Sunday 21 January 2018 | 09:14

One man does not make a team, but united we are able to do a lot

22.12.2017  |  Society   |  Yauheniya Burshtyn, EuroBelarus,  
One man does not make a team, but united we are able to do a lot Photo by "EuroBelarus" information service

In Ščučyn, people with disabilities learned to be leaders and to advocate their interests.

The "EuroBelarus" website already wrote about the project being implemented in Stolin in the framework of the campaign "Agenda 50". Another pilot settlement is Ščučyn where an ongoing work is taking place on the creation of a local agenda on the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. "EuroBelarus" information service visited the town, and also came to a two-day "Leader School" held by a regional organization of the Belarus Red Cross Society in Hrodna in the framework of the project "Active Community".

Photo by "EuroBelarus" information service

The "Leader School" was designed to teach participants to create a team and to work together to solve problems. The training, much of which was devoted to advocacy and self-help skills, was attended by the most active citizens. There were, among them, clients of day care units for people with disabilities and day care units for the elderly of a Territorial Centre of Social Service, parents of children with disabilities, employees of a Ščučyn-based Centre of Social Service.

Photo by "EuroBelarus" information service

However, public organizations’ representatives in the town are not very proactive.

- Thanks to the many-years experience of working with people with disabilities, I realized that we shouldn’t cultivate social dependency. Unfortunately, there are families in which people are convinced that everyone owes something to them. While many problems can be easily solved by one’s own participation. Due to the active position of each person we can achieve very good results to improve our lives, believes Inesa Larionava, coordinator of the "Active Community" project from the Hrodna regional organization of the Belarus Red Cross Society. By and large, you need to rely on yourself and your close ones. After all, who knows better their needs than a person him/herself? Not heads of government institutions and public organizations. We must start with ourselves and move forward by small steps.

Inesa Larionava. Photo by "EuroBelarus" information service

Inesa Larionava notes that in recent years the mentality of people has been significantly changed, and there are more of those who are willing to demand for equality. One could have received the evidence during the work of the "Leader School": even among friends, many participants suddenly showed themselves people of action, being strongly motivated. With the help of a specialist from Hrodna regional organization of the Belarus Red Cross Society, Alena Pauliankovič they were creating teams, analyzing problems faced by people with disabilities in Ščučyn, designating needs and actions, and resources, learning to promote their interests in the course of two days.

Alena Pauliankovič. Photo by "EuroBelarus" information service

- We realized that no man is an island, and we should be united and solve our problems as a community, shared her impressions from the training Anna, a participant.

She was supported by Dmitry, a client of the day care unit for people with disabilities of the Territorial Centre of Social Service:

- We should work as a united team. I’ve learned that everything should be done step by step, and in order to achieve something, you need to aspire to it.

Photo by "EuroBelarus" information service

- We hope that the project participants would take a more proactive stand, as well as that people who should help, would not work following the principle of "the inevitable good." Sometimes it seems to us as if we knew better what a person needs, and so we force him/her to do what we believe to be the best for them. Therefore, the project results should be the abilities to hear and to understand each other, and more, to interact, shares her expectations Inesa Larionava.

The activities to address the rights of people with disabilities in the town and in district have been supported by the administration of the Ščučyn Executive Committee. In parallel with the training session, we had the opportunity to meet with deputy chairman of the Ščučyn Executive Committee Hanna Hvyadziuk. According to her, the project "Active Community" is very important for the district, and the state bodies and public institutions intend to do everything possible for people with disabilities did not feel themselves discriminated in anything.

Project coordinator of the EU Delegation in Belarus Natallia Stasevič also came to the meeting. She intentionally made a trip to Ščučyn to talk about the possibilities of participation in international projects, including the ones in the framework of cross-border cooperation. Natallia Stasevič also reminded that one should not reduce the concept of the Convention exclusively to physical or mental disability.

- It applies to basic human rights issues. People with disabilities are the same citizens of the Republic of Belarus, and they should also be able to attend cultural events, receive aesthetic pleasure. So these self-help groups should teach and encourage them to talk what they want, what they lack.

Natallia Stasevič. Photo by "EuroBelarus" information service

The first such opportunity will be opened in January under the same project "Active Community": participants will gather at a round table to summarize all studied issues and needs, and afterwards they will attend meeting of the Coordinating Interdepartmental Council where they will discuss the solutions to the challenges of people with disabilities.

***

This article was created within the framework of “Rights of Persons with Disabilities: Agenda for Belarus (Agenda 50)” international project.

“Agenda 50” campaign is implemented with the support of the European Union and in partnership with TUS Foundation (Poland) and “European House” (Denmark). Office for the Rights of Persons with DisabilitiesInternational Consortium “EuroBelarus” and Centre for European Transformation participate in the implementation of the campaign in Belarus.

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