In Bulgaria, thousands of young people with disabilities are still locked away in large, isolated orphanages. They receive no individual attention, and are provided with few opportunities to become a part of their community. Often a handful of caretakers are tasked with meeting the needs of 50-100 children. The Cedar Foundation offers an alternative, providing small groups of disabled children with family-type housing, where they can receive the attention, care and respect that they deserve.
We provide individualized and loving care in our Small Homes. In February 2015 we transitioned 12 young people with intellectual disabilities out of institutions into a family-type home. We make personal assessments of every child and hire and train caretakers who teach the young people essential personal skills, based on individual development plans. Through various initiatives, we provide them the opportunity to integrate into society and begin to feel like valued members of the community.
In the long term this will enable us to develop each child to his full potential, empowering them to make their own decisions, go to school and where possible eventually start working and enjoying an independent life. Simultaneously, this process helps raise awareness among the local community, encouraging them to become more tolerant and aware. When our young people become contributing members of their communities, all of society benefits, especially as the costs for their direct care decrease.
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