The L’viv Centre for Special Needs Individuals Celebrated its 10th Anniversary


On 15 September, the Centre for Recreation and Social Rehabilitation for Individuals with Mental Disabilities run by the L’viv Caritas celebrated their 10th anniversary at L’viv’s Hnata Khotkevych Palace.

The packed entertainment program captivated the guests. Nataliya Zahayko, the Centre’s Director, and social worker Mariya Chuchman welcomed the guests. They spoke with an open heart and words of gratitude to sponsors, philanthropists, volunteers and all those who through their hard work and inspiration became involved in the Centre. Representatives from the L’viv City Council, from the Shevchenko District Department of Social Security, the tourist agency Kalyna, which has provided transportation services to the Centre for several years, were invited to the celebration.

Special thanks went out to the Zablots’ky Dental Clinic which for several years in a row has helped to organize summer camps for special needs children and their parents on th e Black Sea. The clinic also financed a film about the life and activity of a group of special needs individuals for the anniversary celebration.

L’viv Caritas’s Centre was greeted on its 10th anniversary by guests from regional children’s libraries which their clients visit weekly, and by young people with special needs from the Dzherelo, Suzir’ya-Orion, L’arche-Arc, and Emmaus organizations. Anatoliy Kozak, General Secretary of Caritas Ukraine, Lyudmyla Sukharyeva, Coordinator of the Special Needs Individuals’ Project, as well as staff members and clients from the Caritas Ivano-Frankivs’k, Striy, and Drohobych Centres also addressed the audience and presented gifts.

“Sometimes it seems that 10 years is not a long time. However, during these last ten years, the Centre for Recreation and Social Rehabilitation has tripled its number of clients, staff has obtained experience in working with mentally disabled individuals, cooperation with other community organizations that provide services to this segment of the population has been established, they have included students and volunteers in their work, and they have established working relationships with local government bodies.

Because of the work and effort invested into young people who were discarded by the post-soviet society and left isolated from daily life, these special people were able to find a place for work and rest, to have the opportunity for joint creativity, for developing their talents, socializing, praying, going out for walks together, having friends and learning new basic life skills,” explains Ms. Sukharyeva.

A concert was held after the conclusion of the official part of the celebration. Olenka Martynets and Anastasiya Oleksyuk, clients of the Centre, recited their works. The ethnic dance ensemble Polunychka, led by Natalya Dropynda entertained the guests with their performances and the concert ended with Nazar Savko, a local singer, performing several songs with the youth choir Dzherelo.

After the celebration at the H. Khotkevych Palace everyone was invited to a dessert buffet put on by the parents of L’viv Caritas UGCC’s Centre’s clients. The L’viv chocolate factory and the restaurant Kryyivka donated chocolates.

Caritas L’viv UGCC

The Centre was established in 2001 thanks to support from Caritas Germany and Caritas France. It was designed to be similar to the Faith and Light workshops. Later it became the prototype for other Centres which opened at Caritas branches in Drohobych, Ivano-Frankivs’k, and Striy.

At the Centre they harmoniously combine work and recreation. The young clients at the Centres have been making candles for the nationwide charitable event Christmas Candle for many years and sell their handmade goods during the City’s annual anniversary celebration, Social Week, and other local events. In addition to making handmade items, and seeing to the daily functioning of the Centre, the clients happily visit the library, internet clubs, go swimming, vacation on the sea or in the Carpathian Mountains, and go ice skating in the winter. Parents are given the opportunity to participate in regular meetings and seminars.

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