 1995 an office of NGO “BelAPDIiMI” was established in Minsk, the first brochure “Dear mother, dear father!” and the first book “How to render assistance to a child with cerebral palsy” were published for parents and specialists.

Under the support of our partners we managed to realize several projects aimed at training of Belarusian specialists to use interdisciplinary method of work with children with disabilities. A series of methodical literature and video films was released; numerous trainings and seminars for parents and specialists on modern methods of rehabilitation of “special” children were carried out in cooperation with foreign colleagues. A system of rehabilitation services started developing on the basis of member organizations of NGO “BelAPDIiMI” in the regions. In 1996 we were able to establish the 1st adaptation and recuperation institution in the Republic of Belarus called “Isle of Hope” for children and young people with severe degree of disabilities.

The projects:

  • «Improvement of the quality of care for people with mental retardation in Belarus» (in the context of the programme “TASIS”) was realized in 1995-1997
  • “Rehabilitation of Belarusian children” (4 phased project with the support of the Swedish government and the Swedish organization “Star of Hope” in the context of the SIDA (Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency) programme) was realized in 1995-2002
  • “We build future for people with disabilities together” (with the support of UNESCO, in cooperation with the German association “Lebenshilfe” and the institution “Bethel”) was realized in 1997-1999
  • “Development of a system of rehabilitation in the Republic of Belarus” (with the support of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) was realized in 1999-2001

The projects we are proud of 

Belarusian Resource and Adaptation Centre “OPEN DOORS”

NGO “BelAPDIiMI” was helping to develop a system of rehabilitation services in the regions of the republic, apart from that, we established its own rehabilitation institution which became a kind of “accumulator” of specialists’ knowledge. In 1998 we opened Belarusian Resource and Adaptation Centre “Open Doors”.
The specialists of BRA Centre “Open Doors” studied in Sweden and Germany, adopted the foreign experience of work and started carrying out seminars and trainings for Belarusian specialists on their own. An interdisciplinary team of the specialists from BRA Centre “Open Doors” with the support of the German association “Lebenshilfe” was carrying out consulting trips to different regions of the Republic of Belarus during several years. As a result, families which look after children with disabilities received consultations. Moreover, individual programmes of rehabilitation for 1980 children from 36 regions of Belarus were worked out. Besides, preschool integration groups, classes in schools and rehabilitation centres were established domiciliary with the support of local authorities.
Today BRA Centre “Open Doors” is constantly attended by young people with psycho-physical disabilities. They acquire skills necessary for life during lessons of social and everyday life adaptation: they learn to wash and iron clothes, to clean rooms and cook simple dishes. Young people are taught basic craft in the centre; they attend music and drawing lessons as well as theatre classes.
In March 2009 a hostel for young people with disabilities started its work in the centre “Open Doors”. The aim of the project is a complex approach to adaptation and integration of young people with mental disabilities, their social adaptation and preparation for independent life, working out, approbation and promotion of the model of supervising living.

The projects:

  • “Creation of Belarusian Resource and Adaptation Centre “Open Doors” for children and young people with disabilities” (with the support of Christian Children’s Fund) was realized in 1996-1997
  • “New forms of living in Belarus for young people with psycho-physical disabilities” (in partnership with the German Federal association “Lebenshilfe fur Menschen mit geistiger Behinderung”) has being realized in 2008-2010

The projects we are proud of 

A BOOK FOR PARENTS
Publishing activity and raising the level of experience of specialists

During last 15 years NGO “BelAPDIiMI” has been striving for dissemination of knowledge and experience gained during different projects and study visits abroad all around the Republic of Belarus. Our organization was one of the 1st which started publishing literature about different methods and approaches of rehabilitation, bringing up and education of children with disabilities (we published more than 26 books and 49 brochures). We, parents, thought about our own needs and the needs of our children. It was we who chosen the topics of those books. We wanted to know how we could make the life of our children better and how we can teach them something. As a result, these books were in demand among specialists from Belarus, Russia and Ukraine.

We long for making an important contribution to raising the level of experience of Belarusian specialists. Since 2004 our organization has been cooperating with the faculty of special education of the Belarusian State Pedagogical University named after M. Tank in this direction. Series of seminars with participation of German specialists were carried out in the context of 2 joint educational projects. 2 teaching and methodical manuals “Bringing up and education of children under the conditions of Centres of corrective and developing education and rehabilitation” and “Principles of teaching and educational work in Centres of corrective and developing education and rehabilitation” were published.

The projects:

  • Educational course aimed at raising the level of experience (speciality “Ergotherapy in Belarus”) (in cooperation with the community ERGO-Belarus in Bielefeld in the context of the Belarus Support Programme of Federal Ministry “Overcoming borders”) was realized in 2003-2004
  • Extension courses for specialists who work in the sphere of education (educational project was realized in cooperation with the Belarusian State Pedagogical University named after M.Tank and with participation of German specialists in 2007-2008).
  • “Creation of national information centres: Belarus, Ukraine and Russia (in partnership with the “Group to assist the children of Chernobyl” (Berlin-Kopeniсk) and German Fund “Aktion Mensch”) was realized in 2007-2009

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The projects we are proud of 

“I AM AN ADULT PERSON”
Social rehabilitation, career-guidance and employment

Today many “special” children 3-18 years of age got an opportunity to attend special schools and Centres of corrective and developing education and rehabilitation. But after finishing them young people with severe and multiple disabilities usually don’t have any opportunity to find a place for further rehabilitation (apart from that, financial support to this category of citizens is much smaller than the one which is rendered to children). We, parents, were worried by the fact that our children could be isolated from the society again.

We think that it is necessary to establish specialized workshops where young people with disabilities have an opportunity to participate in labour activity, can work and be socially protected. The legislation and corresponding normative documents must contribute to such development.

NGO “BelAPDIiMI” in cooperation with German partners realized several projects aimed at support of active workshops for young people with disabilities and at creation of new specialized workshops. New workshops were equipped. Apart from that, a methodic manual for specialists of workshops, a catalogue with products and a brochure about the German experience were published in the context of the projects.

Opening of day stay departments in Belarus under Territorial centres of social services to population was an important step in solving the problem. At the moment 95 day stay departments work in the republic, they have to be opened in 156 Territorial centres of social services to population all around the republic till 2010.

The projects:

  • “Social adaptation, career-guidance and employment of young people with disabilities” (with the support of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) was realized in 2001-2003 
  • Conference “Idea of professional education and social and legal guarantee for people with mental and multiple disabilities. Occupational and social rehabilitation” (in cooperation with the charitable association named after Bodelschving in Bethel in the context of the Belarus Support Programme of Federal Ministry  “Overcoming borders”) was carried out in 2002-2003
  • ”I am an adult” (in the context of the Belarus Support Programme of Federal Ministry  in partnership with the “Group to assist the children of Chernobyl”) was realized in 2005-2006
  • “Creation of bodies responsible for professional rehabilitation of people with disabilities for their integration into labour activity in Bobruisk, Krichev, Mogilev, Osipovichi and Minsk”(in the context of the Belarus Support Programme of Federal Ministry in partnership with the “Group to assist the children of Chernobyl” (Berlin- Kopenick) and workshops in Berlin) was realized in 2007-2008 
  • “I am an adult person” (in partnership with the organization “Koraal Group” and University of Applied Science Fontys, in the context of the MATRA programme (the Netherlands)) has being realized in 2008-2010 

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