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Disability related social projects

Integration camp for disabled people ‘Move it 2016‘

Maltesers have been organizing the „Move freely ” Camp for the past three years in order to help young people that recently became disabled. Young people with disabilities in the camps are encouraged to pursue the same goals: to create a family, to realize their skills in the labor market, to live an active social life. Campers are also trained to manage a wheelchair, self-moving in the city, crafts or art – everything that would encourage more self-confidence and return to normal life. The main objective of the camp is to raise the faith of the disabled towards the future.

Ten years ago Zbignev Zayenkovsky started his “friendship” with a wheelchair. The unsuccessful jump in water has changed not only the young man’s life, but also the life of his whole family. “Having heard the verdict of doctors that I will never walk again, I did not feel much disappointed; I said that I will ride from now on. Now I can see that even while living in the capital my movement by the wheelchair is very limited. Such camps are especially needed for people with disabilities, as the organizers choose spaces that allow them to move more freely with the wheelchair. In addition, we can be more in nature, strengthen spiritually and physically, find new friends, with whom the communication continues after the return “, – shares the thoughts Zbignevas..

Slava Mingėlas thinks also in the same way. His life has changed little more than a year ago. That fateful night on a return from Klaipėda to the capital his car collided with a moose. “Just one second and my life have changed cardinally. At first it was very difficult, I thought that I would have to lie in my bed for the rest of life, but my parents helped me to strengthen up, I am absolutely grateful to them.

Even then my father said that I must live like everyone else. A couple of months ago my dad bought me a car, fitted for disabled, so now I feel much more independent. At the camp I realized that I could go back to the labor market. Of course, as before, I will not be able to repair cars, but I have learned about the program of vocational rehabilitation and I plan to study a new craft “, – told Slava.

She is no more afraid of passersby glimpses

Another camp participant Vitalija Stasiulienė was working with disabled and the elderly people before the trauma at the car accident. A woman remembers that at that time – five years ago – she was on parental leave, her son was only nine months old. “I received help from my mother, who returned from the work abroad to help me and my son. My leader suggested to extend the maternity leave till the child will be three years old and return to work, but at that time this proposal seemed to me to be completely unrealistic, so I refused it “, – remembers the woman.

After the accident, Vitalija did not leave home for two years, and when she decided to do so, she was disturbed by the sights of the passers-by, as the child walked next to the wheelchair. Women have been participating in Maltesers camps not for the first time. After them she feels more courageous, more active. Vitalija strives to participate everywhere, and supports young people sharing her experiences. “Such camps give a lot of things, I saw how other people who are moving wheelchairs live, the life becomes easier after medical advices for medicine, hygiene, wheelchair control”, says Vitalija.

The instructors success stories inspire people with disabilities

Instructed disabled people take care of disabled people. Mentors are the people, also having a disability, living a full life, while moving only in wheelchairs. They share experiences about disabilities, such as the ability to travel by car, public transport, and aircraft, about self-service, work and recreation. Mentors become the main authority for the participants and inspire young people with disabilities by their stories of success.

Remigijus Šykšta from Kuršėnai was injured while working in construction when he was16 years old. The man remembers his feelings at that time. When he first arrived at a similar camp, he realized that there were many friends of his fate around him, who, instead of being locked up at home, were driving, studying, traveling and he began thinking that he could do all this. After returning home, he began to exercise, learned from specialists how to help the disabled, and when he got enough knowledge and experience, he became a camp instructor. “I try to help. I am glad when I see how the participants get stronger, they begin to manage themselves, move more “, Remigijus says.

Another instructor Raimide Bučinskytė from Siauliai did not recover for a long time after teenage trauma. She spent four years sitting at home on the couch and waiting for a moment to start walking. Maybe it would be a long way to go if not active people with disabilities who, having learned about it, have invited her to an active rehabilitation camp. Already after the first day the girl realized she could live without mother’s help.

The most difficult thing is to find volunteers

One of the organizers of the camp, volunteer from Klaipeda, Vitalijus Žurkelis says that he has succeeded in attracting a significant number of people every year. This year there are 12 participants in the camp moving in wheelchairs, assisted by six disabled instructors and 12 volunteers. The organizer says that the camp is changing every year as they are learning from experience and from mistakes. Outdoor spaces are more used; more interesting programs were created there also.

“The most difficult thing was to find volunteers. We asked colleges, universities, but only a few people responded, so we had to ask Maltesers from the capital for the help, “says V. Žurkelis. According to him, such camps require a considerable amount of time and money, but the emotions, smiles and perceptions of the participants regain everything, as the participation there can change the life of a disabled person. They go home happy, find friends, exchange contacts and, most importantly, realize that life with a wheelchair does not stop.

International camp for disabled youth ‘MaltaCamp’

‘MaltaCamp’ is a traditional annual summer camp intended for disabled young people. ‘MaltaCamp 2016’ was organized in Austria. Lithuanian delegation for the camp was composed of 7 disabled people that were attended by Malteser volunteers. In total, there were 500 disabled people and their assistants from all around the world.

Funding for attendance of Lithuanian delegation was provided by sponsors (donation website www.aukok.lt) and special donation from various business companies.