PROJECTS

Project “Center for Mutual Assistance, Integration and Support” – MAIS Center – Plovdiv

Goals: General goal: Enhancing the opportunities for social integration of people with visual impairments and overcoming their social isolation by forming and consolidating a new model of interrelations with society, under the established MAIS Center

Specific goals:

Creating preconditions for establishment of interactions with and among people with visual impairments;

Creating preconditions for a more active participation and realization at the real labor market;

Creating preconditions for a change of society’s attitude about the capabilities of visually impaired people;

Enhancing the knowledge and the awareness of society for prevention of socially significant diseases, leading to sight loss;

Establishing models for cooperation with the institutions, aiming at the integration of visually impaired people

Activities

Activity 1. 1. Creating an Internet web for mutual assistance, information and consulting – an online forum “Ask the professional”

In the Internet web for mutual assistance “Ask the professional”, created under the project, participators will use the shared experience, but also will get adequate advices about solving particular problems. The web is oriented to a wide circle of users – people with disabilities and also their environment – institutions, social and resource services, labor offices, employers, specialists, working with disabled people, families. The web will start with a particular number of topical groups. There, themes will be worked out in advance and offered as a literature resource, free accessed for all registered users. If users can’t find the answer of a question of interest in the literature resource, they can ask the specialist who works on the corresponding topical group.

Activity 1. 2. Holding an information campaign “Preserve your sight”

This activity will include editing and distributing brochures about diseases, which lead to the decrease and loss of sight. 10 brochures about specific eye diseases will be edited and distributed to social service offices; medical centers; LEMC, specialized in eye diseases; schools; resource centers; libraries in Plovdiv and Sofia; Day-Time Centers. The brochures will also be handed out by volunteers to the public during information events under the project.

Activity 2. 1. Assisting the integrative education of children with impaired sight. Information campaign: “Visually impaired children – how to communicate with them”

This activity will aim at creating cooperation between the MAIS Center and the resource services, integrative schools and families of integrated children. An information campaign called “Visually impaired children – how to communicate with them” will be held at the integrated schools in Plovdiv and Sofia. Work meetings with resource teachers and families of integrated visually impaired children will be held and education problems will be discussed.

Activity 2. 2. Supporting the integration of visually impaired adults

Models of cooperation with Labor Offices, employers and social services in Plovdiv and Sofia will be established

Activity 3. 1. Working on the professional realization of people with visual impairments

This activity will be performed by labor mediators and psychologists in Plovdiv and Sofia, but also job candidates from all over the state will be consulted remotely about various problems of the labor market.

Activity 3. 2. Trainings, aiming in the enhancement of the personal potential of the clients of the MAIS Center

  1. Trainings in professional orientation in Plovdiv

  2. Trainings in skills, useful when applying for a job at the free labor market. They will be held in Sofia and Plovdiv

  3.  Trainings with parents. They will be held in Sofia and Plovdiv

  4. Consultations about the independence of visually impaired clients – orientation and mobility, every-day skills, computer skills, visual rehabilitation. They will be held in Plovdiv

  5. Physical education and yoga therapy in Plovdiv

  6.  Foreign language training in English in Plovdiv and Sofia

Activity 3. 3. Work and rhythm therapy

The work therapy will be implemented by trainings in pottery and making ceramic products for decoration. 6 group sessions in rhythm therapy will be held – 3 in Plovdiv and 3 in Sofia.

Activity 4. 1. Holding thematic workshops, conferences, information campaigns and others

- National practical-scientific conference “Social aspects of impaired sight”

Lectors from the “Psychophysiological correction of sight” department of the Vserusiiskii Center for eye surgery “Alloplant”, with Dr. Ernst Muldashev in charge, will be invited to hold lectures and an educational session at this conference.

 - Closing round-table for an account of the results, with a press-conference and an exhibition of pottery products


2013. Project “Participation of the NRBC in the Second European Fair of social enterprises and cooperations of people with disabilities under the European Forum for Social Entrepreneurship” – finished

Goals:

  • Participation of the NRBC’s clients in national activities in order to popularize their achievements; their abilities for professional realization and social integration, and their active position in the state’s public life.
  • Minimizing the negative and inadequate attitudes towards people with limited working capacity.
  • Overcoming the negative attitude of employers who approach people with disabilities mistrustfully and neglectfully. This will be accomplished by demonstrating the real skills and potentials of people with disabilities for adequate labor and for earning their own incomes.
  • Overcoming isolation and recognizing people with disabilities as active citizens of society.

Specific goals:

  • Popularizing visually impaired people’s activities; attracting new users for them, and also manufacturers of technical equipment.
  • Acquiring the necessary equipment, methodical and organizational help for involving enterprises of people with disabilities in public forums.
  • Popularizing the achievements of NRBC’s clients, acquiring new approaches for the organization’s activities.

