Searching for oneself

This January our project “Discover me. See me. Support me.” came to its end. One of the closing events was a photo exhibition showing the experiences of the young people from one of our Small Group Homes during their photodrama sessions. Photodrama is a psycho dramatic therapeutic approach which was part of the project activities to teach the children and youth skills for independent living.

“I had just started to work at the foundation and I was looking forward to meeting the children. So my first official “meeting” was while we chose and prepared the photos for the exhibition. The photos showed the smiling faces of confident young people. Later in the day I met the kids themselves and the initial impression was confirmed. They communicated with confidence, worked very well in a team and it was a great pleasure to discuss topics that interested them. I was pleasantly surprised to see the actual effect of the work they did with various professionals during the project” – shared Adriana Gotsova, a team member from the central office in Sofia.

The project implementation continued more than a year with the main goal to increase the quality of life of 62 children and young people who live in the Small Group Homes managed by Cedar foundation in Kazanlak and Kyustendil. 48 of the children are diagnosed with severe intellectual disabilities. The project activities included a wide range of individual and group therapeutic work sessions; medical, psychological and social consultations to support independent life skills, various initiatives for social inclusion, and community events.

As a result, the emotional and physical state of the children and youth with intellectual disabilities has improved, they have learned new skills and improved their communication. The mentoring program which provided support to the children with no disabilities was focused on how to work in a group, improve presentation skills and preparation for the transition to independent life. Asking the youths about the project implementation and its effect they shared that they felt heard and appreciated. They were able to express themselves better and observe the response to their emotional needs and issues. Their motivation to go to school increased. They became more aware about the situation on the labour market and their personal development prospects.

“Discover me. Look at me. Support me. Support for independent living and social inclusion.” was funded by the European Union as part of the “Human Resources Development” operational programme. It has been nominated for the “Project of the year 2020” – an award given by the Tulip Foundation in an annual competition for the best projects in the social sector.

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