They have had to endure horrendous living conditions and deprivation for most of their lifetime, but thanks to an EU project, the residents of institution Demir Kapija in North Macedonia can finally move out.
“This is amazing news. No human being should be forced to live like that”, says Sabina Grubbeson Secretary-General of Loza Foundation, which has been jointly awarded an EU grant with two other organisations to assist and contribute during this development process.
Ever since the start in 2017, Loza Foundation has been committed to helping the most vulnerable people in the poorest regions of Europe. One project that has been given lots of focus and attention is all about improving the inhumane living conditions for the disabled people at the Demir Kapija institution in North Macedonia. Now, at long last, times are changing. In December 2019, EU Commission authorised the project with the goal of emptying the institution over the next three years and all the residents will be moved into smaller group residences instead.
“The approval of this project shows that the work we do through Loza Foundation really does make a difference. It means so much for the progress of human rights and future developments for the situation of people with disabilities in North Macedonia. We obviously hope this will inspire and spur bordering countries on to follow suit.”
The EU project began in January 2020, when Loza Foundation was jointly awarded an EU grant with organisations CeProSARD and Association for Special Education and Rehabilitation with a purpose of leading and securing a smooth transition from special institution Demir Kapija and the final termination of the institution as it is today. In total, the move involves 200 people, where the residents will be offered activities and support to suit each individual. Loza Foundation will mostly contribute with rehab materials and equipment for the new residences, but also closely follow the work and be a resource in this development and the challenges this extensive work will no doubt involve over the coming months and years.
“We will be present at the new residencies and ensure that everyone is given a safe place and an everyday life and routine that works for them. It is important to remember that this will be a huge challenge for many of these people as they have lived in institutions for most of their lives. It might be frightening to have to face the world outside of the walls of the institution. It might also be a test for the society around them and we want to encourage the community to meet these people with warmth and kindness to contribute to a positive change in society and bring this type of stigmatisation to an end.”
Local, non-governmental organisation that works for sustainable development of rural areas.
Association for Special Education and Rehabilitation:
An association of special needs teachers, occupational therapists and psychiatrist.