Activities:

·        Exhibition of hand-made objects, produced by NRBC’s trainees at a specialized counter in Chamber № 6 of the Plovdiv International Fair.

·        Distribution of advertising materials and information on the activities and services offered at the NRBC, and also on the current projects, which the organization works under.

·        Participating in a Conference “Round table about the problems of people with disabilities”.

·        Exchanging information on the establishment of new modern technologies which will support and relieve the labor of visually impaired people.


2012. Project “Textbooks specialized for the needs of the vocational training in Massage of visually impaired people” – finished

Goals:

The specific goal of the project was directed towards working out /preliminary part/ and making up /executive part/ of a Massage textbook in two different formats. It supports and accomplishes the vocational training of visually impaired people, performed at the NRBC, and it also supplements and brushes up the skills of the trained masseurs.  The textbook helps not only them in the process of their adapted vocational training, but also the professionals who perform it. This would lead to enhancement of the educational, professional and social integration of visually impaired people.

The main goal of the project was directed towards supporting the advancement of the educational and qualification level of people with disabilities. This establishes preconditions for overcoming their social and professional isolation and for enhancing their social significance and personal self-esteem.

Activities:

Activity 1:  Working out and adapting a textbook specified for the needs of the vocational training in Massage of visually impaired people, performed at the NRBC.

Activity 2: Reviewing the worked out Massage textbook

Activity 3:  Making up a revision of a Massage textbook

Activity 4:  Braille correction of a Massage textbook

Activity 5: Editing a Massage textbook in Braille format in 50 copies, binding and shaping the paper copies

Activity 6: Making up the Massage textbook and preparing it for printing in large font.

Activity 7:  Editing a Massage textbook in large font in 150 copies, binding and shaping the paper copies.

Results:

A real participation of the beneficent group in the educational process and a certain future personal realization for each person, passed the vocational training course are obtained through the textbooks for vocational training, consulting and refreshing the skills, provided under the project. Addressed not only to the visually impaired people, but also to their close environment, represented by their teachers, the project increased the added value of their mutual work, enhanced their motivation to exert more efforts in obtaining the wanted realization and taking an adequate position in life and society.


2011: Launching a campaign “We are here” – finished

Goal: The goal of the project was to popularize and officially celebrate the 45th anniversary of NRBC’s establishment through presenting the works of visually impaired people in the fields of art and crafts to the public.

Activities:  

Activity 1: Preparation of the exhibition works

The beneficiaries were made familiar with the idea of organizing an exhibition of their works. Next they made up and presented to the organizers their works or pictures of them. A commission, gathered by the NRBC chose works from all categories – pottery, knitting, drawing, accessories. A short description of each work was made.

Activity 2: Arrangement and giving an exhibition in Plovdiv

The approved works were transported to the exhibition hall and arranged. The exhibition was officially open in the 4th month from the beginning of the project and was held for a week.

Activity 3: Preparing and holding a conference “The importance of art therapy in the training and rehabilitation of visually impaired people”

2 reports for the conference were worked out for two months under this activity. The conference took place during the exhibition. Representatives of the local authorities, noncommercial organizations of and for people with disabilities, experts, and also representatives of the beneficiary group were invited.

Activity 4: Official opening of the exhibition in Sofia

The exhibition, presented to the public in Plovdiv was moved to the Youth Theatre in Sofia.  The exhibition was held for 2 days, and then the exponents were transported to the UBB’s building.

Activity 5: Video filming and making a multimedia product of the event

An external operator was hired to film the event and to make up the multimedia product.

Results:

  • Prepared and arranged exhibition in Plovdiv
  • Officially open and held exhibition in Plovdiv
  • A conference “The place of art therapy in the training and rehabilitation of visually impaired people” held during the exhibition
  • An exhibition, organized at the Youth Theatre “N. Binev” and an official opening  honoring the  current anniversary celebrations
  • Video filming and creating a multimedia product of the event
  • Settling the exhibition works in the lobby of the UBB’s building in Sofia

Project: Establishment of a Day-time Center for people with disabilities under NRBC – Plovdiv – finished

General goals:

Improving the quality of life of people with visual and other disabilities on the territory of Plovdiv municipality;

Prevention of social exclusion of people with visual and other disabilities;

Diminishing social distances from people with visual disabilities

Specific goals:

Extending the range of the social services, offered at the NRBC

Improving the quality of the social services, offered at the NRBC

Orienting the social services of the NRBC to the individual needs of the clients

Using good practices for social integration of people with visual impairments

Accomplished activities and achieved results

1. Establishment and equipment of a Day-time Center for people with disabilities under NRBC – Plovdiv

To perform the activities under the project, a team of specialists was provided and trained. The differences between boarding-school form of education and education in the conditions of a Day-time Center were analyzed. The question about working with students and optimally using their resources was raised. Modern technical means and devices were bought for the visual and physical rehabilitation cabinets. Games and materials for the leisure time activities were bought for the every-day skills cabinet. Two potter’s wheels, an oven, an extruder, a roller and materials were bought for the work therapy cabinet. A Day-time Center was established and the necessary equipment for offering a complex of services and for creating an involving and stimulating environment was provided.

