On May 30, 2023, our team from the Centre for Social Rehabilitation and Integration (CSRI) in Kyustendil visited the services of our colleagues from Maria’s World Foundation in Sofia.
Our hosts welcomed us at the newest service of the organization in “Nadezhda” neighborhood. There we got to know the work of the young people they work with, in the fully equipped and professional kitchen, in the paper recycling and in the household activities workshops. We walked in the garden and saw a work session with the young people maintaining the yard. In their break we chatted and they showed us where and how they compost the natural waste from the kitchen and garden.
“I was most impressed by how structured, orderly and relaxed the work was in each of the workshops. The observance of clear and understandable rules by everyone – both by the colleagues and especially by the young people, make everyday life easier and help to build a routine” – said Pavlina Ivanova, Manager of CSRI after the visit.
It was very interesting to learn about the overall approach in working with young people with intellectual disabilities of the colleagues from “Maria’s World”, how they introduce and follow basic rules and how this facilitates the smooth introduction of newcomers to group activities. Divided into small groups, we entered the cooking studio and the art workshop, and at the end we were shown how all the young people participate in the daily cleaning of the service premises. The young people worked confidently with professional cleaning, laundry and ironing equipment and demonstrated the work skills they had learnt.
“I really like it that the colleagues only work with natural materials in the art workshops and I would love to take this into my work.” said Desi Anakieva, art therapist at our service. And the very next day after the visit to the colleagues from Maria’s World, Juliet Kasabova, our psychologist, used some of the ideas given to us to introduce common rules and communication with young people with intellectual disabilities.
We brought the colleagues some flowers and seeds for their garden. And we left after having tasted the great almond cookies made by the youth, and with a very positive attitude about the shared experience.
The visit to Maria’s World Foundation was part of the exchange of good practices between the two organizations and happened after they had visited us a few years ago.