Keystone Human Services held its annual Keystone Conference on March 21-24, and this year we are very happy to have three of our colleagues from Moldova join us! Nicolae Ciocan, the executive director of Keystone Human Services International Moldova Association; Ludmila Malcoci, the project director of Community for All-Moldova; and Parascovia Munteanu, the community services development team manager for Community for All-Moldova joined us for several days of workshops at the conference.
Designed to bring many of Keystone’s staff together, the Keystone Conference is a time for people from Keystone’s many agencies and subsidiaries to meet, share ideas, form friendships and renew their commitment to their work. Each day of the conference features two workshops about new ideas, projects and activities, presented by Keystone employees. This year, Charlie Hooker, the CEO of Keystone Human Services International; Betsy Neuville, the Executive Director of the Keystone Institute; and Ludmila Malcoci presented a workshop on our Community for All-Moldova project.
Now in its third year, Community for All-Moldova, funded by the Open Society Mental Health Initiative, is transforming Moldova’s system of care for people with disabilities from an institution-based system to a system of community-based services and supports. Since its inception, over twenty boys have moved out of the institution at Orhei and joined their communities, supported by the newly developed community-based services and supports. These services and supports include community homes for children and adults, supported living services, support services for children reintegrated with their biological families, foster care and shared living services.
The goal of Community for All-Moldova is to create an environment of social inclusion for all people. Keystone Human Services International Moldova Association has teamed up with several other nongovernmental organizations to form the Joint Media Strategy Group (JMSG). Funded by the Open Society Health Media Initiative, JMSG is promoting social inclusion by increasing the community’s acceptance of all people. Not only is the group encouraging the media to take a positive approach to portraying people with disabilities and disability issues, but people with disabilities and their families are being supported to share their own stories and advocate for themselves. To see some of these stories, visit www.inclusion.md.
Although the Community for All-Moldova project has made great progress, we need to make sure that the system of community-based services is sustainable, especially during these difficult economic times. The Soros Foundation-Moldova is providing funding to ensure that not only are these gains sustained over the next three years, but new services and supports continue to be developed so that children are included in their communities.
It is our hope and goal that the Community for All-Moldova project will raise the community’s awareness about disability issues and rights, reduce stigma and discrimination, and support social inclusion of all people regardless of ability.
Thank you to Nicu, Ludmila and Parascovia for joining us for the Keystone Conference and sharing the accomplishments and goals of Community for All-Moldova!