2. Selecting users for the Day-time Center and forming individual work plans

For all approved users of the Day-time Center, individual work plans were formed. This activity was accomplished with each trainee of the Day-time Center by a team for estimation of the needs. The team includes trainers, a psychologist and a social worker. The work and rehabilitation plan was made on the basis of an admission test and the beneficiary’s individual wishes were taken in consideration. On the basis of the individual work plans the work groups were formed, a monthly programme of training, rehabilitation and leisure time activities was set up. In the process of work, tests and/or interviews were conducted with each beneficiary, and depending on them, the individual work plan could be corrected.

3. Recruiting and working with volunteers for the Day-time center

Two visits at the Plovdiv University “Paisii Hilendarski” were organized, so that the activities of the Day-time Center under NRBC can be introduced to the students, specializing in Special pedagogy and Social pedagogy at the PU “Paisii Hilendarski”; and information brochures were given to them. 10 students were selected to take their probation training at NRBC and to participate in the organization of leisure time activities of the trainees. The students were trained and made familiar with the social activities and practically took part in them. This would be a useful preparation for their future professional realization. NRBC now has an available database of volunteers for the performance of particular activities, and also a sufficient human resource for carrying out these activities.

4. Providing complex social services for 30 trainees with disabilities at the Day-time Center; organizing their leisure time

The trainees took part in trainings in pottery products making, mosaics, casts, decorating elements. The training was oriented to people with low sight as well as to completely blind ones. The aim was activation of the trainees’ psychomotor activity, inspiration of their creativity, stimulation of their aesthetical needs. A deluxe album for training of visually impaired people, which contained mosaics and embossed images, was edited. The trainees formed motivation to overcome social isolation, to express their individual wishes and to work in small groups. Most of them discovered their hobby in art therapy.

5. Diagnosing the needs of visual and physical rehabilitation; Preserving and developing the unimpaired functions; regaining the confidence in personal potentials

Trainings in visual rehabilitation, aiming at exercise and optimal use of low sight were accomplished.

Kinesitherapy services, divided in two categories, were provided:

  1. Passive kinesitherapy – physical and psychomotor rehabilitation – performed by a medical physiotherapist. A masseur-rehabilitator was hired for the physical rehabilitation.

  2.  Active kinesitherapy – using the gym. Additional gymnastic and rehabilitation balls and carpets were bought for the gym.

6. Social, health, law and psychological consulting

Twice a month group and individual consultations with a social worker, a psychologist and a lawyer were organized for the trainees. They discussed topics like: social problems due to the disability, hidden discrimination, the position of an impaired person in society.

7.  Trainings

- Trainings in cooking

 - Trainings in orientation and mobility

- Trainings in every-day skills

- Trainings in Braille and using audio books

- Trainings in using the Internet

8. Workshops, conferences

- A round-table, dedicated to the problems of social services, offered by the Day-time Centers for people with disabilities, was held;

- A workshop with the volunteer students was held;

- A National conference, named “Art therapy as a form of social involvement of people with disabilities” was held

9. Information and public activities

- Press-conferences were held and press-information was provided

- A brochure of the Day-time Center was edited

- Advertising materials were edited

- Two brochures were edited: “Mastering the Braille code” and “When you are with people without sight”

- A deluxe album with mosaics and models was edited

- An exhibition was held, presenting the pottery products and mosaics, made by the beneficiaries of the social services

- A Dinner in the dark was held and visited by representatives of Plovdiv municipality, media, businessmen and social partners


2008: Office secretary and masseur – suitable professions for visually impaired people – finished

Project aim:  Prevention of the social isolation of people with visual impairments by enhancing their capability for realization at the labor market through vocational training in two professions.

