Our efforts to develop two Early Intervention services in Mariupol’ have met a number of challenges. While the city of Mariupol’ was prepared to support these services, they weren’t able to fund the training needed for the team of Early Intervention professionals who would provide them. A way to train these teams to deliver early rehabilitation - which has a different approach and philosophy - was found, but we still hope that this can be developed into a genuine Early Intervention approach in time, and are doing what we can to support this. We've also had a setback in that the centre earmarked for a range of services has been closed and major repairs planned. 

But our new project, ‘Inclusive Pryazovia’, kindly supported by the Human Rights programme of Open Society Foundations, should be significant for us. Pryazovia is the part of Donetsk Region that has effectively been cut off from support for various reasons, including the military situation. This has meant that many of the issues faced by the city of Mariupol’ and surrounding area have been resolved locally, rather than at regional level. Though not always damaging, this has had a negative impact on funding for services provided to children and young people with disabilities. While in theory schemes are in place (Early rehabilitation services, nurseries and schools, etc.), their implementation often falls far short of expectations. 

We will work with the relevant authorities in Mariupol and nearby villages to expand inclusive spaces for children with disabilities and their families, and to develop models for inter-agency cooperation that can ensure quality care, beginning with Early Intervention, and then services that address the needs of older children and their families. 

The project will establish communication between parents, Inclusive Education Resource Centres and other state bodies, and develop a guide for community activists; “A Roadmap for Financing Inclusion”. A range of large and small-scale events are planned to reach these goals, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it may be necessary to hold mass gatherings like the “Inclusive Pryazovia” forum online. As the timeframe for completing the “Inclusive Pryazovia” project is 22 months, there is sufficient time to adapt such events to circumstances beyond our control. 

We would like to thank HealthProm for showing us how to get off to a good start in our efforts to develop new services at community level.

Elena Kravchenko

Believe In Yourself

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