Miras Moldova Hosts Training to Raise Awareness of the Situation of People with Disabilities
Since spring 2017, the Miras-Moldova Public Association has been partnering with Comrat’s Moldovan Lyceum to develop and implement an informational training on the situation of individuals with disabilities. The Lyceum’s director originally suggested the project. She found a grant writing opportunity via the Academy of Central European Schools (ACES). Each year, ACES holds a grant-writing contest for Central European schools. This year’s theme was “Act local. Every person matters. Together for social inclusion.” The director asked Daniel Gottfried, second-year Peace Corps English Education Volunteer, to organize a group and head the grant-writing initiative.
Daniel then approached the Miras-Moldova Program Coordinator Nadya Guseinova and Peace Corps Community and Organizational Development Volunteer Haley Bader, seeking partnership. The organization agreed to collaborate. The ACES call invited schools from 15 countries to organize teams of students, aged 13-17, to draft project proposals on the theme of “social cohesion, inclusion or overcoming discrimination and marginalization.” Daniel, Nadya and Haley met with a group of students several times to brainstorm for the grant, decide on potential activities and create a promotional video for the contest. The students chose work on “Discrimination Against People With Disabilities in Gagauzia.”
The proposed project included plans for trainings in three local schools and a picnic with students, teachers, disabled youth from the local rehabilitative center “Fidanjik” and their families.
In less than a month, the proposal was complete. By April, the students knew – their project had been accepted, and they received a grant of 800 Euro to implement their plan.
On Sunday, October 22 the students arrived at the Miras-Moldova office ready to implement the first stage of their project. The students had decided to partner with Chisinau nonprofit organization “MotivatsieMotivatsie,” whose coordinators would provide a professional training on the subject of disabilities. The students planned to take the knowledge and activities acquired in this training and develop their own specialized training for two Comrat schools.
Motivatsie’s psychologist Ecaterina Surdu and Public Relations Specialist Victoria Botan led the 4-hour training session. Five students, Daniel, Haley and Miras-Moldova Executive Director Olga Chayuk also participated in the training. Activities included group discussions, perspectives trainings, advice on how to interact with individuals with disabilities and several informational videos. Students were also invited to “put on the shoes” of people with disabilities. One young man wore a scarf and was instructed to navigate the Miras office “blind,” and another student had to walk with crutches to retrieve a box from a crowded corner of the room.
Students will meet again next week to plan their own trainings for the local schools. Later, in November, the students will organize a lunch for other students, teachers, residents of “Fidanjik” and their families.
You can watch the students’ video proposal here: