31.12.12, Lviv region
For more than four years Caritas in Drohobych (Lviv region) has been taking care of youth and adults with special needs. They receive psychological, social and material assistance. Youngsters with disabilities have opportunity to stay in daytime social center, where they acquire soft skills and feeling of independence, develop their creative capabilities.
This year Caritas of Sambir-Drohobych Eparchy of the UGCC celebrates its 10th anniversary of delivering service to fellows in need and professional growth. Present of Caritas Drohobych consists of constant assiduous work on implementation of innovative projects, development of existing ones and search of support for charity initiatives.
For example, initiative Give chance to a disabled child is being carried out at the moment. Its objective is to supply challenged youngsters with computers and Internet in order to secure possibility for communication. Among interesting projects there are also “School of family counseling”, “Club for seniors called Living history”, Center of social and psychological support for children of labor migrants called Together we are stronger, Nazareth rehabilitation center for drug and alcohol addicts.
“By the end of December owing to initiative Give chance to a disabled child that is implemented by employees and volunteers of social center, we managed to make happy one more child. Vaselynka, 9-year-old girl, received a laptop that she had been dreaming for a long time,” explains Fr. Igor Kozankevych, Director of local Caritas.
Volunteers of Buddy Program: It Takes Two center consider rendering assistance to disabled youngsters and giving them the warmth of their friendship as a calling. Earlier program was implemented by Carpathian Foundation Ukraine and network of Dutch foundations called «SKANFonds», and nowadays it operates independently. They look for individuals that have serious illness and aren’t able to leave home to communicate with age mates. Volunteers become lasting friends with such people. However, they say that it’s good to visit person bringing a present once, but it’s not the best thing that could be done. We have to feel not only responsibility, but sheer joy from long-term communication with those we are taking care of.
Volunteers Natalya and Sofia have recently got acquainted with disabled Vasylynka. “She is very pleasant and sociable girl who dreams to become a singer. Vasylynka is a diligent student, and has many friends among classmates. But serious diagnosis called congenital rubella took away her ability to walk. School teachers give lessons to Vasylynka at home, and only by this means she can communicate with age mates,” ? explain volunteers.
When Vasylynka made friends with workers and volunteers of Caritas, she asked for computer. She had always dreamt to communicate with friends at least via Internet; wanted to acknowledge more about surrounding environment, news, hobbies of other individuals and distant journeys. And local Caritas eventually presented Vasylynka with a laptop that she needed for personal development, education, and for communication with external world. Concerned people joined the initiative Give chance to a disabled child and provided assistance to collect necessary money.
Lyudmyla Smolen’, Coordinator of the Amazing Hands Centre for youth with special needs, explains that recently Caritas clients have brought victorious goblet from regional sport competition.
«Lviv oblast Society for protection of disabled children “Dovira” and its director Soltys Lyubov invited clients of the Amazing Hands Centre to take part in competition in athletics. They partook in competition on Special Olympics World Games program and won the third medal place,” reports Lyudmyla Smolen’.
Thirty mentally-challenged sportsmen from Lviv, Chervonograd, Brody region and Drohobych participated in competition. It involved sprint and broad jump for both boys and girls. This year competition was dedicated to memory of Maksym Baytsar, the first Ukrainian that became Special Olympics World Games champion in athletics.