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Ukrainian-American Birth Defects Program

The "Legal Support of Disabled Children in Rivne Oblast" Project implementation

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November 11, 2003

Lyubov Yevtushok,
UABDP Medical Director

Despite of ratification by Ukraine of all international documents concerning human rights in general and disabled persons rights in particular, and the fact that equal opportunities for invalids are guaranteed by the Ukrainian Constitution, the situation with legal assistance to disabled children in Ukraine is still critical.

The problem's actuality is called forth by the fact that in Rivne there are more than 5000 disabled children.

The main causes of such situation are the following:
  • insufficient information distribution among the general population and especially among disabled persons and their relatives about their own rights;

  • actual isolation of invalids and their families from public life due to absence of effective state procedures for disabled children rehabilitation.

That is why the Initiative Group of Rivne Oblast Charity Foundation "Leleka" with support of US Embassy in Ukraine Democracy Foundation, Ukrainian-American Birth Defects Program and Alliance for the Prevention of Birth Defects started in the middle of 2002 the Project "Legal Support of Disabled Children in Rivne Oblast". The Project was implemented during 12 months of 2002-2003. The Project's Initiative Group contained medical professionals, teachers, lawyers and affected children parents.

Initiative Group meeting
Initiative Group meeting

The Project aimed to improve the situation with legal assistance to disabled children by means of information support to parental groups and informing the community about new approaches to disability.

The main tasks of the Project were:

  1. Promotion of disabled children parental support groups activities.
  2. Informing the community about new approaches to disability and familiarization with the social rights and equal opportunities for invalids:
    1. Changing the public opinion of children with disabilities as "special needs" children.
    2. Influencing on the local authorities for:
      • creation conditions for special needs children to obtain full medical care in the framework of currents health care system;
      • creation and promotion of state rehabilitation programs which foresee not only medical assistance, but also social rehabilitation of special needs children and their families.

The Project's implementation allowed increasing level of population's acknowledgement with the aspects of legal assistance to persons with disabilities and modern approaches to disability in general.

During the year 2 round tables, 1 seminar (Legal Support of Disabled Children; Principles of Parental Support Groups Activities) and 1 inter-regional scientific conference (Actual Aspects of Social and Medical Rehabilitation of Special Needs Children) took place. Two manuals - "Fundamentals of Disabled Children Legal Support" and "Down syndrome: Diagnosis, Care, and Prevention" were published.

Manuals published within the project's framework     Manuals published within the project's framework
Manuals published within the project's framework

The process of Project's implementation was broadly covered by the mass media.

Support of the activities of Rivne NGO Parental Association of Special Needs Children made it possible to make strong contacts with local authorities. Thus, on November 26, 2002 with support of Ms. Vira Kobylianska (Deputy of Rivne Oblast Rada) a representative of Parental Association presented the Round Table Resolution to the Rada's deputies. This very Resolution was also presented by the NGO Head Mr. Victor Khomyuk to the deputies of Rivne Municipal Rada in the form of address to the Rivne Governor Mr. Mykola Soroka and Rivne Mayor Mr. Victor Chaika.

of the Round Table "New Approaches to Disability"
November 20, 2002
Rivne, Ukraine

We, the Participants of the Round Table "New Approaches to Disability" take into account the increasing number of disabled children in Rivne oblast and insufficient level of their social rehabilitation; we try to change the traditional approach to disability problem and combine efforts of medical professionals, educators and special needs children parents. We address to the Head of Rivne Oblast State Administration, Head of Rivne Oblast Council, representatives of Public organizations and Funds with the following requests and proposals:

  1. INFLUENCE the social opinion forming for changing the term "invalid-children" for "special needs children" or "children with limited abilities".

  2. ENGAGE parental support groups representatives into decisions making in the matters that deal with children rights and interests.

  3. DEVELOP and approve the oblast complex program for birth defects and infantile disability prevention. Engage Health Care Administration, Department of Youth and Family Affairs and other related organizations and institutions into the program's implementation.

  4. CREATE an oblast medical-pedagogical rehabilitation center for special needs children taking into account peculiarities of distant rural areas population. Modern rehabilitation methods should be realized in the center.

  5. PROMOTE the Rivne NGO "Parental Association of Special Needs Children" and other parental supports groups activities and take into account their propositions and requests when planning events for children under their wardship.

  6. GUARANTEE the broad access to the modern information about programs and services for disabled persons by means of combining efforts of Department of Youth and Family Affairs, Department of Labor and Social Assistance and other related organizations and institutions.

  7. EXTEND the system of population active education in collaboration with the Ukrainian-American Birth Defects Program for birth defects and infantile disability prevention by means of strengthening the abilities of informational resource OMNI Center.

  8. SUPPORT the Project of Early Stimulation of Intellectual Development of Orphans for Prevention of Mental Disabilities with engagement of students-volunteers of Rivne State Humanitarian University by resources available from the Department of Youth and Family Affairs, Department of Labor and Social Assistance and other related organizations and institutions.

  9. DEVELOP the program of all state institutions and municipal transport equipping with the special facilities to be used by disabled persons.

  10. ENCOURAGE the private enterprises to include into their activities aspects related to persons with disabilities, especially vacancies for invalids.

One of the results of the Project realization is the Rivne City Administration's decision to create the Center of Social and Education Rehabilitation for young children with special needs (September 2003). The Early Intervention techniques will be implemented in the Center.

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