Public annual report of the center Levania
In November 2014 we became an officially registered organization. This status implies for us a set of norms and standards, including the norms of public relations. It refers, for example, to the open presentation of the organization’s purposes, plans and achievements. The annual report is one of such communication forms with our current and potential partners, colleagues and other stakeholders. Therefore, in addition to the regular activity reports, we are publishing the first annual report of the center Levania.
While planning our activities for 2015 we had decided to investigate and study through miscellaneous actions the specificity of our sphere, i.e. the structure and functioning of the state system targeting the children with disabilities (various neurological disorders is our primary focus). We had outlined main directions as follows:
- Participation in the development of legislative norms for inclusion of the educational system.
- Establishment of the support and resource center for parents.
- Organization of events for education, training and rehabilitation.
The main results we managed to achieve are described below.
At the policy level, in December 2014 we made a public statement criticizing the presented draft copy of Belarusian Concept of inclusive education. It was followed by a meeting with one of the deputy ministers of education. We were assured to be allowed to join the governmental working group on this concept. However, the closed character of the group got even worse, no public participation was provided. We initiated our own open public discussion in February. In September 2015 the official concept was signed but the quality of the document is questionable and actually unacceptable. We have prepared the alternative version of the concept on inclusive education. Now we are building a coalition for collective work on this issue.
At the institutional level, for the past year we have created a rather successful and effective framework for cooperation with the main state universities teaching experts in our thematic area and signed agreements for cooperation. Within these Unis we organized a number of educational seminars and received requests for the development of teaching and training programs and courses on tutoring, applied behavior analysis, alternative communication, modern approaches to rehabilitation. Now we work to develop such courses.
We attempted as well to cooperate with medical institutions on the issues of diagnostics and rehabilitation practices and protocols for children with disabilities in order to bring the protocols to the contemporary level. However, we did not succeed so far.
We also did not manage to establish a support and resource center for parents. With a couple of volunteering psychologists we initiated a project on providing crisis psychological assistance to the families raising children with disabilities. However, the lack of resources and especially our time did not allow us to bring the project to a regular and sustainable level.
We created an online communicative space (facebook group) for parents, experts, members of the organizations and all other stakeholders.
In terms of educational part we exceeded the initial plans and held a number of seminars, educational and training ones. We managed to deliver our events not only to Minsk, but in several regions. (the detailed reports on the seminars are available on the Russian version of the website)
After the announcement of our open proposal to deliver expert seminars in any region, we received a large number of requests from practically all over the country. We are still open for such offers and now we prepare the regional seminars program for 2016.
Apart from educational seminars we successfully held a two-week aqua rehabilitation course in May 2015.
We also very happy and proud of the ski rehab project we launched. First we came to Italy for a study course, than we found our excellent lead trainer – Assol Slivets (former ski Olympic champion). Now there is a pilot team of three trainers and 10 children working. The project’s website http://moveteam.levania.by
Due to the lack of time we did not managed to discover hippo and dolphin therapy themes.
Besides delivering our own events we actively attended various training and public events. In October 2015 we attended 8th Moscow annual conference on Tutoring. We established friendly contacts with the representatives of Interregional Tutoring Association and the leaders of the Autism Problems Center. We plan to enhance our cooperation in the upcoming year. Inga spoke at the conference “Future perspectives” on the topic “How to make Belarusian education the best in the world”. In November we took part in the 5th International Forum on corporate social responsibility. Unfortunately, we realized that public charity in the form of easy and good-looking gestures is the most interesting so far and only few are willing to think of the impact and address the system changes. Our vision remains to be far away from the widespread ways of charitable work. At least we have body of texts on this issue.
In general we consider last year being fruitful and effective. We increased our staff, number of colleagues and partners, enhanced our experience and understanding. However, the number of people and organizations irritated and dissatisfied with our actions grew as well. We intend to continue constructive dialogue with all the stakeholders in compliance with our strategic objectives and interests.
We are thoroughly reflecting and analyzing the gained experience now, and developing a comprehensive strategy and long-term vision of the organization. As soon as it is ready, we publish it on the website.
We are always open to communicate,