At the end of February the Centre for Recreation and Rehabilitation for People with Special Needs run by the Caritas Striy Eparchy of the Ukrainian-Greek Catholic Church held an open house.
The list of attendees included: Fr. Bohdan Manyshyn, Protosyncellus of the Striy Eparchy, Fr. Oleh Kobel’, Chairman of the Striy Eparchy’s Commission on Laity and Family, Tayisiya Haydukevych, Deputy Mayor of Striy, Roman Volynets, Director of the City Administration Department of Employment and Social Welfare, Nina Masendych and Lyuba Chopyk, Associate Directors for Education of local vocational schools and students, and Lyudmyla Sukharyeva, Caritas Ukraine’s National Coordinator for the Network of Centres of Recreation and Rehabilitation for People with Special Needs.
A presentation was made of the Centre’s activities. During this presentation representatives explained the unique characteristics of such a centre and introduced clients. The items crafted by the clients were also displayed; they included: greeting cards, embroidery, items embroidered of beads, and bouquets of flowers which were hand crafted out of beads.
Especially touching were the stories about the achievements and changes that have taken place among the centre’s clients and their parents. “From the time the Centre opened, our friends [clients with special needs] have changed a lot.
Overall they have become more independent. Most of them come to the centre by themselves. Parents have also noted on numerous occasions that their children help around the house more.
This year we focused on teaching basic skills: how to look after oneself, how to launder clothing, how to iron, how to prepare meals, and wash dishes. Many clients did these things for the first time, and this was a great achievement,” noted Oksana Il’kiv, Coordinator of the Centre for Recreation and Rehabilitation for People with Special Needs in Striy .
The open house was an extension of the round table the centre held at the end of 2011 at the Striy Eparchy’s administrative offices. The first event featured a theoretical presentation of that which could be seen, and most importantly enabled those present to meet clients [friends] of the Centre.
Summarizing the activity of the Centre, Ms. Il’kiv noted: “We want the community to pay more attention to these people, so that they can see that they are no different from us. We also want to show that people with special needs have talent, and that it is important to help them develop these talents so that they can successfully use and develop their gifts.
Equally, we want to encourage local students, who visited us today in such large numbers, and local youth, to come here more often so spend time with our friends so that they can shatter the negative stereotypes about special needs individuals.”
At the end of the event special needs individuals, who are clients of Caritas Striy, expressed their gratitude by giving out handmade greeting cards which they specially prepared for this event.
A video of this event can be seen here.