FHI 360 Moldova

Life and vocational skills for self-sufficiency: A pathway to empowerment for Moldova’s people with disabilities

“We started with stitching floral embroideries, but they were not selling well. We realized that we should stitch more icons, because there is a higher demand for them”, said Denis and Irina, a disabled couple who learned stitching at the Tiraspol-based Center of Rehabilitation and Consulting “OSORC”. The young couple hasn’t visited the Center in several months, because with OSORC’s help, they have found employment at a local market.

The organization, which operates in the de-facto capital of Moldova’s breakaway Transnistria region, provides skills training, including buying groceries and cooking, to its 60+ beneficiaries, who live with a range of mental and physical disabilities and are between the ages of 8 and 42. The Center’s beneficiaries learn to read and write, and most of them also gain handcrafting skills, such as embroidering and shoemaking, which help them earn their living. With the support of Moldova Partnerships for Sustainable Civil Society (MPSCS), a program funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by FHI 360, OSORC has also embarked upon engaging people with disabilities (PWD) and their families in public decision making and raising the awareness about PWD rights.

OSORC’s Director Ludmila Borodina explained that despite improving public attitudes toward PWD, it is still difficult for them to secure jobs or to enroll in public schools: “Although our beneficiaries are sometimes able to work better than others, employers are reluctant to hire them because they do not know how to deal with people with mental disabilities.” She emphasized the importance of educating potential employers and changing their views about PWD. Byorganizing MasterClasses on handcrafts, Talent Fairs, Open Doors, and Summer Schools, Ludmila and her team aim to provide opportunities for their beneficiaries togain public support, promote their interests, and to showcase and sell their handwork.

The Center’s assistance also extends to the parents of PWD, who receive legal advice and psycho-social support at the Center. They learn to empower their children through developing their identities and improving their self-confidence, as well as how to properly share responsibilities in such families. “I am grateful that my daughter has been attending this Center since she was 11. Usually, parents support people with diagnosis like hers all their lives. I did the same, but since having a stroke a year ago, I cannot even take care of myself. So my daughter, who is now 25, cooks, shops, cleans the house, and even takes care of me with all the love I had once given her,” noted Irina’s mother Nadejda.

OSORC, which has trained 100 people with intellectualdisabilitiesand their family members in actively engaging in the society, is working to expand its work in advocacy for PWD. To raise awareness of their beneficiaries’ needs at the policy level, the organization will survey250 people in the coming months to identify any impediments in exercising the rights of Transnistria’s estimated 5000 PWD. Following the survey, OSORC will create a public-private platform to discuss the identified problems andhow de-facto authorities can improve protection of PWD rights. 

 

 
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Get to Know the CSO that Represents You!

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