We, organization „ Vilniaus Viltis“ organized the project “Strengthening of Organization „Vilniaus Viltis“ and advocacy of persons of intellectual disabilities interests”. The aim of Project was to strengthen and empower organization representing the interest of people with intellectual disabilities.
They live longer and need specialized services, as they are faced with the changing society. New means of social communication (internet, facebook, etc.) leads to their greater isolation. Therefore, it is important to assess and review the current services, identify the needs of individual members, to improve and build services that meet their needs. Thanks to the Project social worker visited families, has been given information about possible social services, counseling and training on new technologies. Longer life expectancy allows more people to learn and acquire more skills, which they can customize the professional activities, but skill customization is just one of the employment process. To gain labour market demand profession is the main integration of the disabled into the labour market challenge. People with intellectual disabilities are facing self reliance problem, also they are not able to notice themselves as employees and this was the main focus for labour mediator. The result is - 11 persons with intellectual disabilities working. In order to represent the interests of the organization members, we have conducted meetings with the main objective was to expand the mind of people with disabilities employment opportunities. During these meetings began a close relationship with the social representatives of companies who agree to go into a dialogue on people with intellectual disabilities employment.
Second, serious problem that project helped to solve was information about the Organization „Vilniaus Viltis“ members codify and update. As the organization unites 2000 members, some are more actively involved, but it is hard to reach members and control data, due to the large amount of information. Data has long been recorded in the books, whose condition was very poor. In aid of Project we created a new database, which placed all the updated information about our members and their families. From now on, organization‘s employees can more easily find the right contact and see the need for the services, according to which the creation and development of services.
Also, thanks to the Project, organization personnel had the opportunity to deepen their knowledge and skills to strengthen the competencies required for direct work with people with intellectual disabilities. Team became stronger that has the skills and abilities to perform not only assigned tasks but also to develop, propose and organize new activities. Organization staff competence expanded from the direct provision of services to the disabled interest representation in various fields, institutions, events.
Because of additional funds and attention to the organization's image and visibility, we had the opportunity to publicize relevant issues, to spread the message about the people who live among us and who need help. A new, interactive website, which reflects the organizations „Vilniaus Viltis“ activities, services, photographs, articles of support, partners, sponsors, etc. There is also an active volunteer's board. New technologies help to find us easier and let us be active in social media.
The ability to explore and see what kind of social services provided to persons with intellectual disabilities in Iceland has strengthened our representatives. Our labour mediator got skills to establish contacts with the social partners and potential employers. Representatives of the partners of the Panevėžys and Joniškis also went deep into the areas that are most relevant to their work specifics. Both the visit and the training, was very useful and rich with information. We established close relationship with partners in Iceland and we are waiting for response about the new Project with them.
Organized social campaigns, during which we tried to point out some of the problems have contributed to the organization's publicity and promotion of people with disabilities tolerance. Campaigns got reactions from more than 160 people, who met persons with intellectual disabilities and saw positive examples of integration. Our organization members participated actively, communicated with no fear and presented their crafts. Volunteers helped to prepare for celebrations and participated.
In general project aim is achieved, we strengthen the mind of people with disabilities and organizations representing self-improved representation of members' interests. And the project was funded by EEA Grants.