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Chance for Equal Opportunities

Advocating equal opportunities for disabled persons, the Telenor Foundation launched the Social Club and one-year programme

December 3, 2007 – More than 180 patients of the Special Hospital for Rehabilitation and Prosthetics have obtained their Social Club, the only place which helps disabled persons through its activities in their reinclusion into families and social life. At the well-organised and equipped Club premises, an expert team will implement educational and inclusive programmes. All activities are designed in the aim of providing users with an opportunity to learn and participate, as well as to socialise and relax. 

 
Stein Erik Vellan visit to Social Club in Special Hospital for Rehabilitation and Prosthetics   
 
The launch of the Social Club has been provided by the Telenor Foundation, in cooperation with the Special Hospital for Rehabilitation and Prosthetics and the Centre for Quality Education. Upon the occasion, on the World Day of the Disabled, the Special Hospital was visited by Stein Erik Vellan, the CEO of Telenor Srbija.

The Club users learn PC skills, participate in employment and professional retraining counselling, and learn about their rights, defined by the regulations of the Republic of Serbia. In addition to activities contributing to users’ independent functioning, those helping in their reinclusion into social life are important as well. Workshops for psychosocial support, creative workshops, organisation of visits to the theatre or cinema, entertaining evenings, informal socialising and TV programme watching contribute to better integration and easier and more successful reinclusion into families and social life.

“There are more than 700,000 disabled persons in Serbia and only one institution specialised for their rehabilitation, and that is this Special Hospital. The waiting list is extensive, while a lack of staff and other resources for quality work is evident. Owing to the Telenor Foundation, conditions for more comprehensive rehabilitation of users, which has so far included only physical rehabilitation and recovery, have been established. What is often neglected is the fact that it is most difficult for people who suffered such a trauma to accept their disadvantages and move on. Love, strength and optimism are then necessary both for those who need support and those who are there to provide that support,” says Biljana Vidakovic Maksimovic, the Director of the Special Hospital for Rehabilitation and Prosthetics.

Users have promptly confirmed that they are highly interested in activities of the Social Club, and satisfaction of those who work with them on a daily basis is evident as well.

“In the year of equal opportunities, when one of the main objectives is fight against discrimination of disabled people, the establishment of the Social Club is a good example of an approach to the affirmation of rights of disabled persons in the long run. This initiative encourages disabled persons to focus on their personal growth and provides them with strength to equally participate in the society,” explains Jelena Coko from the Centre for Quality Education.