Project Report from TAUR, Moldova
Grantee: Society of People with Disabilities TAUR, Moldova
Project: Community engagement for volunteers and people with disabilities
Our project aimed to increase motivation in our staff and beneficiaries, to make them feel part of a cohesive community which shares ideas and has joint plans. This was one of the beneficiaries’ wishes, and complemented the administration’s objectives: to collect ideas and involve the beneficiaries in their promotion and achievement.
To do this we set out
- to organise a joint meeting of TAUR beneficiaries and staff in an informal environment, accessible for all participants (including in wheelchairs), and with snacks (pizza)
- to collect ideas and draft an annual joint plan of activities, and to produce a video-presentation of the TAUR team (to be used for social media promotion and fundraising).
The joint meeting took place on 18 June 2023. Organising a gathering of TAUR Society members and their families was quite a challenge, as about 60% of them have disabilities. The TAUR administration together with a few members with disabilities contacted each participant and organised his or her travel individually. Most of the participants cannot leave their homes without support, many cannot use public transport and/or cannot afford a taxi. Some beneficiaries cannot leave their homes at all, and therefore could not attend the meeting, for example families who usually receive support at home – food, counselling, social support, etc. These beneficiaries were informed about the meeting’s achievements by people who attended. Others were accompanied by a parent or a support person.
We chose the venue for the meeting very carefully, to ensure accessibility for as many participants as possible, and with sufficient space. The event was attended by 52 people, among whom 23 who have disabilities, as well as 19 family members or support persons, seven staff members and volunteers, and three invited experts. The owner of the venue made a ramp for our event. We decided to use part of the grant for food as many of the beneficiaries are from poor families.
The meeting was moderated by two members of our administration and three of the most active TAUR members with disabilities or their representatives. They prepared speeches, recalling how the organisation started and what it has achieved, and they organised entertainment and games. Friends of NGO TAUR provided music and microphones. Children of some of the beneficiaries prepared songs and played the violin. Participants shared ideas, asked questions of the invited experts and each other. A photographer took photos and videos during the event, which were shared in the online community, so that all members can access them. Many volunteers were involved in organising transport for the participants.
Our members really enjoyed the event and talked about it for a long time afterwards. The discussions have continued and memories are shared in our online community. Many of the participants did not know each other before this occasion or have had very few opportunities to leave their homes. In fact, most of them had not seen each other in person for more than three years.
At the meeting it was a pleasure to see how warmly people talked about our activities and thanked the staff. New beneficiaries were excited to get to know other members. For some of the most disabled it was one of their very rare meetings with friends, in a warm environment, with good food, music, and games – where they felt involved and part of the community. It was a surprise to see how many people took the microphone to give their opinion – staff had expected to have to do more work moderating the event, so as to make beneficiaries more open but this was not needed. Our legal expert provided six legal consultations and will continue to work on some of them after the event.
One severely disabled beneficiary asked us to organise such an event on his birthday in July as he has not before had a birthday party with friends from TAUR. We did not have a budget for such an event, but together with his mother we decided to bring some members together on his birthday at our office. Maybe this example will become a tradition and other members will also meet for their birthday parties!
A group of active members together developed and promoted a presentation. They prepared the scenario for the presentation after deciding on its purpose and on how to use the materials they had collected – the photos and videos of the 18 June meeting. The scenario was developed by a member who compiled two video presentations, one of which was chosen for publication on our Youtube channel, which we set up during the implementation of the project. The presentation will be used by the NGO TAUR team to promote the organisation and present it to a range of new partners.
Author: Tatiana Roscovan, Board President
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