Partnership. Sabina Grubbeson at the United Nations office in Skopje, here pictured with Vesna Kostic-Ivanovic, project manager for the UNDP team at Special Institution Demir Kapija and Marija Trifunovska, coordinator for people with functional disabilities, UNDP Macedonia.
Safety and learning, a meaningful life, clothes and personal belongings. Loza Foundation and UNDP have partnered up in a unique project to improve the living conditions for people with functional disabilities at Special Institution Demir Kapija in Macedonia.
United Nations Development Program (UNDP) has offices in more than 170 countries. Since June 2018 they have a team of 15 people stationed at Demir Kapija, specifically tasked with improving the living conditions at the institution. They are for instance looking at dividing the residents into smaller groups, where each group will be taught how to eat, sleep, learn how to take care of their own personal hygiene and understand how each individual should fit into a family and in society.
“These people have been institutionalised for so long and been neglected for so many years that they have lost their human dignity, their identity or knowledge of human behaviour. Or, in some cases, never been given the chance to have these in the first place. Many of them do not have a language, have not been taught how to dress themselves or understand what rights they have”, says Sabina Grubbeson, founder of Loza Foundation.
“The work at Special Institution Demir Kapija is a long-term project and it will take years to improve the situation there. This is the first phase of a transformation process. We have sought project partners to help improve the situation and then we were invited to partner up with UNDP. They supply the staff and we provide the equipment.
Together these two organisations, Loza Foundation and UNDP, will strive towards improving the situation for the residents at the institution. A partnership that will improve the possibilities for a safer situation with well-functioning, effective routines and daily activities.
“Loza Foundation will contribute with things like washing machines, furniture and clothes so that the residents can practice functioning in a normal home. How to cook, clean and look after oneself will be practised in smaller groups of residents with the help of UN staff members.”
By contributing to long-term improvement and normalization of the residents’ living conditions, the goal is that the individuals will eventually integrate into society. Be able to live in a home like everyone else, be properly dressed and have a warm bed to sleep in.
“With this UNDP partnership, we are ever-present at the institution and can cooperate together for the future of these people. For their rights and their path back into society”, says Sabina.
Before the winter and colder temperatures arrive in Macedonia, she hopes to have enough sweaters, trousers, underwear and slippers available for the residents. Most goods will be purchased from local producers in Macedonia to help develop sustainable economic progress there, but the foundation is also looking for help from Swedish producers in order to source winter coats for all the residents, 220 in total.
“This is one part of our ongoing health project and I will be there on site with a range of volunteers, for instance, medical podologists from Sweden to name just one group. UNDP is responsible for organising the equipment, putting names on each item of clothing and storing everything in the correct personal locker. They will educate the residents on how to take care of and wash one’s clothes.”
At the moment, Loza Foundation is searching for a psychotherapist to participate in this development project at Demir Kapija.
“Many of the residents have been given the wrong diagnosis or no diagnosis at all, which means they also have the wrong medication prescribed to them. Establishing the correct treatment plan for each individual can mean everything to their rehabilitation process”, says Sabina.