Activities:

  • Finishing the equipping of a computer work room for training of visually impaired people
  • Admitting and attending trainees
  • Performing the training in the licensed profession “Office secretary”
  • Performing  the training in the profession “Masseur”, as part of the licensed profession “Cosmetician”
  • Consulting the beneficiaries about the labor market
  • Communication with the Labor offices
  • Holding a state final exam for qualifying in the licensed profession “Office secretary”
  •  Holding a state final exam for qualifying in the profession “Masseur” as part of the licensed profession “Cosmetician”

Results:

  • A work room for the training in computer skills of trainees from the “Office secretary”  course was equipped with desks and cupboards

  • 16 visually impaired people with more than 70% limited working capacity from all over the state were settled at the boarding house at the NRBC

  • 8 visually impaired people qualified or re-qualified in the licensed profession “Office secretary”

  • 8 visually impaired people passed the vocational training in the profession “Masseur” , as part of the licensed profession “Cosmetician”

  • 16 visually impaired people obtained knowledge and skills about the communication with state, municipal, noncommercial and business institutions.

  • All “Labor offices” departments in the places of residence of the trainees were made familiar with the current vocational training, the particular achievements and the individual professional capacities of each trainee.

  • 8 visually impaired people got a Certificate for vocational training  - qualification in the profession “Office secretary”

  • 8 visually impaired people got a Certificate for vocational training  - qualification in the profession “Masseur”

2007: Working out didactical materials for the orientation and mobility training and access to public places of visually impaired people - finished

Goal: The project was directed towards forming and enhancing the skills for independent movement in public places of visually impaired people and newly blind. This was achieved through working out specialized support devices and performing trainings in their usage.

Activities:

  • Making up the maps of basic routes for visually impaired people on an electronic device.
  • Creating tactile maps of the following places: “Triangle of transport” Rodopi Bus Station-South Bus Station-Railway Station; the region of the NRBC Plovdiv; the Central region of Plovdiv, including the building of the Plovdiv Municipality
  • Creating 3D miniature models of the central region of Plovdiv and the region of the Railway Station in Plovdiv
  • Making an audio description of the region of the NRBC
  • Making an audio description of the Central region of Plovdiv
  • Buying 30 mp3 players
  • Recording the audio descriptions on the mp3 players
  • Testing of the three types of products – a tactile map, a 3D miniature model and an audio description by 10 visually impaired people
  • Training of instructors in working with the products – tactile maps, 3D miniature models and audio descriptions of the routes
  • Training of 30 visually impaired people in using the tactile maps and the routes
  • Training of 30 visually impaired people in using the 3D miniature models
  • Training of 30 visually impaired people in using  the audio descriptions of the routes

 

Results:

  • A tactile map of the “Triangle of transport” Rodopi Bus Station-South Bus Station-Railway Station was made

  • A 3D miniature model of the “Triangle of transport” Rodopi Bus Station-South Bus Station-Railway Station; was created

  • Tactile maps of the Central region of Plovdiv, including the building of the Plovdiv Municipality were worked out

  • A 3D miniature model of the Central region of Plovdiv, including the building of the Plovdiv Municipality was worked out

  • An audio description of the “Triangle of transport” Rodopi Bus Station-South Bus Station-Railway Station; was created

  • An audio description of  the region of the NRBC was made

  • An audio description of the Central region of Plovdiv, including the building of the Plovdiv Municipality was created

  • 30 mp3 players were bought to so that the audio descriptions of the routes could be recorded

  • The three types of products –  tactile maps, 3D miniature models and audio descriptions were tested by 10 visually impaired people

  • 30 visually impaired people were trained in working with the tactile maps and the routes

  • 30 visually impaired people were trained in working with the 3D miniature models

  • 30 visually impaired people were trained in working with the audio descriptions of the routes

  • Improving the quality  of the orientation and mobility training by establishing new  didactical devices

  • Long-term usage of the products, obtained under the project after its finish, by all future clients of the NRBC

2006. Project “Social integration of visually impaired people through vocational training”- finished

Under this project, a basic rehabilitation and vocational training of visually impaired people from all over the state was performed in boarding-house, day-time and remote form; consulting of employers about the professional capabilities of visually impaired people and communication with them was conducted; communications with the labor offices were established in order to enforce the state policy for coping with unemployment.

During the project, a reconstruction of the building, adjoining to NRBC was made, and it was specified as a center for vocational training of visually impaired people. 9 specialized cabinets and subsidiary rooms were equipped.

The selection of trainees was accomplished through applications from the territorial and regional organizations of UBB. Each beneficiary passed an admission test for evaluation of the needs and was directed to the basic rehabilitation team. After performing the basic rehabilitation activities, consulting with an expert and according to personal preferences, each client was directed to a vocational training in one of the professions, offered by the Vocational Training Center under NRBC – upholstery, hand-made art knitting, cosmetic massage, text editing and office secretary.

Meetings with employers were organized, so that the trainees’ real potentials can be introduced. A thematic workshop named “Modern aspects of the vocational training of visually impaired people” was held with the instructors of day-time centers in Bulgaria. An Upholstery textbook for low-sighted people was published.