The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) is implementing a project to increase the availability of educational social services for children with disabilities in Georgia. The project includes creating three care centers located in Gori, Tbilisi and Kareli; as well as coordinating advanced training for the staff of these centers.
During the course of the project, ADRA Georgia will overhaul the premises of the existing institutions by providing new equipment and furniture to provide the necessary conditions for the proper care of the students. The total number of students in these centers is currently as follows: Tbilisi - 41 students, ages 6 to 18 years, with disabilities and intellectual disabilities; Kareli - 15 students, ages 6-18 years old, with disabilities and physical disabilities; Gori – 40 students, ages 0-7 years, with limited development and physical abilities.
Work has already begun on the creation and equipment of the new Daily Child Care Center in Kareli. The existing Child Care Center, which is supervised by the local non-governmental organization, Center for Development and Welfare, is the only institution of its kind in Karelia to care for children with disabilities. Unfortunately, the rented premises, in which the center is currently located, is too crowded for its 15 students.
To solve this problem, and create conditions for a larger number of students, local authorities donated a more spacious site of eight rooms, in which there is enough space for a large number of children. However, the allocated site is in very poor condition and requires major repairs and re-equipment, which will be completed as part of the project. The opening of a new center in the larger renovated space, will improve conditions for students, parents and employees; as well as allow an additional 17 students to be admitted ,bringing their total number to 32 by the end of 2019. The Center for Rehabilitation and Medical Assistance, a rehabilitation and treatment center for children with disabilities, will also be created in Tbilisi. It will be overseen by the local non-governmental organization "The Child and the Environment," which currently oversees the care of 41 students. All of these students currently undergo rehabilitation, physiotherapy and psychological treatment in the Central Children's Hospital in Iashvili.
While the hospital is not a great distance from the existing center, approximately 8.5 km, the organization does not have its own transportation. The children must take a public bus with two transfers on the way and, for children with disabilities, this is a challenging trip. They often miss classes at the center on the day of their hospital visit due to the length of the trip. They could also be forced to skip treatment at the hospital if no family member is available to take them.
In the new center, which will be on a different floor of the building, students will be able to receive qualified rehabilitation assistance and other necessary care on the spot, without having to go to the hospital. The services of the new center will be available not only to the students of the organization, but to other children as well.
The third Center, created under the project, will be the Daily Care Center for Children with Disabilities in Gori. This Center is designed to implement the Early Child Intervention (ECI) program for children with various physical and psychological disabilities, who are under the age of seven years. At present, there are no such specialized state institutions in Gori capable of effectively carrying out this crucial program. The Biliki Society, the local non-governmental organization, will supervise the Center and coordinate the ECI program.
According to the normative acts of the Georgian government, at least eight lessons per month should be conducted with each child included in the ECI program. Depending on the age group, these classes are divided into individual home visits and group classes in the center.
In November 2018, the local authorities allocated a new, more spacious room to the Center, in which there is enough space for the necessary number of ECI classes and for the provision of proper care for all students.
Another important element of the project is a specialized advanced training program for personnel of the above-mentioned organizations. In order to significantly improve the quality of work of these centers, and to ensure their long-term operation, it is important to improve the skills and knowledge of the staff working there on a daily basis. This training program will cover such topics as: coping with behavioral disorders in children with disabilities (positive behavioral therapy using a special treatment methodology to improve productivity and learning) and working with children with defiant behavior (identifying and understanding children's specific behavior to determine behavior correction). These seminars on advanced training will be attended by five employees from each of the three participating organizations in the project. They will be held in Tbilisi, in a room provided by the Center for Development and Welfare.
Last year, ADRA Georgia carried out a similar project to improve the living conditions for the socially vulnerable segments of society, particularly children and women.. Then, within the framework of the project, ADRA repaired seven different premises belonging to two local non-governmental organizations: The Child and The Environment and the Bilika Society.As a result, the infrastructure was completely renovated in two Daily Care Centers in the cities of Rustavi and Tbilisi; in four home-based orphanages - one in Gori, two in Khashuri and one in the village of Norio; as well as in a shelter for women with children in Khashuri.
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