How hard is it to be disabled in Ukraine?
The Donetsk City Civic Organization for Young People with Disabilities “Youre not alone” was registered on 20 September 2001, and includes young disabled people between the ages of 16 and 36 from all over Donetsk.
At the present time there are 50 people with different illnesses registered with the organization. Since 2001 members of the organization have on many occasions received various forms of charitable aid from different enterprises, institutions and charitable foundations of our city and region.
“Youre not alone” is registered in the Kuybyshevsky District of Donetsk, and together with the Donetsk Regional Chess and Draughts Association for people for motor and control impairments “Black rooks” squeezes into the premises of the room of school students “Light ray” (the former “Olympia”) without any formal contract. They were allocated the place in 2001 thanks to a letter from the former deputy of the Kuybyshevsky Executive Committee, A.S. Holubyov.
The organization presently owns two power-building training machines, one electric sewing machine and two manual knitting machines. All of these are however gathering dust in the homes of the members of the organization, when they could be helping not only disabled people, but also orphaned children.
Irina Mykhailovna Yaskevych, herself disabled from childhood (with first group disability status) works from home finding disabled people employment. Thanks to her efforts, just for the period from March to June around fifty people with disabilities have been employed in various businesses in the city, and there is a constant stream of requests for help in finding work.
If our organization had its own premises, then Irina Mykhailovna would be able to not only find people jobs, but also enter into agreements with various institutions, businesses or organizations to train people in certain specializations, which would help to reduce the number of young people hanging about without any occupation, while the members of “Youre not alone” could themselves teach those interested different skills. Who wont benefit if our young people, instead of mooching about the streets with a cigarette in their mouth, receive various skills?
In March 2005 we registered the Adaptation Centre for disabled people and orphaned children “Nadezhda” [“Hope” as a branch of the Donetsk City Civic Organization for Young People with Disabilities “Youre not alone”.
As the Director of this organization, I have repeatedly approached various bodies requesting that “Youre not alone” be allocated premises, but heard the same response from all: “there arent any premises available”, with most of these answers being given only verbally.
I would like to know where the premises got to which up till 1990 belonged to the department of education and were intended to be used as rooms for school students. Why were they let out to different commercial organizations? Why does the education department when it closes this or that institution let it fall into such a state of disrepair? Where is the city administration in all of this, and why do the local authorities close their eyes to it? Why could those premises that theyre planning to close not be given to civic organizations who want to work and be useful to society, to the state and Ukraine?
Our organization at the moment has a huge number of really good ideas which could help and bring benefit not just to disabled people, but to orphans, and this would reduce juvenile crime and kids hanging about without aim
I would also like to draw your attention to the fact that in our city there is a Fund for Social Protection for Disabled People which, according to its Charter, should provide different types of assistance to those with disabilities. Yet this is only what the Charter says. I would be interested, and probably the reader, to find out what specific assistance this Fund renders, and why when disabled people approach it for help, they are turned down, or receive offers that could not suit.
I would like to cite one example where a disabled person had her request for assistance turned down by the Fund, and felt total lack of confidence in the Funds activities.
Several months ago, the Fund for Social Protection for Disabled People received a letter from the President of Ukraine which asked them to consider the possibility of providing, if needed, computers for two young people with cerebral palsy, Oksana Bondarevych and Serhiy Kodak. In fact, by the time the letter was sent, Serhiys parents had managed to buy him a computer, so he no longer needed one. However, Oksanas parents cannot afford to buy their daughter a computer. And where would they get the money when Oksana has been living for 10 years already with her paralyzed grandmother who helped to rebuild the Donbas area after the War, and who also needs help from the state, and a mother who is ill, and is cared for by Oksana after her lessons?
The Fund did consider the Presidents letter but turned it down, claiming that it did not have the money for such assistance, and that disabled people could go out to work and then buy it themselves.
Of course they have a problem finding money when the Fund is constantly updating its office equipment, buying ever more new things. They havent time to think about disabled people, the main thing is not to stint on themselves, after all look after number one first, and the disabled can wait, it wont kill them. and if they die, not real loss: “if you have a person, theres a problem, no person, no problem”.
This is just a small aspect of the injustice which organizations for the Disabled and disabled people themselves confront.
Please send any suggestions, wishes, etc in writing to
The Donetsk City Civic Organization for Young People with Disabilities “Youre not alone”,
Viktor Nikolayevich Losov
Kuybyshev Street 210, flat 21
Donetsk – 12, 83012
[Лозовому Виктору Николаевичу
ул. Куйбышева, 210 кв. 21
г. Донецк -12