“Playground for Ability Development” in Rousse gives chance to the most vulnerable children
ROUSSE, 13 October 2009 – “Playground for Ability Development” was opened today in the city of Rousse.The centre was officially opened by Mr. Bojidar Yotov, Mayor of Rousse Municipality and Ms. Diana Vakarelska, Officer in Charge, UNICEF Bulgaria. Ms. Nadya Shabani, Chairperson of the State Agency for Child Protection, Ms. Iliana Malinova, Deputy Director of the Agency for Social Assistance, Mrs. Vesela Banova (child psychologist) and Dr. Mechkunova (child psychiatrist), “Child and Space” Association, attended the event.
“In the beginning of the campaign we urged you to see “the invisible children”. We are used to call these children “different”, with physical and/or intellectual disabilities, with mental and behavioral disorder or children with special needs.”- said Mrs. Diana Vakarelsaka. “I hope that now we do not see problems but opportunities. We feel pride and love instead of embarrassment and burden” she added.
Ms. Nadya Shabani, Chairperson of the State Agency for Child Protection, welcomed the launch of the centre: “Playground for Ability Development is a pioneer project in Bulgaria. I hope to see many “playgrounds” in the country in the near future.”
“Playground for Ability Development” is a new model for integrated health-social community based service in support to children with disabilities and their families. They constantly experience barriers to the enjoyment of their basic human rights and to their inclusion in society. These barriers are result of a lack of accessible integrated services for children with disabilities and their families in Bulgaria. Unfortunately, the activities of Bulgarian governmental and non-governmental organizations involved with the problems of child mental health, are usually partial and not effective. The project “Playground for Ability Development” will examine the functioning of an integrated social- health service which is aimed to compensate the gaps in the current social and health systems.
The project “Playground for Ability Development” in Rousse will provide psychological support and therapy to children with disabilities depending on their particular needs: individual, group and family therapy. The centre will offer stay and care to children up to tree hours a day. The real impact on children’s life would be better inclusion and integration, improvement of their social abilities and development of their full potential.
“Playground for Ability Development” will provide also support to families: therapy, psychological support and group work with parents. Furthermore, there will be a platform for exchange of experience and ideas among experts working in the child care system.
The “Playground for Ability Development” project is launched thanks to the resources raised during the UNICEF campaign “The invisible children”. The total amount of all SMS messages, corporate and individual donations is 137 100 BGL. The funds covered procurement of furniture and special equipment for psychotherapy and psychological support to children with disabilities. Tree halls have been already equipped: one hall for little children and children with special needs (psychomotor hall), another one for group work with young people and parents and a conference hall.
The project is supported by the Municipality of Rousse. The Centre for psychological support will be coordinated by “Child and Space” Association’. Its team consists of highly qualified experts, experienced in work with disabled children.
About the “Invisible Children” campaign
“The Invisible Children” campaign for children with disabilities took place from February to May 2009 and was aimed at changing attitudes towards the “invisible” and “different” children. We are used to call these children “different”, with physical and/or intellectual disabilities, with mental and behavioral disorder or children with special needs. Children with disabilities and their families constantly experience barriers to the enjoyment of their basic human rights and to their inclusion in society. Yet, the barriers they face are more frequently as a result of the environment in which they live, attitudes than as a result of their impairment. Their abilities are overlooked, their capacities are underestimated and their needs are given low priority. A proper support to these children would provide them with the opportunity to reach their full potential and fully integrate into the society.
For more information, please contact:
Tzvetelina Bonova, Commucation Officer