Photo: Belarusian Children's Hospice
Launched in early 2016, our project in Belarus protects and promotes the rights of children with severe disabilities and life-limiting conditions, as well as their families.
Our local partner, the Belarusian Children's Hospice, is the only national children's palliative care service in Belarus, providing a comprehensive range of medical, social and psychological support to children and their families throughout the country. It strives to enable families to care for their severely disabled or chronically ill children at home, meaning they can avoid prolonged stays in hospital of months or even years. It aims to maintain the best possible quality of life for its patients, and create positive experiences during their brief lives which can be shared and enjoyed with their families.
Our initial project helped to strengthen the capacity of the Belarusian Children's Hospice to develop its role as a leader in advocating for the rights of children with disabilities and terminal conditions at the local, regional and national levels. We also developed and piloted an innovative model of a community-based advocacy service, which provided vulnerable families with disabled children access to legal advice and other support services in three areas of Belarus.
In April 2020, we were awarded a three-year grant from the European Commission to continue and expand our activities in Belarus as part of a new project ‘Building effective advocacy mechanisms to better protect the rights of children with severe disabilities and life-limiting conditions in Belarus”. This builds upon our previous work in the country, and see us partner again with the Belarusian Children’s Hospice, as well as the Mogilev branch of the Belarusian Children’s Fund, the Association of Parents with Prematurely Born Children (RANO), and the Office for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
This project focuses on providing advocacy and legal support to families, empowering parents as advocates for the rights of their children, and developing early intervention services for new families. We are working with local partners to develop a national monitoring system to ensure that the needs and rights of children living in state institutions are recognised and protected.
In 2021 we have continued our work dedicated to the rights and wellbeing of disabled and seriously ill children. Though the political situation in Belarus makes the continuation of all national NGO work challenging, we hope to be able to continue supporting our local partners and all the fantastic work we do as we enter 2022.
Please read Milana’s story here to see how our advocacy programme is helping disabled children to receive an education fitting their abilities.
Local partner: Belarusian Children's Hospice
Beatrice Laing Trust
St James' Place Foundation