The Medical Aid Committee in Zakarpattia has always been open to dialogue not only with colleagues in the field of professional activity, but also with the public, representatives of the public sector, and the media. This openness also led to the format of the meeting with journalists on the eve of the 20th anniversary of the organization, namely mutual discussion over a cup of coffee.
Some aspects of CAMZ's activities are well known to the media community far beyond the region. This happened often in the form of a situational acquaintance through either numerous actions implemented by the Committee in Zakarpattia or projects to which CAMZ was involved at the national level. During the press coffee, it was possible to disclose more deeply the content of the organization's activities. The topics of social protection and support of vulnerable groups of society were discussed, as well as the mechanisms that allow civil society institutions to cooperate with public authorities in this context.
Journalists of regional mass media have joined the discussion including regional newspaper "Zakarpattia News", M-Studio TV channel, "Uin" cable channel, Uzhhorod Press Club, media websites "Pro Zahid" and "Site of the city of Uzhhorod".
First of all, it was about the Abilitation and Rehabilitation Centre "Parasolka", whose appearance and development has been monitored for 10 years by the public and media of the region. Since the Centre enabled its inhabitants with physical and mental disabilities to live a full life in decent conditions, it became an example for the whole country because today it is the only state institution of this type.
“The Parasolka Project is both our top priority and a great start for further activities. Undoubtedly, a lot has been done for people with disabilities over the years, however, the plan is to create a comprehensive facility where adults and children with disabilities, their parents will receive the necessary help and counselling, and rehabilitation professionals will help to form appropriate skills in these families. Recognizing that such institutions are needed in all districts of the region, and in the context of the current changes connected to the creation of united territorial communities, we are ready and going to support the creation of such a network. Our example is useful for colleagues from different regions. And the partnership with European specialists allows us to draw on the best experience, which has proved its effectiveness,” said Nataliya Kabatsiy, the Director of the Medical Aid Committee in Zakarpattya.
We aimed at creation of a centre for people with disabilities that would deviate from outdated standards and be provided for accommodation and work in small groups. We moved the institution from a remote village to a district centre, where our clients can socialize, integrate into the public life of the city, engage in creativity, arts and crafts ... Thus, this happens abroad, and so it is finally enshrined in national legislation. Obviously, such an approach is effective and does not require additional financing, which is very important in view of the situation in the country, ”said Lesya Levko, the Project Coordinator of "CAMZ".
Qualitative changes at the Vilshany Orphanage are another achievement of the Committee. The new approach in working with pupils of the institution was transformed into the launching of educational process and initiating of workshops, creation of a comfortable space. Due to that, despite the specifics of the boarding school, inhabitants an develop individually and in groups, this allows to support their common interests, etc. "Our main partner in all these projects is the director of the orphanage Bohdan Kykyna, who has been supporting our ideas for 10 years and contributing to their implementation," Lesya Levko added.
“The law on social services has come into force in the country since the new year, that is directly relevant to our work. We cannot agree with all its aspects, but we are working to inform the central authorities about the effectiveness or inappropriateness of certain norms through some advocacy and with the participation of partner organizations. Since we work directly with the institutions, we can see whether the established norms and standards work,” Eugenia Melesh, the lawyer of the organization emphasized.
Legal protection of the population is an important part of the Committee's activities. For many years, the active community of Zakarpattia has been attending the events of the Docudays UA Travelling International Documentary Film Festival on Human Rights, which is represented in the region by the CAMZ. And this is only an educational part of its legal activity. In fact, legal support for refugees, migrants, internally displaced persons, and stateless persons is constantly provided.
In the future, the charity organization will continue to focus its efforts on the formation of a comprehensive social institution to provide services to people with disabilities. The educational project launched in cooperation with Uzhhorod National University to expand, improve and optimize special assistance for people with disabilities and educational services for future professionals in Zakarpattia oblast. Zakarpattia will host the Docudays UA Documentary Film Festival again and join the international human rights project.
The 20 years, filled with a great amount of implemented projects – this is not only the history of the Medical Aid Committee in Zakarpattia but also an example of the evolution of the sphere of social protection of people with disabilities in the region. The charitable organization, on the one hand, helped its clients to feel they full members of the community. While on the other hand, it convinced the society that such an activity and position are the norms that should unite equal, capable and concerned people.