Tell us about the social impact of your innovation. Please include both numbers and stories as evidence of this impact
The activities of our organization, after its nine years of existence, demonstrate that society’s attitudes can, with a good deal of effort, be changed.
Association «Speranţă şi Sănătate» (Hope and Health) for many years engaged in the integration (reintegration) in society of people with mental illness. During these years the number of beneficiaries/recipients of our services has grown to more than 100 people. Many of these people have repeatedly been subjected to violence by both strangers and relatives. Rehabilitation Center 35-40 people attend each day. Here they interact with each other, get a basic knowledge of self-care, learn songs, poems, doing crafts with own hands. Each beneficiary has their own sad story. Most of them are from disable families. They have been repeatedly subjected to violence, used as slaves and exposed to traffic. This category of people easily fed the negative effects and can be used by criminals.
Employees of our organization have extensive experience in this direction, studying the problems of each beneficiary and plan for the reintegration of each individual.
Over 9 years of work proved that people with psychological disorders, although it was difficult, managed to apply what they had learned in the center. They often start with depression and reach progressive satisfaction after they manage to achieve more independence after developing motor skills. Some even receive specialty (ceramics, sewing, carpentry). They become more informed about the existing problems and know how to avoid them.
The association works in several directions in order to help change attitudes in society towards mentally retarded people. The development and implementation within the rehabilitation center of social services will create better opportunities for social integration of persons in difficult situations, while respecting their fundamental rights. Main objective of the project is an effective social integration of persons with mental retardation and mental illness, based on a comprehensive assessment of the user and his individual needs, strengthening family support.
The participation of our organization in 14 environmental projects increased awareness throughout society, including families themselves, where live mentally ill people, and strengthened the rights and dignity of such people. These events are often covered by local television.
Our participation in different projects, promoting the capabilities and contributions of people with disabilities, thus, fighting stereotypes and prejudices
Problem: Describe the primary problem(s) that your innovation is addressing
The intellectual disabilities of the affected young people lead to a marginalization of such individuals, as they face permanent discrimination. They exist outside the realms of society, incapable of living a self-dependent life and cannot exist without the permanent help of their guardians. The problem arises especially when these people become older. After a certain age, usually after the age of 16, they have no chances to find their place as a productive member in society. After the commencement of the respective schools and boarding schools, the young woman and men cannot get a job because of the low vocational training skills and the existing restrictive attitudes of employers in accepting people with intellectual backwardness. Thus, they do not have means of covering their daily expenses (food, clothing, medication, housing…etc.). Due to their disabilities, these people have the lowest general educational level. They are not able to help themselves, or in a condition to understand the complicated realities of life. The discriminative attitude of society and the danger of being misused from criminal structures complicate the matter further.
Actions: Describe the steps that you are taking to make your innovation a success. Include a description of the business model. What might prevent that success?
The present project proposal aims at developing life-skills and professional abilities of target beneficiaries by organizing activity workshops on sewing, ceramics, making leather and wood handicrafts, shoe repair, and the manufacturing of folk art objects.
For best results, participants will be divided into 3 groups depending on their level of development and capacity.
The first group will include the beneficiaries who have the intention to live independently and earn their living after finishing their training; the second group will include the beneficiaries who will be able to work and to carry out strictly defined activities under supervision; the third group will focus on beneficiaries incapable of working (living only with assistance).
Each group will have its own work plan, i.e. step-by-step training, using new training methodologies and techniques, technical possibilities, taking into account the situation with demand and supply in Moldova. Persons with mental illnesses or disabilities will be trained to develop sewing skills or skills in ceramic and manufacturing and will be supported to obtain employment either in a protective environment or in an otherwise suitable work place, e.g. in their own neighborhood.
Training methodologies will be similar for the first two groups. In workshops, beneficiaries will be trained in the methods required for manufacturing (sewing, ceramics). Taking into account mental health conditions of beneficiaries, they will be divided into groups of 5 - 7 people. Each group will have an assigned instructor, who will not only train the beneficiaries, but will also supervise the dynamics of the beneficiaries’ development.
The training program of the third group will include practical training on primary self-service skills (to eat by themselves, to clean the table, to dress, etc.); practical training on personal hygiene skills; lessons on reading, writing and articulation and trainings with a speech therapist (to correct the grammar of speech, enlarge the vocabulary).
Classes will focus on skills related to small-scale hand-made-productions, using a wide range of materials. Funds raised from the sale of the products will be split between the beneficiaries and the Association, in support of sustaining the program in the long term. This project will support tools and equipment required for the start-up of the production process.
Results: Describe the expected results of these actions over the next three years. Please address each year separately, if possible
First year: Beneficiaries will be trained in ceramics, sewing and carpentry depending on their abilities. Their works will participate in different kinds of exhibitions; will be sold to obtain first income.
Second year: The sewing workshop will be opened for the start-up of the production process. Signing contracts with local organizations for order fulfillment. During this period we will find new opportunities for production – what kind of souvenirs is required on the market.
Third year: The ceramic and carpentry production will start. The center will continue its work and might expand its sale activities in order to increase the living standard of the pupils.
The financial subsistence of the center will be carried out from following sources:
- sale of products;
- continue our cooperation with different charitable organizations in order to:
- open a network of similar centers in the city and the republic;
- increase sale opportunities for the work of the pupils;
- increase the quantity of trained people with intellectual disabilities.
If your innovation seeks to impact public policy, how?
1. Exchanging experiences and cooperating with other NGOs, as well as local and central authorities in matters concerning the coordination of efforts to create a comprehensive system of social services.
2. Cooperating with mass media to influence public opinion.
The main problem is the lack of services for mentally retarded adults. There are only a few NGOs working in this field. Another problem involves the need to further develop the legal and regulatory framework in this area. Our organization, along with other NGOs, involved in the creation and promotion of these laws.