The Help Others—Become a Friend Program Opened in Ivano-Frankivs’k


On 1 August a friendship project for children with mental disabilities was started at the Caritas Ivano-Frankivs’k UGCC. The project is called Help Others—Become a Friend. The project is designed to use volunteers and the general public to create favourable conditions for the social integration of disabled people into society.

Pairing a disabled individual with a volunteer “friend” helps each to understand the other’s value system, gives them a new purpose in life, and encourages them to look at the world in a loving way.

Each person, regardless of her disability, is priceless and therefore deserves support, respect, and the right to realize their potential.

Lyuda Maksymyuk, local Coordinator of Disabled Projects explains: “in July staff and volunteers from Caritas Ivano-Frankivs’k UGCC got valuable experience from the Dutch on how to organize the friendship program It Takes Two: Help Others—Become a Friend.

During the three days that they trained with the Dutch they exchanged their experiences of working with special needs children, and learned how to encouraging volunteers to work with disabled youth.

By taking an active part in the theoretical and practical training, social workers obtained the knowledge they needed to pass on to the volunteers who will be working with disabled youth. Caritas staff will participate in additional trainings to help them create conditions that will allow volunteers to work more effectively.

The events planned for this project are very interesting and varied. They include: a football game, excursions, visits to the movies, interesting workshops, picnics, athletic events, learning how to ice-skate, and countless other events which will help mentally disabled individuals socially adapt to mainstream society.

The program It Takes Two: Help Others—Become a Friend was made possible thanks to financial support of the Co-Operating Netherlands Foundations for Central and Eastern Europe, Scanfund, and the International charitable organization Foundation for Developing the Carpathian Euro-Region.

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