Privilege to go further than we intended
The ‚ÄúSperanta‚ÄĚ Center appeared for two reasons. Beginning with 1998, we were a group of parents, members of the Supporting Families with Disabilities Association, and we wanted our children to socialize. Until then, they spent most of their time at home, only with their mothers. Thus the idea emerged to create a center that would offer them the opportunity to be with their peers.
The second purpose appeared when we gathered together six children of the same age. We wanted to teach them personal autonomy. We started by teaching them how to eat on their own, without help, how to dress and undress, how to switch the light when they go to the bathroom. These are basic things which every child without disabilities learns without difficulty. For our children it was different. This is why from the very beginning the ‚ÄúSperanta‚ÄĚ team intended to have a Center which will provide high quality services, very important for the development of each child. We have never abandoned our high quality goal, even when it was extremely difficult to keep it.
The vision expanded later when I went abroad for an exchange. Our abroad friends, besides the fact that they have helped enormously to develop the center, they helped us to expand our business horizon, the vision on what we need to do and how. Therefore the Center set another goal: inclusive education. An additional factor was the ‚ÄúSperanta‚ÄĚ Center location, around the Primary School no. 2. Since then, every Sept. 1st, about 700 children passes near ‚ÄúSperanta‚ÄĚ, to school, with bunches of flowers for teachers. It is a frustration to know that this holiday is not for your children, which, because of a particular reason need to stay home. That is why we acted. We have results, now.
Then, there appeared other purposes, all driven by the desire to follow the growing needs of our children. Today if you look back on the road, I see that the snowball that was rolled by the ‚ÄúSperanta‚ÄĚ team in the first 10 years was great, very great. We have the privilege to be happy on that, because we have got more than we wanted, we went much further than we intended. And this happened because people were involved with everything they had better and helped us not only to do what we intended, but also to improve our activity.
If i should find to ‚ÄúSperanta‚ÄĚ Center a place in the context of 1998, then I think that we were the first who promoted a alternative service for institutionalization. By then, the only proposed solution to parents was to institutionalize their children with disabilities, and nothing in place. ‚ÄúSperanta‚ÄĚ came with a change of view on children with disabilities and the services that the child needs.
If i should find to ‚ÄúSperanta‚ÄĚ a place in the context of 2008, I think today the Center has the role of advocate for children with disabilities, promotes and is assisting in creating a framework to protect the rights of children with disabilities, is contributing in creation of ¬†¬†funding mechanisms for legal mechanism implementation, etc. We have already created models that have shown their efficacy in practice. Today, the ‚ÄúSperanta‚ÄĚ Center is a promoter of new ideas based on real needs of children with disabilities; is looking for some¬† ways to integrate children into the general education system based on new methods and when the social integration is not possible – the main goal is to build home care service system for that child.
Lucia GavriliŇ£ńÉ, co-founder of ‚ÄúSperanŇ£a‚ÄĚ Centre