Since the beginning of its work as an organisation IRODA has provided opportunities for children who have been excluded from the mainstream school system to learn through supported classes. For children with autism and other disabilities there have been many barriers to entering school in Tajikistan. Whilst advocating for changes that will allow every child to attend a school in their local community IRODA has also met the immediate need for educational opportunities for children with additional needs. IRODA’s ‘Developmental Program’ has offered classes for children that are appropriate to their developmental needs and focussed on everyday life skills. This program has been running since IRODA first started working in 2011 and has supported many children to learn new skills over the years.
Recently IRODA has started to offer opportunities for children in this program to engage in recreational activities on the weekend. This has provided both respite to families that have additional care responsibilities, and support for children and young people to have new experiences in the community. IRODA is committed to working towards a more inclusive society. Respite for families supports them to continue have their child live in the family home in their local community, and recreational activities with respite staff creates new opportunities for inclusion for the children. Your support of IRODA’s work means that we can continue to train and employ staff that make these programs and opportunities for children and families possible. Thank you for helping work towards seeing learning and recreation opportunities for all children and young people in Tajikistan.
Since the opening of the Vocational Training Centre in April of this year, IRODA has been so pleased to see the regular attendance of young adults and the development of their new skills. One of the programs operating out of the centre is training young people in sewing and handicraft skills and creating opportunities for them to sell the items they are learning to produce. Currently, seven girls are attending twice per week and receiving training and support to develop new skills. As well as teaching young people new skills to assist in entering the work force, the centre also provides a supportive environment in which to interact socially and creates a routine for their week outside of home and family life.
Thank you for your continued support that is making these opportunities possible.
April is once again a busy month for IRODA as we join others around the world in a month of raising awareness of autism and promoting greater acceptance in our society. One of the exciting events of this month has been opening a Centre for an inclusive vocational training program. The Centre will provide both sewing and culinary workshops. The sewing workshops have grown out of the MarayamKraft program, named after a girl with autism who, thanks to her mother and mentor has learnt to sew and embroider. The new Centre will allow MaryamKraft to grow and equip other young people with vocational skills.
IRODA has successfully established the Dar Yak Zamin Café, which employs young adults with disabilities. The culinary workshop located at the vocational training centre will be an extension of Dar Yak Zamin. It will allow a greater number of young people to receive training in culinary skills.
April is not only marks World Autism Awareness Month, but also another significant milestone in IRODA’s work with the opening of this much needed training centre. Thank you for continuing to partner with us as we expand the work in Tajikistan to support and equip children, young adults and families.
Despite all the ‘stops and starts’ of 2020, IRODA has been able to progress its work at ‘Free-DOM’. The beginning of 'Free-DOM' is an apartment set up to provide a location in which young people with disabilities can be supported to learn everyday life skills is up and running. 18 young adults have been engaging in an independent living program at ‘Free-DOM’, learning new skills and benefiting from doing this alongside other young adults and supportive IRODA staff. We look forward to 2021 when we hope to run two more programs and provide this important opportunity to other young adults.
The ‘Free-DOM’ (‘Dom’ being the Russian word for house) apartment is also being used on the weekend for respite care. Many families of young people with additional needs don’t have others around them who can help support their family member. This can put a significant strain on the family unit. Being able to offer respite for some of these families by using the ‘Free-DOM’ apartment has not only provided much-needed support for these families but has also given the young people opportunities to socialise with others outside of their family.
Looking forward to 2021 we hope to grow both the Independent Living Skills program and the respite services. Your on-going support means a lot to all at IRODA and will enable us to continue exciting ventures such as ‘Free-DOM’.
2020 has brought many unexpected changes with the challenges of COVID19. IRODA has endeavoured to support families throughout these changes and through challenging circumstances. As restrictions have started to be eased IRODA has begun offering some services within the centre again. Over the years, the Developmental Program has provided an alternative to institutionalised care in government settings for children and young people with autism, intellectual disabilities and high support needs. Practical everyday life skills are taught in a supportive environment that meets individual needs. The period through which programs had to close was particularly stressful for the families of children who access the Developmental Program. IRODA staff have worked hard to put measures in place to be able to safely re-open this program and provide much needed in-person support to these young people, and respite for their families after the challenges of such a long time at home.
Thank you for your on-going support throughout the challenges of 2020. The generosity of individual people around the world has enabled us to respond to the needs of families in our community during these difficult times.
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