Vikov is an adult institution for people with learning and physical disabilities. Many of the children from Zhuravichi institution are sent there at 18.
Over ten years ago we began to take humanitarian aid there, and since 2004 we have funded two teachers to work with some of the most profoundly disabled young adults. These are people for whom institutional care is all they have ever known, and all they are ever likely to know. They grew up without an education and with very little input into their development and well being.
Our teachers, Ludmilla and Sveta, have made a huge difference to the lives of many. They work from a small classroom where they hold lessons and arts and craft activities. They have become mentors to the young people as well as teachers, and brighten up their lives on a daily basis.
We converted a large and bleak room into a communal space where everyone can meet, the walls were painted, new floor put in and a TV/DVD player installed. Of course, much more is needed to change the lives of these young adults. For the last two years we have taken volunteers there during the summer to work with them, and we take several young adults on Sanatorium holidays when we can.
We have also carried out training sessions at Vikov with staff, focusing on areas such as disability awareness and managing challenging behaviour. There is still a lot to be done in order to improve the lives of residents at Vikov.
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