In Moldova, Keystone Moldova is diligently working to not only support children and adults with disabilities in community-based services, but to assist in developing a new legislative framework and quality standards for disability services so the new system of care is sustainable, high quality, and effective. On June 8, 2012, the Government of the Republic of Moldova took historic steps toward deinstitutionalization by approving a new regulation to reform the system of care. Regulation HG 351 redirects financial resources from residential institutions to community-based services, having a significant impact on the lives of people with disabilities. In fact, this regulation is one of many that the Government of Moldova has recently approved, including Regulations and Quality Standards for Community Homes, Mobile Team Service, Supported Living, and Respite.
The Regulation on the Redirection of Funds dovetails with Moldova’s implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Moldova is working to increase active involvement of public and local administrations in the implementation of the UN Convention.
Keystone Moldova launched a Community Home in the Ialoveni District, and Respite Service in the Orhei District. The Community Home is the home to six boys who left the institution in Orhei to live in the community. Not only are these young men showing significant progress in their development, but they are becoming part of the community. They have befriended their neighbors, attend the local church, and visit with the other children in the village.
The Respite Service, launched in the Orhei district, offers support to parents, relatives, or other persons caring for children and adults with severe disabilities to prevent institutionalization. For up to 30 days each year, Respite Service offers care so that families and carers can have a period of rest.
To provide individuals and families with more financial stability, Keystone Moldova started the Microenterprise Incubator Project, which is designed to create jobs for persons with disabilities and their families. Individuals are learning to craft eco-friendly bags. Additionally, through the Labor Inclusion service, individuals with disabilities are developing entrepreneurial microenterprises, learning to implement business ideas that generate sustainable income.
For several years, Moldovans have received training in Social Role Valorization, a system of thought that serves as the foundation for everything we do in Keystone Human Services. However, for the first time, an SRV workshop was presented by Moldovan educators in their first language, Romanian.
The Vis Community Center celebrated five years of providing support for the children and families in Bacioi, including children with disabilities and those at risk of institutionalization. The community center still provides educational, psychological, and socialization support for children, as well as prepares children and youth to be active citizens in their community.
Keystone Moldova started using Forum Theater, or social theater, to help the public begin to change their attitudes about disabilities and people with disabilities. The audience becomes part of the performance, and they have the ability to change what is happening on the stage. Through this participation, the audience comes to the conclusion that each one of them can stop discrimination and create an environment of inclusion.
Keystone Moldova ended the year by launching a new website. Available in both Romanian and English, the new website includes Keystone Moldova’s services and projects on inclusion for children and adults with disabilities, as well as stories about some of the individuals they have supported to leave the institution.
In Russia, we began building new relationships with Russian professionals to support comprehensive care for children with disabilities, inclusive education, and training opportunities for professionals who provide these services. The Keystone Foundation for Children and Families in Moscow has been assessing the needs and readiness of key stakeholders to develop inclusive education for children with intellectual disabilities.
In connection with this project, we hosted a delegation of Russian professionals through the Open World Leadership Center. Ten Russian professionals who work in social services stayed with us for a week in February 2012, and during that time, they visited several schools and programs within Keystone Human Services and the community to see how services for individuals are provided.
Since the Beslan school hostage crisis in 2004, we have provided support to the psychologists in Russia providing community-based services for children and families directly and indirectly affected by this tragedy. These services have had a major impact on the community.
As we start 2013, we are envisioning even greater strides toward inclusion. With each step, we move closer to a world where all people are welcomed.