Star of Hope has been working with the non-governmental organization "Belarusian Association of Assistance to Children and Young People with Disabilities" ("BelAPDIiMI") for more than 10 years. We are supporting their work as it touches the hearts and lives of many children, parents and persons with a vested interest in normalizing and integrating the lives of children with disabilities, as much as possible, in their society.
The report that follows is from the director Elena Titova, Minsk Belarus. (Note that English is her second language.)
Report on work in February 2012
1. On February 14-15, the NGO "BelAPDIiMI" within the framework of cooperation with the State Institution "Children's home for children with psychophysical disabilities" organized and carried out consultations for children living in this institution. Also, a seminar "How to avoid emotional burn-out among specialists who work with children with disabilities" was carried out. Approximately 30 people (employees of the children's home, as well as specialists from medical and pedagogical institutions) from Minsk and Minsk region participated in the seminar. The consultations and the seminar were conducted by Thomas Weggemann, children's neurologist and psychiatrist from Austria, who has 30-year experience of work with children with disabilities.
Particapants from from burnout class.
Long trip for speaker Dr Thomas Weggemann (on right) from Austraila
2. A charitable campaign "Let's play!" was launched in Minsk by the Minsk City Organization of the NGO "BelAPDIiMI".
A fairy-tale character Karlsson visits families from the association, and helps children with disabilities to become part of a holiday. It happens for no particular reason. Without a cause. Elena, director of a computer company, sewed a puppet, Karlsson. Then she imagined a scenario, and now she visits children as a volunteer. She visited 2 families in February. One of the families has 7 children. 5 of them were adopted, 2 boys were taken from the children's home for children with psychophysical disabilities. "I love children. I like playing with them. I like creativity. I am ready to visit families every week, to make them happy. When you see happy eyes of children, you become happy too. You get so much positive emotions and energy," Elena says.
Karlsson flew away, but he promised to come back! And he will certainly come back and make a lot of children from our organization happy.
Elena and Carlson spending some time with the kids.
3. Elena Titova, the chairperson of the NGO "BelAPDIiMI", and Elena Boiko, the specialist social worker, participated in the round table "Life of persons with psychic and intellectual disabilities in modern society". The participants of the round table discussed and exposed the problems people with disabilities and their close relatives face every day, planned feasible actions to eliminate stigma towards people with psychic and intellectual disabilities. Employees of the NGO "BelAPDIiMI" made presentations about life of people with disabilities, about prejudice which exists in the society against these people, about their needs and hardship, they told about work experience the organization has in this field.
4. Employees of the NGO "BelAPDIiMI" are constantly looking for sponsors who can render assistance to families which are members of our organization. In February, 52 families from 16 regions of Belarus and 4 families from Minsk received washing powder thanks to sponsors' assistance.
5. In February, a project on social respite care for families which look after children with psychophysical disabilities started on the basis of the NGO "BelAPDIiMI". This innovation project will be realized under the support of the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF). At the same time BelAPDIiMI will be lobbying for creation of such services at the government level. We plan to render assistance to more than 100 families within 2 years. Volunteers from institutions of higher education will be helping us.