On 6th of December PORAKA Kumanovo, within the programme for the annual observance of 3rd of December, the International Day of Persons with Disability, in the Center for Children’s Creativity, has marked its 40 years of existence and work. This manifestation continued with sales exhibit of handicrafts from the users of the Social Club in Kumanovo and it was crowned with formal opening of the day center for persons with intellectual disability. We have the opportunity to present the speech of the President of PORAKA Kumanovo, Mrs.Blagica Dimitrovska.
With your presence today, you restore the faith to the members of the Center for Support of Persons with Intellectual Disability – PORAKA Kumanovo that there are still good and human people in our city. It is my great honor and pleasure to great you and to deliver you the message on my and on behalf of all members of PORAKA Kumanovo that today, after a long time, we have felt equal with the others since, as I can observe, there are many people from all spheres.
With your presence here, you encourage us to fight stronger in the future regarding the rights of the persons with intellectual disability and their families because we have an army of people that supports us.
Today, PORAKA Kumanovo marks 40 years of existence and work in our municipality; work aimed for inclusion of persons with intellectual disability and their families in the civil society as equal citizens.
Long time, you might say, and you might wonder what are the motive and the driving force of this organization.
The Center for Support of Persons with Intellectual Disability – PORAKA Kumanovo is citizens’, parents’ organization. To become a parent is a wonderful feeling, but at the same time it brings a great responsibility. To become a parent of a child with intellectual disability is an enormous lifetime responsibility, but at the same time it brings isolation from everyday life.
The first shock at the moment of finding out about the disability of the child causes a defensive attitude and denial of the truth. Unfortunately, no one demonstrates the path that parents should take in order to ease their destiny. Parents walk barefoot on a long thorny road where each thorn deeply touches and leaves trace in their souls.
They neglect the other members of the family and live only for meeting the needs of their child with intellectual disability, and at that moment the whole family becomes handicapped.
As time passes, the child’s disability is more visible, and the family becomes weaker. While with regular family, children are accepted in kindergartens, then in the educational system and after that they can be employed, the family with member with intellectual disability is deprived of all these happenings. The feeling of pain, fear, anger, sorrow, humiliation and loneliness is more and more deeper. As the child grows up and the parents are aging and weakening, they consider the future of their child after their deaths since the child cannot live independently and to whom should they leave the enormous responsibility.
Therefore, for a family with a member with intellectual disability there is not a time for rest and real peace till the end of life.
Precisely 40 years ago, a Non-Governmental Organization PORAKA was formed in our city, encouraged and supported by the Republic Center for Support of Persons with Intellectual Disability – PORAKA. At the beginning, this organization induced parents to leave the closed circle of the closest family and with joint forces to fight for the rights of their children in a different manner. To continuously remind institutions of the government that these persons and their families are a part of the community and that they have same rights as the others.
Long time has passed while parents were motivating and encouraging so that they could realize how to enhance the activities in the organization. How and in what way to create conditions for becoming equal citizens of the community, not only on paper but in the real sense, in all spheres of life.
Today, the Center for Support of Persons with Intellectual Disability –PORAKA Kumanovo developed into a Non-Governmental Organization, in which 90% of the members are parents of children with intellectual disability. They are no longer quiet and shy, but openly and loudly point out that they and their children are here, they exist, that they are among you and your everyday life and that they need support from all of you in order to accomplish their goal.
Today, our membership constantly warns that persons with intellectual disability and their families are one of the most marginalized and discriminated groups in the society and in the local community.
Also are emphasizing that they are permanently facing social exclusion, exclusion from education, the right to employment etc. One of the main reasons for this situation is the prejudice that exists towards these persons.
According the international norms and standards, persons with intellectual disability and their families should be equal citizens in the society and the local community. The society and the local community should actively be involved in finding mechanisms for overcoming this complex issue.
PORAKA Kumanovo perceives the solution to this issue in creating a network of alternative community-based services, which will provide support to persons with intellectual disability and their families.
At the moment, in honor of 3rd of December, the International Day of Persons with Disability and its 40 years of work, PORAKA Kumanovo may commend that it has formed this type of service – day center for persons with intellectual disability above 18 years of age, where the persons can receive training for independent living according their possibilities, and their parents could improve their socio-economic situation by searching for employment.
The day center is created because PORAKA Kumanovo is supported by the Republic Center for Support of Persons with Intellectual Disability – PORAKA, the Mayor of municipality of Kumanovo, Mr.Zoran Damjanovski, and the local authorities, the artist Tane Garski, who unfortunately is no longer among us, private enterprises in the city, public institutions and NGOs.
But, without your further support we cannot act continuously.