They don’t just believe in, they make tomorrow better

Association “Will for Life” of the people with cerebral palsy and infantile paralysis from Velika Plana is providing fifteen beneficiaries with work ability with a job and skills that are valued on the labour market. This assistance comes through the Project „Equal Chances“, funded via Small Grants Programme of IRIS Network. We visited Centre in Velika Plana, so to feel impressions of activists and beneficiaries involved in programme.

Centres of hope and support

We were welcomed by President of the Association “Will for Life” Radovan Radulovic and the activist Duska Stupar, who took us around the Centre and showed the premises. Day Care Centre “Lane”, which exists since 2012, consists of Day Care Centre for children with disabilities and Work Centre for adults with disabilities. Also, the Association has at disposal Club “Heart into the hands” for disabled, provided by Municipality of Velika Plana.

 Beside primary objectives such as providing daily services for disabled, premises of the Centre are also used as a space for workshops, educative and entertainment programs. Under the Project “Equal Chances”, Work Centre was fully equipped and then used for training, during which the beneficiaries learnt how to produce decorative items. Recently finalized training course, which lasted 21 days, had involved 15 of the Centre’s beneficiaries with work ability into the process of self-actualization which is, according to Duska’s words, essentially important for their social inclusion.

 “Through the training, selected participants have gained elementary knowledge skills needed for decorative items’ production. The training also raised their self-confidence and ability to be employed, which is essentially important for them. We made selection based on work capacity assessment. Selected fifteen have learnt how to produce decorative candles, other souvenirs, clocks, magnets in different forms, icons, keychains and Easter baskets”, Duska is explaining to us while we’re sitting in the backyard. Wide, covered in greenery, surrounded by conifers – the backyard is place for playing and resting after workshops for all of Centre’s beneficiaries.

 Valued on the labour market

 We had a chance to see impressive collection of already produced items, stored in Work Centre, but also to observe the creation process – two of beneficiaries were very kind and presented their work to us. Process of decorative candles’ creation, for example, requires a lot of their focus, but it’s creative and makes them more independent.

 All items are being sold on the street stall in the centre of Velika Plana, once a month. This makes their creators economic beneficiaries, which is of high importance. As Radovan has explained, people with cerebral palsy are extremely vulnerable group, because of narrow working abilities which cause poverty.

 “’Equal chances’ is a huge step forward for people with disabilities, because the project is actively encouraging and involving them in working process. First of all, the step forward means raising the average of social inclusion of disabled. Secondly, the project insures direct economic benefit for them and their families – by selling items”, Radovan said.

 Long term benefits of the project

As it was considered in discussion with Radovan and Duska – the social changes, which are to improve life conditions for people with cerebral palsy, are coming slowly and require a lot of efforts. It is important to underline that project brings long term benefit to people who are facing these difficulties – those who passed the training course can use improved skills long after completion of the project, which makes positive influence on their lives and economic status.

 “Thanks to Small Grant Programme of IRIS Network we finally could equip the Work Centre, which created opportunities for job trainings, increasing the number of employed disabled people and stronger engagement in overcoming poverty in the community of people with disabilities”, said Radovan. He added that “Equal Chances” project strengthens relations between the Association “Will for Life” and local authorities – this partnership will insure permanent employment for some of Centre’s beneficiaries in future.

It wasn’t easy when it comes to leave-talking, but we left under the impression of optimism. We left beneficiaries in working atmosfere – the future we want to create together is becoming presence.


Protection for 700 women and children in Una – Sana Canton

Round table “The role and importance of local partnerships in promoting non-violent behaviour” brought together representatives of relevant institutions and organizations in a field of prevention of domestic violence and violence against women in Una – Sana Canton in Bosnia. Organized by the IRIS Network’s members – Zene sa Une and Foundation LARA from Bijeljina under the project “Local partnership for preventing and combating violence against women”, event has addressed the challenges which all relevant stakeholders are facing to in the status quo – women and children who are (potential) victims on the one hand and social service delivery centres, on the other.

Discussion reflected a necessity of implementing changes in domestic violence law, improving the protocol for handling the cases of violence and strengthening cooperation between local government and CSOs. Also, the representatives of Ministry for Health of USC, Office for free law help providing of USC, Coordination Committee for gender equalities of USC and non-government organizations have agreed on lack of their communication in the past and expressed strong will to collaborate in a future.

Via project “Local partnership for preventing and combating violence against women” approximately 700 women from USC, including real and potential victims, are to be protected. Protection is possible thanks to awareness raising campaigns aimed at prevention of violence against women; strengthening cooperation between key institutions; improving skills and capacities of the organizations which are providing social services for woman. All of these goals are integrated in project’s actions implemented by Zene sa Une and Foundation LARA. Project is funded through Small Grants Programme of IRIS Network.

Violence against woman is still a huge problem worldwide, especially in patriarchal societies. Balkan countries, unfortunately, pretty much reflect this claim. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, violence against women together with domestic violence is one of the major societal challenges, recently transferred from private into public sphere. Victims are numerous and statistics are incomplete.

Selected member organizations of IRIS network for receiving grants under the SGF programme

Selected member organizations of IRIS network for receiving grants under the SGF programme

Final evaluation of 43 received project proposals under the evaluation is concluded. IRIS network Project Evaluation Committee, consisted of representatives of ASB and five partner organizations, decided to support total of 23 projects: five in Bosnia, Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia, and three in Kosovo. Number of supported project is directly proportional to number of received project proposals per country.

Implementation of all supported project starts September 1st  with the duration of two months. Each project deals with important social issues and strives to strengthen civil society organizations providing social service as well as their role in active impact on the creation of social policies and social protection programmes at both national and local levels.

The projects assessment criteria included: organisational performance; comprehensiveness of information including relevance of the proposal to objectives of the fund, objectives of the project and addressing identified need; capacity of identified activities to achieve defined objectives; the relationship between the proposed actions and the financial plan; the intended impact of the project and future sustainability.

At the end of projects implementation, each project will have concrete result regarding the specific direct intervention and, more important, each project will have long-term sustainable results or policy interventions in the local community.

Iris network would like to congratulate all of its member organizations who received grants, but also to thank all applicants who sent us their project proposals. Final list of all organizations who received grants under the project “Improving the provision of Social Service Delivery in South Eastern Europe through the empowerment of national and regional CSO networks” is below:

  1. Udruženje Nova generacija
  2. Fondacija LARA
  3. Euro Rom
  4. OCD Otaharin
  5. Omladinski centar Vermont
  6. Naše doba
  7. Asocijacija za demokratski prosperitet – Zid
  8. SOS Niksic
  9. Udruzenja mladih sa hendikepom Crne Gore
  10. Crnogorski zenski lobi
  11. Mirovna grupa oaza Beli manastir
  12. Udruga žena Vukovar
  13. Udruga Zlatna dob Stari Jankovci
  14. Vrapcici
  15. Projekt građanske demokratske inicijative
  16. Down Syndrome Kosova
  17. Health For All
  18. Qendra per Emancipim Shoqeror
  19. Udruženje dece ometene u razvoju Vrnjačka Banja
  20. Udruženje osoba sa cerebralnom i dečijom paralizom „Volja za životom“
  21. Udruzenje roditelja dece sa posebnim potrebama Presevo
  23. Udruženje mišićnih i neuromišićnih bolesti Sunce Prokuplje