Together we can do more
In the region of Zugdidi, people with disabilities are isolated, or even kept hidden at their homes. The mentality changes slowly and even today their families are often ashamed of them. No attention is paid to their needs; they do not have any prospects. Neither people with disabilities nor their families receive the support they need in their daily lives. Their potential is wasted and they are treated as an unnecessary part of society. Children with disabilities do not have the opportunity to integrate with society, while non-disabled children cannot get to know them and get used to the fact that they are different.
In the village of Zugdidi, there are four centres for disabled people: NERGEBI; Centre for Children with Autism; Association for the Integration of People with Disabilities and Development of Art HANGI, and DEA Association. In addition, the association MORDU operates since December 2018, bringing together parents of children with disabilities. There is a real need to improve the qualifications of staff in active rehabilitation and psychological support for families with children with different impairments. It should also be stressed that NERGEBI, the only day centre for children with disabilities, is not adapted to their needs.
The project “Together we can more,” run by the VERDA Foundation together with local and Polish partners responds to the real needs on the ground. It focuses on activities directed at NERGEBI staff, patients, and their parents.
Together we can do more
The project “Together we can do more” was carried out in the Zugdidi region between 1 May and 31 December 2018. It was run by the VERDA Foundation together with local partners: the NERGEBI daily centre for children with disabilities and the HANGI Association for the Integration of People with Disabilities and Development of Art, as well as Polish partners: the Kujawy-Pomerania Special School and Care Centre and the ARKADIA Foundation for People with Disabilities.
The direct objectives of the project were to raise professional competences of NERGEBI staff in working methods with disabled children using modern teaching and rehabilitation aids through a series of courses. It also sought to improve the quality of work through the adaptation of rooms and equipping them with specialist educational and therapeutic equipment. Another objective was to manage the potential of adults with disabilities and enhance HANGI members’ awareness of active rehabilitation and support measures for families with children with disabilities, as well as to raise students’ awareness of disability, the functioning of disabled people in society, and the importance of their integration.
The project was addressed to children with disabilities from Zugdidi and the surrounding villages, their families, the staff of NERGEBI, and Zugdidi local community.
The project furthers Priority 3 — human capital: better access to social services and improved infrastructure and operation of centres for people with disabilities, victims of home violence, and children deprived of parental care.
Together we can do more
The project was implemented in Zugdidi, Georgia, from 1 May to 31 December 2018. Project activities included training for the staff of the NERGEBI day centre for children with disabilities in, among others, methods of sensory and active rehabilitation, sociotherapy, music therapy, and education using an interactive whiteboard and medical care. The centre was adapted and equipped with modern educational and therapeutic equipment. Adults with disabilities were prepared for work with parents of children with disabilities, and information meetings were held on disability for students.
Thanks to the project, 5 NERGEBI teachers who took part in courses organised in June 2018 in Torun (5 individual courses, 5 group training days) and experts who took part in tutoring (15 hour tutoring sessions per month for 3 months), as well as other staff of the centre (participating in 3 weekly training sessions in Zugdidi), have all raised their professional competences, as shown by the surveys carried out by coaching experts.
Members of the HANGI association and NERGEBI staff (19 people in total) who took part in the Zugdidi training on 7-13 July 2018 have expanded their knowledge of active rehabilitation and ways to support families of children with disabilities.
Four rooms of the NERGEBI day centre for children with disabilities in Zugdidi were adapted and fitted with modern educational and rehabilitation equipment. Each of the rooms serves a different purpose: sensory integration with elements of physiotherapy and active rehabilitation, education and rehabilitation including music therapy, individual classes for children with disabilities and impairments, and office space. The NERGEBI staff were trained to use the equipment which greatly improved the quality of their work.
From September to November, the HANGI members held seven counselling sessions with parents of disabled children and 19 meetings with Zugdidi schoolchildren on the lives of disabled people in the society and the importance of their integration. The sessions and meetings were attended by a total of 409 people.
The project, particularly the opening of the NERGEBI centre, received coverage from the local media:
Information on the project is also available from the VERDA Foundation https://www.facebook.com/fundacjaverda/ and on the partners’ websites.