This afternoon we had a meeting with the Mayor of the Chausy Region, Mayor Anatoli Matulin, to discuss the projects we had completed as well as our future initiatives. He thanked us for the work that we do to help his community and he was really appreciative of all of our activity. We were discussing our work with the families of invalid children and invalid adults and he told us that we had helped to change his outlook and attitude towards these members of his community. Since for the most part, this group has been hidden and shunned from society it was not something that he had spent time thinking about, but our commitment to help bring them out and integrate them into society has caused him to stop and consider their place in in the community and he is very happy with direction in which we are all headed.
We were invited to participate in a round table discussion with various authorities as well as Irina Denisyenko, who heads up the Families of Invalid Children organization in the Chausy Region. Our shared vision for this group is to help integrate people with disabilities into main stream society and help raise awareness in the community. Reports from the past year were presented to discuss what worked and what challenges were faced. It was amazing to hear all of the success they had with hand making and selling items at fairs and bazaars, and the pride that these children and adults felt at being involved in their community. This “social workshop” is so important and we heard from two mothers, one who explained that her daughter, Nastia, told her every morning as she got ready to go to the workshop that she had to go to “school” and a second who’s boy, Misha, told her every morning that he had to go to “work”. The improvement in self esteem is amazing! The largest challenge was the news that they were losing their workshop space as the local Social Services organization needed it.
Here are some of the participants with Elena Pahomenko who chaired the meeting.
Later we met with Vitalli who is Continue reading