After nearly two years since our project Access to Education, Services and Community for wheelchair users has started, we are happy to share the results we have achieved so far. The project is financed through the SEE 2009 – 2014 grants, within the NGO Fund in Romania.
Our assisted transportation service met the needs of 88 wheelchair users. Out of these, eight are students with mobility disabilities who used our service to get to school and attend classes together with their colleagues.
Our multidisciplinary team provided professional home care services to 56 people. Each of them participated in a three months program. This way, they improved their health condition, their mobility and they gained basic wheelchair handling skills. All of these lead to a more independent lifestyle.
As part of our group support activities, 83 people with mobility disabilities talked about their experiences, learned from others’ stories and made friends. Under the guidance of our independent living trainer, they improved their wheelchair handling techniques – and they even tried to go up and down a ramp and on stairs for the first time.
Two camps were organized for children with disabilities, their classmates and their teachers. The program had both a recreational and an educational purpose. The activities that we organized and the example offered by the independent living trainers at Motivation Romania Foundation – who are wheelchair users, had a great impact on the 103 participants. They were able to observe and understand the abilities of people with disabilities. The personal stories that the wheelchair users shared were real sources of motivation and inspiration for children with disabilities and their parents and an inspiration in terms of strength and courage for the participants who had no disabilities.
The “SO Get to it!” Program was implemented together with Special Olympics Romania Foundation, our partner in this proiect, in eight mainstream schools in Bucharest, attended also by students with disabilities. Thus, 108 students with and without disabilities and their teachers were trained on disability issues. During the classes, students learned principles related to non-discrimination, tolerance, respect, inclusion and volunteering, following the structure of the “SO Get to it!” textbook. They become aware of the abilities of children and adults with disabilities and come to appreciate the vital role of civic education and community service. The most important thing is that they are encouraged to change something by themselves.
Wheelchair sport events also had a great success among the public. 164 students, teachers, volunteers and athletes with physical disabilities participated in two wheelchair basketball demonstrations. Most of the children attended for the first time such events. They all were impressed to see that, despite their mobility disabilities, wheelchair users enjoy doing sports and they give positive energy to those around them.
Two seminars on school inclusion of children with disabilities were also organized within the Access to Education, Services and Community for wheelchair users Project. The seminars took place in Bucharest, at the I.C. Bratianu High School and at the National Library. These events were structured in two parts: the first part – a debate on school inclusion of students with disabilities was attended by teachers, NGO representatives, authorities, students with disabilities and their parents, and media representatives. This part also included presentations on the progress of the project, of students with disabilities who have good results and also successful examples of inclusion of children with disabilities in mainstream schools in Romania. During the second part, students from the schools that were involved in the “SO Get to it!” Program presented their projects.
For further information, please contact Iuliana Eftimie, Social worker, phone number: 078176179, e-mail: email@example.com.