Image: Sabina Grubbeson, Secretary-General at Loza Foundation, visited the newly renovated care home Depandans with EU parliamentarian as early as 2019. Photographer: Mikael Sundberg.
Before the summer of 2023, the institution’s management team promised Loza Foundation that the institution in Demir Kapija would close for good on the last day of September 2023, and all the remaining residents would be moved to a care home. This promise has not been kept.
“When Project TIMOR came to completion in May, we were promised that the 60 remaining people still living at the institution would, before the end of September, be moved to a newly renovated care home, Depandans, situated close by. This promise has not yet been fulfilled”, says Sabina Grubbeson, Secretary-General of Loza Foundation.
Since 2016, Loza Foundation has worked tirelessly to ensure that all the disabled individuals living at the Demir Kapija institution would be allowed to move. Over the last two years, 110 of them have been moved to well-functioning group residences, and now there are approx. 60 people with severe disabilities and illnesses left at the institution. The working conditions for the nursing staff are extremely demanding and the staff members struggle to perform their tasks. Together with the staff at the institution, Loza Foundation strives to offer these individuals a dignified life.
Sabina Grubbeson and Pär Rylöv travel to North Macedonia
“The process is currently very slow, partly because of changes in the leadership team at the institution and partly due to a breakdown in communication with those in power. This, in turn, is why we will now travel to North Macedonia and meet the decision-makers. Our goal has not changed: No one should be left behind”, says Pär Rylöv, chairman of Loza Foundation.
“It is incredibly frustrating and a great disappointment. The people worst affected by this are the ones who have to remain in these difficult living conditions and the staff at the institution in Demir Kapija too, who are both disappointed and angry.”
The people worst affected by illness and disabilities are still there
The disabled individuals still living at the institution today are the ones with the greatest need for care. They struggle with severe disabilities, and many of them are very ill. They cannot be moved to group residences, nor do they want to, as they need 24-hour care. Since the summer, the Depandans care home located on the outskirts of Demir Kapija is more or less ready for people to move in. Still, the whole process has stalled due to reorganisations of decision-makers and management levels.
“The purpose of our visit to North Macedonia is to resume our dialogue with the local decision-makers and hurry the closure of the institution along. We want a firm date when all the residents still living at the institution in Demir Kapija can move to the Depandans care home.”
An ongoing, positive dialogue is desired
Loza Foundation is in contact with the new CEO of the Demir Kapija institution, who expresses that she is keen to continue collaborating with Loza Foundation.
“The fact that we are now receiving positive signals about a continued collaboration feels promising, but that is not enough. We are currently working to ensure the promise made to us is kept, and we will keep at it until the promise has been fulfilled. No one should be left behind”, says Pär Rylöv, Chairman, Loza Foundation.
Investments are needed for the care home operation – Loza Foundation starts fundraising
Large sums of money will need to be invested into Depandans. The care home needs equipment such as beds, furniture, and interior decoration for the communal areas. Even though the care home is a one-storey building, disability equipment such as handicap lifts and wheelchairs are needed, as well as other tools and aids for the bathrooms and kitchen.
Loza Foundation will ensure that every individual receives clothes of their own, personal hygiene items and storage for their personal belongings. That is why a particular fundraising campaign is set in motion for Project Depandans, where the aim is to gather funds to realise the last phase towards the goal outlined seven years ago: No one will be left behind.