A new Development Centre for children with special needs was inaugurated in Lushnja. The Centre offers child-friendly refurbished premises accessible for children with disabilities. Children can also benefit from education materails designed for both didactic and leisure purposes.The center offers an enabling environment for them to develop their capacities by learning and doing, entertaining and socializing with each other.
The Centre can house up to 30 children with disabilities. Currently, the Centre provides services to 20 girls and boys aged from 6 to 16 years old, diagnosed with intellectual, physical and sensory disabilities. The eight professional staff of the Centre, including a social worker, a physiotherapist, school psychologists and speech therapists have received formal, peer to peer and on-the job training to assess the needs of the child, establish individual evaluation plans, provide individual and group therapy and life skills and forge stronger cooperation with their parents and other family members. Lushnja Municipality will be responsible to plan funding for management of the center and its maintenance.
The Minister of Social Welfare and Youth Blendi Klosi, present at the event underlined: “ I am very pleased to be at the inauguration of this new Development Center in Lushnja.We will follow the same approach and model to extend specialized assistance for children with disabilities across the country.My thanks go to international development partners who partnered with us to implement this intervention”.
“Thank you for the good work done in this centre. You have created a brand new place for children with disabilities and their parents”, said Swiss Ambassador Christoph Graf during the inauguration. “A society that cares for the weak and the disabled, is stronger and healthier overall. Albania will be a better place when the marginalised and the vulnerable enjoy services, care and benefits, just like the more fortunate ones”, continued Ambassador Graf.
This intervention aims to improve the situation of 30 children with disabilities, improve local capacities for planning, budgeting and providing community services for people with disabilities, encourage coordination among local governmental institutions and increase participation of community, in particular, of persons with disabilities, in the consultation and decision-making processes.
«Partnership with Municipality, central government, local stakeholders and civil society is indispensable for ensuring sustainability of the Center. We are working together with our main partner - the Ministry of Social Welfare and Youth - and other ministries to ensure that social inclusion policies are well coordinated and reach people with disabilities, in particular children with disabilities” – said Brian J. Williams, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Albania addressing the event.
The establishment of this day-care center for children with disabilities comes as a follow-up of the "Local Action Plan for Inclusion, Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities” of Lushnja Municipality” which outlines the lack of such a center
The Development Centre for Children with Disabilities in of Lushnja Municipality is constrcuted by UNDP in the framework of “United Nations Support to Social Inclusion in Albania” Programme funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation in Albania and implemented in partnership with the Government and United Nations Agencies in Albania.
Data on Lushnja Municipality:
As a result of the administrative territorial reform, the Municipality Lushnja covers geographically Lushnja city and 10 communes, counting 129,000 inhabitants vs 55,000 before June 2015.
There are 1291 persons with disabilities out of which 507 in urban area and 784 in rural areas, divided by groups of age as follows:
0 - 3 years old - 37 persons
4 – 16 years old - 315 persons
17 - 21 years old - 131 persons
22 - 60 years old – 721 persons
60 + years old - 87 persons
70 out of 725 households receiving social assistance (ndihme ekonomike) have a family member with disabilities.
15 municipal employees work on cash allowances for persons with disabilities.